The Check Out Washington program has expanded, providing new opportunities for residents thanks to a new partnership and additional funding.
Library card holders throughout Washington have an opportunity to check out “adventure packs” through library systems in the state, including special Discover Passes, for a week at a time.
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.”
The recent expansion of the program prioritizes communities where health disparity data indicate a higher need for free access to recreation opportunities.
“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.”
The program 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
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.