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DNR expands program offering free state park day passes at libraries

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

DNR expands program offering free state park day passes at libraries

6,300 free day passes will be available at 160 libraries statewide this spring.

April 19, 2023 1:01 PM CDT

By: Jimmie Kaska

MADISON, Wis. (Civic Media) – A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources program offering free state park passes is expanding.

The DNR said it is adding 5,300 free passes and 140 additional libraries statewide to the program, which grants a free pass to a state park, forest or recreation area that normally has a cost to use.

“We had a great response to our pilot program over the winter, and we are confident this summer and fall opportunity will be just as successful,” Steve Schmelzer, DNR Parks and Recreation Management Bureau Director, said. “Through this program, Wisconsinites will be able to visit our state park properties this summer without the barrier of a fee.”

A program this winter allowed for 1,000 free passes at 20 different libraries across the state. The spring and summer program will increase that to 6,300 free passes at 160 different libraries beginning on May 1.

The program, Check Out Wisconsin State Parks At Your Library, is put together by the DNR, Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The program is partially funded by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks, a grant from the C.D. Besadny Fund of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and two green tier businesses. 3,865 of the day passes were purchased directly by 62 different libraries. Each day pass also includes a variety of DNR materials.

More information, including participating libraries, is available on the Wisconsin DNR website.

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