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Page header. Image shows 3 people on a trail, one rollerblading, one walking, and one riding a bike. Photo courtesy NPS.

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Pathways to Healthy Living:
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Current NPS Initiatives

Health, Recreation, and Our National Parks - The National Park System Advisory Board's Committee on Health and Recreation compiled this report addressing the role of National Parks to promote and provide healthful recreational activities, March 2006.

Healthy Parks/Healthy Living - This program is intended to promote the daily recreational benefits inherent in urban national parks. It connects communities with their local national parks. Seven parks were invited to participate in 2005 and/or 2006: Chattahoochee River NRA, Gateway NRA, Golden Gate NRA, Santa Monica Mountains NRA, Greater Washington National Parks, Pea Ridge NMP, and Valley Forge NHP.

Pathways to Healthy Living

In 1999, the National Park Service signed an innovative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agreement promotes the development, use and benefits of local parks and recreational infrastructure to support physical activity.

Since that time, the National Park Service, through the Rivers & Trails Program, has worked with a variety of health and physical activity partners, from the State of Indiana to the Paso del Norte Health Foundation in Texas, to provide close to home opportunities for recreation and physical activity. Staff from both Agencies have participated in cross training activities, presented at each others conferences, and have assisted on local trail projects together. This year the Rivers & Trails Program has over 20 local projects involving the health and physical activity community as partners.

photo of bicyclists crossing a bridge on a multi-use trail

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 60% of our population is not getting enough physical activity. The Rivers & Trails Program helps local communities provide inviting environments close to home to encourage regular exercise and group interaction. Walking trails, bicycle paths, greenways and revitalized waterways provide an abundance of opportunities for healthy and fun activities that can improve health and save lives. Read more about five of the NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program health projects.

Challenge Cost Share Program | Federal Lands to Parks | Hydropower Relicensing Program
Land and Water Conservation Fund | National Center for Recreation and Conservation | National Trails System
Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers | Rivers and Trails Program | Urban Park and Recreation Recovery
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