Due to rising fuel costs, many families might choose to vacation closer to home this summer.
Beginning this month, travelers can visit any of Georgia's 63 parks and historic sites without paying admission cost as long as they have a valid library card.
As part of the "Get Outdoors Georgia" campaign, the Columbia County Library will lend ParkPass folders to patrons throughout the summer.
Each folder includes a free parking pass for any Georgia state park, an annual Historic Site pass and a copy of the Guide to Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites .
The state parks and historic sites covered by the passes include Mistletoe State Park in Appling, the Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site, Roosevelt's Little White House in Warm Springs and Tallulah Gorge State Park in Tallulah Falls.
The program was formed as a joint effort by the Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
"We figured that people, particularly during the summer, would be very interested in getting the passes," said Gary Swint, the director of the East Central Georgia Regional Library.
Each folder contains just one free daily admission pass, but families can check out multiple folders at a time, if they are available, Swint said.
If all folders are checked out at the Columbia County Library, those interested can try the Appleby Branch Library on Walton Way, Swint said.
Patrons can renew the folders and check out the free passes, which expire Dec. 31, 2008, multiple times throughout the summer, he added.
Vacationers can borrow the ParkPass folders for up to seven days, but if folders are turned in late, an overdue fee of $3 will be charged to the patron.
June is also designated nationwide as Great Outdoors Month, and Swint said he hopes the program will encourage travelers to tour parks and historic sites that they might not normally visit.
"If somebody can check this out at no cost, I think it would help a lot of people," Swint said, "and I think they'd be interested."
To view a full list of parks and historic sites covered by the program, visit www.GeorgiaStateParks.org.
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