Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Portland District Library and state parks partner on Park and Read program

Michigan libraries provide residents with free state park passes in support of MI Big Green Gym

July 24,2014

PORTLAND—Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) and Michigan Public Libraries will kick off the sixth annual Park and Read program in Portland on Tuesday, July 29 at 10 a.m. at Portland District Library. The Park and Read program offers cardholders at hundreds of participating Michigan libraries a free, one-day state park pass to explore any of Michigan’s 102 state parks simply by visiting the library’s circulation desk.

Park and Read is a component of MI Big Green Gym, a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, MRPA and the DNR that encourages Michigan residents to utilize the state’s parks and recreation facilities in order to increase physical activity. The Park and Read program enables library cardholders to “check out” a state park pass that is valid for vehicle entry into any Michigan state park or recreation area for up to seven days after checkout.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud to be a part of the Park and Read program that motivates residents to get active and experience the opportunities Michigan’s state parks have to offer,” said Suzanne Miller Allen, director of Community Responsibility—Outstate Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  “This program initially encourages a visit to the local library, but then offers an additional incentive to gain free access to explore over 100 state parks and increase personal well-being.”

“We are excited to again collaborate with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Department of Natural Resources on the Park and Read program,” said Kristie Reynolds, youth librarian, Portland District Library.  “Park and Read has been great for our patrons as it encourages people to enjoy some of Michigan’s greatest resources free of charge.”

Park and Read passes also allow visitors to participate in Recreation 101 classes offered at many Michigan state parks. Upon entry to the park, the classes are free and feature outdoor recreation programming designed to help beginners get started in a variety of activities such as kayaking, windsurfing, geocaching and camping.

For more information on Park and Read, including a complete list of events and participating libraries, visit