July is National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Month…and it sure is a good time and a great way to spend family time together!
Did you know that more than 12,000 publicly funded (federal or state) parks are located throughout the United States? And, there are more than 20,000 individual parks in 100 of the largest cities in the country. One million acres of parkland are spread throughout the United States, with parks ranging from just under two acres to a whopping 490-acre park in Anchorage, Alaska!
Believe it or not, the most visited park in the United States is…Central Park in New York, which boasts an annual 35 million visits — which works out to roughly five times more than the visits to the Grand Canyon! You can find more facts and figures — and fascinating information at the NRPA Website. While there, be sure to check out the NRPA calendar of local events taking place all over the country.
While you’re browsing the NRPA Website, don’t miss the toolkit, where you’ll find posters, graphics and artwork, and…information on geo-caching. Your family is going to love geo-caching, which just happens to be a super fun way to get your family to explore the amazing things that the parks have to offer! Check out what geo-caching has to offer — and while you’re there, be sure to check out the GET WILD Geo-Caching Contest, and win prizes! If you and your family choose to participate in this fun and exciting outdoor treasure hunt, you could win one of five Magellan GC eXporist GPS Devices, among other great prizes!
Parks are also good for you — and your children. Studies indicate that (on average), children who live in greener environments weigh less than children who live in less green areas. In addition, children who have access to a local playground (which is located within 2/3 of a mile from their home) are about five times more likely to have a healthy weight than those children who do not have access to a playground.
Did you know that parks help you live longer? True story. Access to parks and green spaces has been shown to reduce mortality across one’s lifespan. And, a study was conducted in Seattle last year that showed Seattle residents were able to save $64 million in medical costs — as a result of taking part in physical activity in their local parks. In 2008, a study of the Wilmington (Delaware) parks and recreation system indicated that residents were able to save more than $5 million in health care costs as a result of using their local parks.
And…the U.S. urban trees remove 75,000 tons of air pollutants each year! That works out to be an annual benefit of $500 million annually.
But there’s so, so much more! The Recreation and Parks programs in the United States are a huge boon to the economy — they employed almost half a million people in 2010. Parks also contribute to residential property values, sometimes as much as a 20% marginal value!
Take the pledge to “Get Wild” in your local park and rec area…and don’t forget to check out the NRPA Facebook page so you can check out upcoming events in your area!
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of National Recreation and Park Association and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate