Pathways to Healthy Living:
Promoting Physical Activity In Parks and Communities
Close-to-home recreation on neighborhood trails and greenways, and in National Parks, is vital for improving America's public health.
The National Park Service is ideally positioned to respond to this urgent need to increase Americans' level of physical activity.
Through its Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, the National Park
Service has launched a nationwide initiative to
encourage healthful outdoor physical activity
in National Parks and local communities to
demonstrate practical approaches for public
land managers and community leaders who
want to encourage active lifestyles.
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.
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 Rivers
& Trails health projects.
Link here for further
information about physical activity and the built environment.