OLYMPIA – Check Out Washington has expanded once more with new adventure packs, a new partnership and additional funding. The popular interagency program allows local library card holders to check out adventure packs, including special Discover Passes, for a week at a time. The expansion prioritizes communities where health disparity data indicate higher need for free access to recreation opportunities.
The Washington State Parks Foundation secured a sponsorship from WSECU that funded the purchase of more than 400 additional passes and further collaborated with Parks, the State Library System and the Office of the Secretary of State to create new adventure packs to enhance the exploration and enjoyment of state parks.
The packs include materials to help first time visitors, including a Discover Pass which provides users free parking, educational materials, and a set of three laminated pocket guides about Washington trees, wildlife and birds. A high-quality set of binoculars funded by the Washington State Parks Foundation is also included in the pack.
“We are so excited to support Washington State Parks, the Washington State Parks Foundation and the State Library System with the expansion of Check Out Washington,” said WSECU vice president of public relations Ann Flannigan. “This program helps remove access barriers to state lands and provides any resident with an opportunity to experience these public treasures.”
This latest program expansion will triple the capacity of the Check Out Washington program, prioritizing locations where it is needed most. The Foundation, WSECU, Washington State Library and the Office of the Secretary of State identified rural and urban libraries to receive the adventure packs. They will be distributed to libraries that serve diverse communities experiencing environmental health disparities. The additional Check Out Washington materials are available through the following library systems:
Fairchild Air Force Base Library
Joint Base Lewis-McChord Libraries
King County Library System
North Central WA Libraries
Pierce County Library System
Spokane County Library District
Spokane Public Library
Tacoma Public Library
Timberland Regional Library
Yakima Valley Libraries
“It’s been our goal since the program started in 2019 to continue expanding offerings throughout the state,” said newly appointed Washington State Parks director Diana Dupuis. “We thank WSECU and the Foundation for their generous support with this effort and look forward to seeing more Check Out Washington visitors out in our parks.”
Check Out Washington launched in 2019 as a partnership between Washington State Parks and Washington State Library with seed money and program development from the Foundation and support from the Washington departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). In 2020, the State Legislature pledged $35,000 a year to buy two special passes for every library in Washington that wants them.
“We’re so pleased to be facilitating this team effort to expand the Check Out Washington program to encourage more first-time users,” said Washington State Parks Foundation executive director John Floberg. “The most exciting thing for me is to see this private-public partnership specifically focused on helping those across Washington who are least likely to be able to visit state parks.”
Floberg added that he was especially pleased that the adventure packs are made in-state by eqpd gear, a Twisp-based sustainable bag manufacturer and the binoculars were sourced by Washington-based Glazer’s Camera.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to expand Check Out Washington for more people who want to discover and explore Washington’s beautiful state parks,” said Washington State Librarian Sara Jones. “Libraries are among the heart of our communities, offering boundless resources to the public. Their participation in this program helps deepen their connection to the people they serve.”
Library users can reserve an adventure pack and pass for one week at a time with their library card. A list of 10 libraries participating in the expansion is available on the Check Out Washington website. Interested users can also contact their local library for additional information.
A regular one-day Discover Pass costs $10, plus a $1.50 transaction if purchased at a licensed vendor, by phone or online. Annual passes cost $30, plus a $5 transaction fee if purchased at a license vendor, by phone or online.
About Washington State Parks: The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
About Washington State Library: Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, connects Washington through the power of libraries. It builds prosperous and informed communities by providing technology, access to information, resources, and professional support to librarians and residents statewide. Washington State library also collects, preserves, and make available materials on the state’s government, history, culture, and natural resources. Through its branch services, the State Library supports the information needs of residents in state institutions and people who cannot read standard print.
About Washington State Parks Foundation: Washington State Parks Foundation is a statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving, protecting and advocating for Washington’s spectacular state parks. The mission of the Washington State Parks Foundation is to ensure a vibrant and inclusive Washington State Parks system for generations to enjoy. We engage, expand, and sustain a broad base of supporters who give to, advocate for and treasure Washington’s 124 state parks.
About WSECU: WSECU is a not-for-profit credit union open to all Washington residents with a special emphasis on serving those who embrace the values of giving, sharing and supporting their communities. WSECU has 280,000 members, 22 branches, and $4 billion in assets. It commits 4 percent of its annual net income to invest back into the communities it serves through partnerships with education and other nonprofit institutions.
– Washington State Parks News Release 22-023