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With a library card, you can now get into California State Parks for free

BIG SUR, CA – MAY 02: Hilda Pongo of Simi Valley enjoys the view south towards the rocky cliffs of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park along California Highway 1 on Sunday, May 2, 2021 in Big Sur, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Starting this month, California is providing each public library branch statewide with three free passes that allow for one vehicle to enter more than 200 California state parks. 

The announcement by the California Department of Parks and Recreation on Tuesday marks the beginning of a three-year pilot program, and is part of a $9.1 million investment by Governor Gavin Newsom to expand access to state parks for low-income families and disenfranchised youth, according to a press release.

“Parks and libraries have the potential to be powerful symbols and agents for California’s open spaces,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero in a press release.

The state is allowing each library branch to decide how long the passes can be rented out for. 

There are 26 public library branches in San Francisco.  The state also included a list of state parks that aren’t participating in the initiative. 

Angel Island, one of the more popular tourist attractions near San Francisco, opted not to participate. But under the program, library card holders in San Francisco will be able to rent out passes to a number of other Bay Area parks, including an elephant seal breeding ground at Ano Nuevo and San Bruno Mountain, a hiking spot with a view of the city skyline.

David Sjostedt can be reached at

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