The National Park Service, Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control came together to create the “Parks, Trails, and Health Workbook,” a quick guide and outline for incorporating public health considerations in the development of a park or trail. Utilizing the health impacts of these natural areas is a different and critically important way to promote parks and trails. Applying health benefits provides a personal connection and increased relevance to community members and encourages them to act and get outdoors.The workbook can be used to (1) facilitate interagency and stakeholder discussion and collaboration related to parks, trails and community health issues, (2) find data and information to engage and enlist new health partners, funding resources and stakeholders, (3) assess the health and community needs for a new park/trail project or enhancement, and (4) prepare for a health impact assessment or for health grant application. The CDC defines a health impact assessment as a process that helps evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project or policy before it is built or implemented.
By working through the five sections and various appendices of the report, organizations, agencies and communities can work to promote parks, trails and the health benefits they provide.