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Save the Date: October 10 is National Walk to a Park Day

People, Places, Parks Thought Leaders

Save the Date: October 10 is National Walk to a Park Day

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Photo above: Are you too young to walk to a park?

By George Dusenbury, The Trust for Public Land’s Executive Director in Georgia

Living in New York City in the years following college opened my eyes to the vital role parks play in unifying communities and enhancing the quality of life for those who are able to access them. I didn’t have much money, so Friday and Saturday nights often meant hanging out with friends at Washington Square Park, listening to the musicians and stand-up comics who performed and created in the park. If I wanted to play basketball, I often headed over to the well-known West Fourth Street Courts.  Date night often consisted of a walk in East River Park, a great place for people watching and escaping from the noise and grind of the city. The experiences I had in that public space led to my commitment to bring up my family near a park, where my children could roam free, exercise, explore nature, build confidence and learn to appreciate the world around them.

Everyone deserves to have easy access to a park. And yet, across the country, one in three Americans don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of home.

The Trust for Public Land is on a mission to make that experience more accessible to more people. We have declared October 10 “National Walk to a Park Day,” with the goal of getting individuals and families across the country to walk to a park. To celebrate here in Atlanta, staff and friends of The Trust for Public Land, along with partners at Park Pride, are walking to Woodruff Park at 10:10 a.m. on October 10. We encourage others to join us on this walk, and here are some other steps you can take to help raise awareness for the importance of parks:

  • Check out tpl.org/walktoaparkday and pledge to walk to a park on October 10. Then share your pledge with your personal and professional networks, and invite them to pledge too.
  • On October 10, get together with your colleagues, friends, and family and head to your favorite park at anytime during the day!
  • While you’re at it, snap a picture or 15-second video on your phone, share it on social media with the tag #WalkToAParkDay and comment on why that park is special to you.
  • Vote Yes on Amendment #1 – the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act – which will create dedicated funding for park creation and management – so that more people can experience the benefits of parks and greenspace.

We’re excited that Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has joined mayors across the country in her support of the in the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, including those from Clarkston, Decatur, Macon and Brookhaven. Research has shown  that people who regularly use parks get more and better exercise than people who don’t. A park close by can improve the well-being of everyone from a child managing ADHD to a senior recovering from hip surgery. We’re encouraged and impressed with cities like Clarkston, which has leveraged its involvement in the 10-Minute Walk Campaign to secure grant funding to advance the city’s park system. We’re optimistic that National Walk to a Park Day will help further this important cause as well.

Mark your calendar for October 10, and invite others to join you on a walk to your nearest park. And, if you’re curious to see how well your city meets the 10-minute mark, check out The Trust for Public Land’s Parkscore® index.

The Trust for Public Land is a national organization that creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.  Since 1972, the organization has completed more than 5,000 park and conservation projects across the country, conserving more than three million acres of land.

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