July is designated as National Parks & Recreation Month. This is an annual designation, but since many things seem to change annually and I wanted to bring some of the following facts to the attention of our local residents.

July is designated as National Parks & Recreation Month. This is an annual designation, but since many things seem to change annually and I wanted to bring some of the following facts to the attention of our local residents.
Some of the benefits of your local parks are:
(1) enhancing quality of life,
(2) attracting and retaining business,
(3) enhancing real estate values,
(4) protecting the environment,
(5) preventing youth crime/promoting youth development,
(6) facilitating community pride, connectedness and social capital, and
(7) individual and community health such as stress relief, spiritual restoration, reduced pollution, flood control, and physical activity.

According to the study entitled, “Urban Parks: Contributions to Physical Activity” conducted in park systems in Tampa, Fla., Chicago, Kansas City and Los Angeles, the following summary and recommendations resulted:
(1) Parks are important settings for physical activity, however, many visitors are still sedentary,
(2) Park proximity to users is important, but so is the design of the park;
(3) More active facilities and amenities equates to more park-based physical activity,
(4) Park visitors’ physical activity is also influenced by a variety of social-psychological factors,
(5) In many communities, parks, and the amenities within them, are not equitably distributed,
(6) Pay attention to both provision and promotion of parks and park facilities, and
(7) Advocacy for parks requires the development of a community stakeholder park audit tool.

A research study in the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation indicated the following: “Research shows that access to parks is essential for sustaining both healthy people and healthy communities. Combating the nation’s growing obesity problem however may require more than greater access alone. Studies consistently show that easy access to equipment and facilities increases frequency and intensity of exercise, and people are more likely to exercise when in groups or social environments.

Statistics indicate that 80 percent of Americans live in or near a city, and 75 percent of Americans use their parks. A study, conduct by the Carnegie Corporation, of school children, ask what they wanted the most during their non school hours. The reply was safe parks and activities as the number one comment.

In Baltimore, a project to save and then create a 14-mile greenway determined that the investment in the park land succeeded in attracting new businesses and tourism to their community.

We encourage you to get out and into your local park system. Participate in a program, event, a league, or perhaps a special event. See the Fourth of July fireworks display, hit the pool, try out the new disc golf course or one of our new trails.
See you in the parks.