Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan collaborates with Capital Area District Libraries, state parks on Park and Read program

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

June 6, 2014

LANSING—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 Lansing on Monday, June 9 at 10 a.m. at Downtown Lansing Public Library, a Capital Area District 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 enables 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 involved in Park and Read, which encourages Michigan residents to visit their local library, not only to exercise their mind, but to take advantage of the great opportunities available at no cost to individuals,” said B.J. Puchala, senior community liaison, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  “Michigan’s network of state parks presents residents with over 100 different venues to get out and get active in a beautiful environment so we encourage everyone to utilize Park and Read and experience what the state parks have to offer.”

“The Capital Area District Libraries are proud to be one of the many public libraries in Michigan working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Recreation and Park Association and Michigan Department of Natural Resources to promote healthy lifestyles by offering passes to Michigan’s many state parks,” added Scott Duimstra, associate director of public services, Capital Area District Libraries. “Through partnerships like the MI Big Green Gym program, we hope to show that the library offers access to many rewarding opportunities. Whether it’s getting lost in the latest bestseller or running along a trail in a Michigan park, your journey begins at the library.”

“Park and Read is a unique program that allows people to experience state parks while utilizing their local library,” said Ron Olson, parks and recreation division chief, DNR. “We are proud to collaborate with all our partners on this opportunity that allows people to experience everything our beautiful state parks have to offer.”

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