This State's Libraries Will Let You Check Out a Free State Park Pass.

Now that Memorial Day has come in the U.S., many schools across the country are letting students out for the summer. This often means kids sitting at home, with nothing to do, feeling bored and isolated.

Luckily, students in California will have another option this summer. The state just announced a new pilot program in which residents can use their library cards to gain free admission to more than 200 state parks for a day. To do this, residents simply need to visit their local library, and ask to check out the "California State Library Parks Pass." Then, they - and up to eight family members or friends - are free to spend a day enjoying nature and reconnecting with the Earth.

This is a brilliant idea that all U.S. states should replicate. Sign the petition to ask all 49 other states to do the same!

Parks give us all a chance to unwind without the pressures and hustle-and-bustle of daily life around us. We can breathe in the fresh air, admire the many miracles of nature, and simply be. This kind of nervous system relaxation has amazing health benefits, including reducing the stress hormone cortisol, which can make us literally sick and tired.

Parks are also a great way to entertain kids and teach them about the natural world, with so many amazing sights to see, rock and foliage to explore, and lots of physical exercise to help blow off steam. It's essentially a natural outdoor educational experience with many built-in activities! With COVID still spreading, it's also a safe outdoor way for kids to have fun.

But unfortunately, parks can often be very inaccessible for families. They frequently require visitors to pay an admission fee to get in, and that doesn't even count the additional fee visitors must pay for parking. Especially if a kid is part of a large family, those expenses can add up fast - meaning that nature's beauty has become off-limits.

We should all have the ability to rejoice in the Earth we call home, and relish in its many marvels. That shouldn't be a delight reserved only for the rich and upper middle-class. This summer, let's ask state legislators all over the U.S. to make sure their parks are accessible for families of all sizes, economic situations, and backgrounds. Help bring nature closer to kids by signing the petition!
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