Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan partners with Escanaba Public Library and state parks on Park and Read program

Annual program provides state park passes for Michigan residents in support of MI Big Green Gym program

June 19, 2014

ESCANABA—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 Escanaba on Tuesday, June 24 at 3 p.m. at Escanaba Public Library. Park and Read offers cardholders at hundreds of participating Michigan libraries a one-day, state park pass to explore any of Michigan’s 102 state parks at no cost simply by visiting the library’s circulation desk.

The Park and Read program is a component of MI Big Green Gym, a partnership between Blue Cross, the MRPA and the DNR that encourages Michigan residents to use the state’s parks and recreation facilities to increase physical activity. Park and Read allows library cardholders to “check out” a 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,” said Suzanne Miller Allen, director of Community Responsibility—Outstate Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Participants have the opportunity to not only visit over 100 state parks, but also enjoy a trip to the library and receive the personal benefits of getting active and living a healthier lifestyle.”

“Park and Read is a free opportunity that allows people to experience the great activities available at so many of Michigan’s beautiful state parks,” added Carolyn Stacey, director, Escanaba Public Library.  “We are thrilled to be working on this program again with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association and the Department of Natural Resources, as it has been enjoyed tremendously by our patrons previously.”

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

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit and