April 17, 2017

April Claxton
Recreation Northwest

Recreation Northwest Joins in National Park Prescription Day Event on Sunday, April 23

Join Recreation Northwest for a trail talk and walk starting at the Upper Pavilion of Fairhaven Park in Bellingham to celebrate of National ParkRx Day. Sunday, April 23, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. National ParkRx Day is a day celebrated across the United States to promote the growing movement of prescribing parks and nature to patients to improve human health. In 2017, National ParkRx Day will be held on Sunday, April 23. This is the last day of National Park Week, which runs from April 15 to April 23. All national park units will have free admission during these weekends, and people are encouraged to find their parks no matter where they are, and whether they are local, regional, state, or national parks. The four main goals of National ParkRx Day are:

  • To amplify the visibility and viability of the ParkRx movement in parks and communities across the nation.
  • To celebrate existing ParkRx programs and practitioners across the country.
  • To serve as a catalyst to bring together local health providers, park agencies, community leaders, and nonprofits to begin dialogue and momentum to develop their own ParkRx programs for improvement of their communities.
  • To increase the relevance of parks for all people; how people can connect with parks daily for their improved physical, mental, and spiritual health and create a new generation of park stewards.
The National ParkRx Day was created with input from the National ParkRx Initiative, which is a movement to strengthen the connection between health care and parks and public lands to improve the physical and mental health of individuals and communities. In Whatcom County, Recreation Northwest is partnering with Family Care Network, Whatcom Health Department and local park departments to launch a local park prescription program: Parkscriptions. “Through Parkscriptions, outdoor recreation, public lands and community health organizations will improve the health of our community by partnering with health practitioners to prescribe time outdoors” states April Claxton, program lead and co-Executive Director of Recreation Northwest. Key goals of Parkscriptions are to: Increase the number of Whatcom County residents benefiting from time in nature and provide a comprehensive website of park & program information to make it easier to integrate outdoor activity into patients’ daily practice of healthy living. “We will be taking part in National Park Rx day with a Trail Talk at Fairhaven Park” says Claxton. “This is a great way for the community to come learn more about our local Parkscriptions program and to see and hear more about what’s happening with our stewardship project in Fairhaven Park.” In 2014, Recreation Northwest began an effort to build a new trail in Fairhaven Park in to replace an existing trail that passes through vulnerable wetlands. The current trail’s location and increasingly heavy use is causing damage to the land and watershed. Phase 1 of the project connected Fairhaven Park to 18th Street off of Fairhaven Parkway. Sunday’s Trail Talk will give the community a chance to see what’s planned for Phase 2 to connect this trail section with the Fairhaven Park Forest trail network. “Park Rx Day provides a wonderful opportunity for the community to join us for a walk in the woods to see first hand how the stewardship work is progressing as well as to learn more about our Parkscription program and to discover ways to get involved in either project” says Claxton. “Both projects demonstrate our mission of promoting outdoor recreation, and bringing people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play.”

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