Library Cardholders Can Now Obtain Free California Parks Vehicle Passes From Local Libraries
As summer is fast approaching, Californians can rest easy knowing they have a streamlined way to get to the state’s parks and beaches. If you are a Long Beach resident, all you have to do is stand in line, that is, virtually.
As part of a three-year pilot program and partnership between California State Parks and the California State Library, the City of Long Beach has joined the rest of the state’s public libraries in April to receive a vehicle admission pass to “more than 200 participating state parks and beach locations,” according to a city release.
The city’s 12 library branches received a total of 13 passes on April 23, as part of the first phase of the three-year pilot program.
“We don’t have them all yet,” said Susan Jones, director of main library services. “By the end of May, each outlet will have three passes each.”
The program, Jones explained, aims to remove any barriers, financial or geographic, that might prevent families or young people from exploring the places California has to offer. Library patrons simply request a park pass through the online catalog and then wait for their branch to receive a pass.
“It reduces barriers, if you can’t afford those parking fees. Right here [at the Billie Jean King Library], we validate parking, but if you exceed 30 minutes there will be an additional charge of $2. Even that $2 is something some people can’t afford,” Jones said. “It’s a great opportunity for families to say, ‘Let’s go do something that we wouldn’t have done before, let’s explore, get out of the house and break this cycle.'”
Although Long Beach branches received the passes less than a week ago, the waiting list to verify a pass for the allotted seven days is already at 61 people, according to Jones.
“We’re seeing people not keeping them for the full seven days,” Jones said, explaining that the city is expected to receive 23 more passes by the end of May, resulting in “a faster turnaround time.” “.
Passes are available to anyone who has a public library card and has no late fees. They can be checked for a total of seven days and provide access to one vehicle, with nine people or fewer, entering a California state park or beach.
To further reduce the hassle of reserving a park pass, residents can request that a pass be dropped off at the library closest to them once it becomes available, similar to ask for books, magazines or media, Jones explained.
“With summer just around the corner, it’s wonderful that our library system is working to help break down barriers to accessing our state parks and beaches so our residents can enjoy the incredible spaces California Open,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement.
The California State Library has created a map showing the locations of libraries offering park passes, as well as entry points to California parks.