It’s widely recognized that time spent in nature comes with many health benefits. Now, Ontario Parks is seeking the public’s input on how we can ensure these benefits are fully realized by everyone in Ontario. Beginning on Monday, September 30 and for the following eight weeks, Ontario Parks is inviting healthcare providers, researchers, and other members of the public to share their best ideas on how to get people outside to improve their health.
Ontario Parks has established itself as a leader in Ontario in promoting the link between nature and health. This consultation will be used to develop a path forward for Healthy Parks Healthy People at Ontario Parks and improve upon what has already been built.
The consultation Experts and the public alike can submit their input and engage in the conversation about Healthy Parks Healthy People today at: Ontario.ca/page/consultation-healthy-parks-healthy-people
The consultation will be open for eight weeks. Ideas of all kinds are encouraged – none are too big or too small.
The feedback will be used to develop new programs, policies, and partnerships that both benefit conservation and increase use of provincial parks and green spaces for Ontarians.
Healthy Parks Healthy People is a worldwide movement that promotes the positive impact healthy parks can have on human health. Ontario Parks joined the movement in 2013 and launched its first initiatives in 2015, making it the first organization in Canada to do so.
From the beginning, health has had an important role in the mandate of provincial parks. Algonquin Provincial Park was established in 1893 in part to, “Serve as a sanitarium or place of health resort.” Today, Ontario Parks works with organizations from many sectors to help connect Canadians to nature.
Healthy Parks Healthy People aims to increase the awareness of the strong benefits linked to spending time in nature. Regular use of natural areas for physical activity can reduce stress levels, as well as the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
Every year, Ontario Parks hosts several events in celebration of the movement, including a day of free day-use in all parks in July and First Day Hikes yearly on January 1. It also challenges the public every August with the 30×30 Challenge: spending 30 minutes per day in nature, every day of the month.
For more information on Ontario Parks, visit OntarioParks.com.