Michigan Activity Pass offers access to parks, cultural locations

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published June 22, 2016

ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Rochester Hills Public Library cardholders can gain free or discounted access to a host of state parks, historic sites, museums, and other cultural and recreation destinations.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Recreation and Park Association, and The Library Network kicked off the Michigan Activity Pass program May 24, once again enabling library cardholders to print a pass that’s valid for one-time entry into any Michigan state park or recreation area and over 100 participating cultural institutions, good for up to one week. The program runs year-round, from May 24 of one year to May 23 of the next.

“We are really interested in finding all kinds of different ways to create opportunities for families in Michigan to have access to healthy lifestyle destinations and activities,” said B.J. Puchala, senior community liaison for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The Michigan Activity Pass program, the successor to the Museum Adventure Pass, started out as a southeast Michigan program and has since expanded to include sites from the entire state. New this year, parents or educators of fourth-graders can access the National Park Service’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, which provides free passes to Michigan’s national parks and lakeshores, including Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw National Historic Park, North County National Scenic Trails, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and River Raisin National Battlefield Park.

Rochester Hills Public Library Director Christine Lind Hage said the library has participated in the program since its inception. So far this year, she said, around 215 library cardholders have used the program, and she expects usage to increase over the summer.

“It is continually growing. The most popular places that our people go to are the Michigan Science Center in Detroit, the Sea Life Michigan Aquarium, the DIA and the Belle Isle Park, and the Yankee Air Museum,” Hage said.

Hage said the program is an extension of the library’s service of providing information.

“We are an educational institution, and people get educated in different ways. Some people want to read a book (about) Belle Isle, and then maybe they want to go see it,” she said.

Once again this year, all passes are found entirely online. Library cardholders simply visit the home page of the library’s website at www.rhpl.org and click on the word “Research” under the big search box. Cardholders then click on the “Travel” category, followed by “Michigan Activity Pass” to search for and print passes.

“You can get discounted or completely free admission to all kinds of places all over the state — not just in the area — and a lot of our state and national parks participate,” said Jessica Parij, adult services manager.

DNR Chief of Parks and Recreation Ron Olson said it is important for kids to have shared experiences with their family — both educational and physical.

“The Michigan Activity Pass gives parents a fun, low-cost way for kids to experience Michigan’s historic and cultural resources while spending time with family,” he said in a statement.

For a list of the participating organizations and more information about the Michigan Activity Pass, go to michiganactivitypass.info or call the Rochester Hills Public Library at (248) 656-2900.