Michigan Activity Pass gives residents free access to parks, attractions

Michigan residents now have the opportunity to explore hundreds of state parks, campgrounds, museums and activities for free or a discount with the swipe of their library card.

Representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Recreation and Park Association and The Library Network unveiled its Michigan Activity Pass (MAP) program at the Kent District Library Cascade Township branch on Monday, June 8.

The pass allows library cardholders throughout the state to gain free or discounted access to 385 sites and numerous events.

“It’s an economical way for a family to get outside or try some of the different programming you can do,” said Suzanne Allen, BCBSM director of community responsibility. “Not everybody’s going to run a marathon. I think this program offers people an opportunity to try different things as a way to be healthy.”

Here’s how it works: Visit the Michigan Activity Pass website, enter a ZIP code, address, library or destination in your starting location, along with maximum number of miles from there and your library name.

A list of participating locations will then pop up on your screen. Select a specific location and “get pass” to see availability. A library card number is required to complete the pass request.

There are a limited number of passes available at each of the locations, and are to be used within a week. If your preferred location is “sold out,” then organizers encourage you to explore another one on the list.

“We long believed that the library is a wonderful place to enrich your mind inside and now you can use this wonderful pass to enrich your body outside,” said Lance Werner, director of Kent District Library. “We’re always looking to inspire and motivate people to get out and be engaged. We’re really excited to be part of this.”

Since the year-round program launched during the Memorial Day weekend, organizers have seen more than 200 passes used in a single weekend, according to Jim Pletz, director of The Library Network.

“It’s all online if you know how to use a computer,” he said. “And if you don’t, come to your public library and they’ll teach you how and access the pass for you as well.”

Elissa Buck, recreation programmer for the DNR parks and recreation division, said the activity pass differs from the recreational passport residents may purchase when renewing their license plate tabs.

“This is for families who have never been to our state parks before and are hesitant to buy that recreation passport — or for families who can’t spend that in their budget,” she said. “We hope that people will come out and explore our state parks and use that opportunity to get active and enjoy our natural resources.”

Read more at: http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2015/06/michigan_activity_pass_gives_r.html

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