It’s time to recognize the importance of parks and recreation in establishing and maintaining quality of life and in contributing to the physical, economic, and environmental well-being of communities.
Americans have celebrated National Park and Recreation Month during July since 1985. During National Park and Recreation Month, individuals and organizations can promote the benefits of local parks and recreation centers to communities and encourage people to get outside, explore local parks, and enjoy outdoor activities.
To find connections across communities: Considering access to parks is equally important as ensuring the presence of parks and has the power to connect communities. The concept of Safe Routes to Parks considers the infrastructure required for a safe, connected system between parks, their access points, and surrounding infrastructure.
To support the environment: Parks play an important role in environmental health by cleaning water, preserving wildlife, and offering a refuge to humans and animals throughout the seasons.
To explore local ecosystems: Parks offer a lot more than meets the eye. Did you know that parks are not just plots of grass? Sports fields, beaches, trails, and many other spaces can be parks offering a host of recreation opportunities.
To increase children’s chances of success in school: Kids with access to safe parks and playgrounds are more likely to engage in physical activities — and kids who are physically active do better in school.
To contribute to the maintenance of a healthy weight: Local parks and recreation departments increase access to nutritious food options and promote physical activity.
To have a more positive outlook: Spending time outdoors reduces stress and improves mental health. Exposure to nature improves creativity, decreases stress hormones, and calms aggression.
Parks and recreation programs are an integral part of communities throughout this country, including Calvert County, Maryland, and are vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in our communities, ensuring the health of all citizens.
Parks and recreation programs build healthy, active communities that aid in the prevention of chronic disease, provide therapeutic recreation services for those who are mentally or physically disabled, and also improve the mental and emotional health of all citizens.
Parks and recreation programs increase a community’s economic prosperity through increased property values, expansion of the local tax base, increased tourism, the attraction and retention of businesses, and crime reduction.
Parks and natural recreation areas are fundamental to the environmental well-being of our community, ensure the ecological beauty of our community, provide a place for children and adults to connect with nature and recreate outdoors, improve water quality, protect groundwater, prevent flooding, improve the quality of the air we breathe, provide vegetative buffers to development, and produce habitat for wildlife.
The U.S. House of Representatives has designated July as Parks and Recreation Month and Calvert County recognizes the benefits derived from its vast parks and recreation resources. The Calvert Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) proclaimed July 2019 be known as Parks and Recreation Month in Calvert County. They further proclaimed that all citizens recognize the accomplishments and contibutions of our local Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as Federal and State levels.
Margit Miller / Calvert Beacon