Park Prescription Programs

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Park Prescription programs are designed in collaboration among public land agencies, healthcare providers, and community partners to encourage people to utilize parks, trails, and open space for the purpose of improving individual and community health.

Park Prescription programs improve health outcomes

Park Prescription programs give healthcare providers a new set of tools to inspire patients to take proactive steps to improve their health. Parks and public lands are free or low-cost resources in many communities and provide excellent areas to recreate and play. Additionally, parks provide patients with exposure to nature, which has been scientifically proven to improve mental, physical, and social health

Park Prescription programs happen throughout the country and are designed to:

  • Encourage overall behavior change
  • Improve individual and community health
  • Foster the growth of new stewards and advocates for public lands

Park Prescription programs improve public lands 

Through Park Prescription programs, the American public can increase their time spent visiting public lands and reaping the health benefits of nature. By encouraging people to visit their public lands, we are introducing and re-introducing many communities to the diversity and beauty of America's lands. In turn, we hope that tying nature to not only recreation, but also to human health, will encourage more people to become active stewards, guardians, and advocates for parks and public lands. 

The National ParkRx Initiative is giving all Park Prescription practitioners a place to build the Park Prescription movement together.

The National ParkRx Initiative is a movement to strengthen the connection between health care and parks and public lands to improve the physical and mental health among individuals and communities. The Initiative is a collaboration of national partners and subject-matter experts to advance the movement and create awareness among various audiences, including park and health professionals, to address the operational hurdles present in parks and health collaborations, and hone and measure the best delivery models currently in practice.

In 2012, an expert committee convened to understand the current landscape of ParkRx programs and move the national implementation of Park Prescription programs forward. The Initiative was launched to develop national standards that increase the quality of new and existing programs, and assist programs in making positive health impacts. The Initiative continues to track the growing number of local, state, and national Park Prescription programs and understand their successes and challenges in hopes to expand this model in communities across the country.

Currently, the Initiative is led by the National Recreation and Park Association, the Institute at the Golden Gate, and the National Park Service.