||The Healthy Parks Healthy People program is based in the agency’s Office of Public Health, in the Visitor Resource Protection Directorate of the National Park Service.
The National Park Service’s Healthy Parks Healthy People program connects people to parks through health promotion, fosters society’s understanding and appreciation for the life-sustaining role of parks, and creates the next generation of park stewards.
|Healthy Parks Healthy People promotes the fact that all parks - urban or wild land - can be cornerstones of the health and works to advance the role of parks and public lands as places for people to derive physical, mental, and spiritual health, and social well-being.
Through partnerships and collaborations, the NPS Healthy Parks Healthy People program aims to significantly expand the relevancy of parks and park programs among new partners and with new audiences. Not only are these partnerships valuable to elevating citizen recognition of the value of the National Park System in contributing to the nation’s health, they are instrumental in helping the NPS recruit new park users among diverse populations, and the next generation of park stewards.
The program addresses health promotion in parks and communities, at local, state, national and international levels through five main programmatic areas:
- Healthy Foods - park environments that include healthy food choices;
- Healthy Recreation - programs, projects, events, and policies that promote and encourage healthy, restorative and therapeutic activities; Healthy People - providing access to parks and healthy visitor experiences among populations who use parks infrequently (e.g. minorities, low income community residents) and other priority populations (e.g. youth, returning veterans, seniors);
- Healthy Habitats - park environments (natural and cultural) that support human health and ecosystem health;
- Healthy People - as the Healthy Parks Healthy People movement continues to grow, people from all walks of life, and diverse backgrounds, in urban and rural settings and developed and developing countries all across the globe are embracing the fact that parks are cornerstones of their health and well-being, and sustainability of the planet.;
- Healthy Partnerships - partnerships that help expand the health community’s use of parks as a healing tool and increase citizen recognition of the value of parks to improve people’s health and well-being;
- Healthy Science - research that builds scientific knowledge concerning the role of parks and public lands in contributing to a healthy civil society.
The program is guided by seven guiding principles:
- We promote health and well-being as an interrelated system linking human health to natural landscapes and all species;
- We seek expertise and resources from a wide range of partners in the public and private sectors;
- Activities that contribute to physical, mental and spiritual health, and social well being;
- Our work takes place both within and beyond park boundaries;
- We encourage uses that promote the health of all species while avoiding those that impair resources;
- We aim for everyone to have access to open spaces and natural places;
- Our commitment to improving public health will be mirrored in internal programs for our workforce.