Grand Libraries partner with CPW to Check-Out State Parks | SkyHiNews.com

Grand Libraries partner with CPW to Check-Out State Parks

Every year various publications and organizations around the US compile data to try and determine which state is the healthiest.

The rankings vary from publication to publication and from year to year but Colorado consistently ranks among the top 10 healthiest states. A big part of that is our abundant access to incredible outdoor recreational opportunities. For Grand County citizens, that typically means hiking through our local National Forest, or maybe taking a trek up to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Enjoying the outdoors is a great way to spend an afternoon or a summer weekend, but with the cost of day passes, annual passes, parking fees, camping fees, and more the cost of a simple getaway can quickly climb. Residents of Grand County, and residents of the State of Colorado in general, have a unique opportunity to experience the amazing natural parks of the State of Colorado though with the Check-Out Colorado State Parks program.

The Check-Out Colorado State Parks program is overseen by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and is meant to expand public access to State Parks. Through the program public libraries throughout Colorado have State Park passes that can be checked out, at no cost, by citizens. To be able to obtain a pass citizens must have a valid library card and must check out a pass from the library, or library district, that issued their library card. Under the program, folks can check out State Park passes for up to seven-days.

The Grand County Library District participates in the program and each branch library within Grand County has two passes for public checkout, making a total of 10 passes available in Grand County. Heidi McNinch, library resource specialist with the Grand County Library District, oversees the program for he District and highlighted two important points for folks to keep in mind.

"We have tried hard to make people understand these only work at State Parks," McNinch said. "We have had people stop by thinking they can get a pass to Rocky Mountain National Park, or the National Recreation Area. This is just at the state level."

McNinch also pointed out Colorado has a total of 42 State Parks, but not in Grand County. There are two in relatively close proximity to Grand County though. Golden Gate Canyon State Park is located slightly northeast of Black Hawk and Stagecoach State Park is a short drive south of Steamboat Springs. As such Grand County Library District cardholders who check out State Park passes are not required to remain in Grand County. The passes can be taken anywhere within the State so long as they are returned within the allotted time.

The passes are provided on a first come first serve basis and they cannot be reserved ahead of time. According to McNinch, there are no restrictions on how many times a pass can be checked out, though the passes must be returned before being checked out again.

If you do decide to get one of the Check-Out Colorado State Parks passes, you will walk out of our local libraries with more than just an admission pass. The passes are provided to the public in a package setup that also includes a set of binoculars, a Colorado State wildlife guide and a Colorado wildflower and tree guide. The package will include a guide to all of Colorado's State Parks with details about each park. The packages must be returned along with the passes at the end of the one-week checkout period.

Avid anglers can also take advantage of the program to access State Park waters for fishing at no charge. Each package includes a state fishing guide detailing what type of fish you can expect to find in the various waters of the state and what type of baits or lures you should use to expect the best results.