NATIONAL PARK RX DAY IS SUNDAY, APRIL 23

0603_SouthCountyRegional_1670.jpgEvery year, the U.S. National Park Service encourages people and park agencies throughout the country to celebrate National Park Rx Day. The day serves as a means to promote and encourage the unique partnership between parks, communities and healthcare providers to get people to enjoy their community’s parks and nature as a way of preventing diseases, creating healthier lifestyles, and improving qualities of Life.

The initiative to get doctors to prescribe time in the park to their patients is a growing trend – and PBC Parks has initiated our own ‘Park Prescription Program’ – check it out!

Creating a healthier, happier society– one walk in the park at a time

Rx-For-Parks-FRONT-B.jpgThe Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with members of the healthcare community to promote physical activity and improve the health of patients and the public in Palm Beach County through a “park prescriptions” program that connects them to parks and other public lands to create a healthier, happier society.

Across the United States, parks, healthcare providers, public health agencies, and other entities have successfully facilitated physician-patient conversations about active living through “park prescriptions” programs, connecting individuals and families to free opportunities for physical activity close to their homes.

The goal is to have outdoor physical activity serve as “prescriptions” to prevent or treat health problems resulting from inactivity and poor diet. Park prescriptions increase the amount of time patients spend enjoying physical activity and provide physicians and other healthcare providers with a new set of tools to inspire them to improve their health.

Public parks and recreation agencies are an underutilized healthcare resource. They create healthy communities and play a fundamental role in enhancing the physical environments in which we live. Through facilities, outdoor settings, and services provided, they support good health for people of all abilities, ages, socio‐economic backgrounds, and ethnicities. Parks provide a connection to nature which studies demonstrate relieves stress levels, tightens interpersonal relationships, and improves mental health. They provide opportunities for patients to reduce obesity and incidence of chronic disease by providing opportunities to increase rigorous physical activity in a variety of forms. And, they foster overall wellness and healthful habits, such as becoming tobacco‐free and engaging in enrichment opportunities that add balance to life.

DSC_7325.JPGIn Palm Beach County, there are nearly 120 county-operated parks and natural areas, hundreds of municipal parks, two state parks, a national wildlife refuge, and a number of public lands operated by various entities (South Florida Water Management DistrictSolid Waste Authority, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Facilitating health and wellness opportunities is a core service of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Countless miles of paved multi-use pedestrian pathways and fitness trails, many with exercise stations, can be found throughout the park system. The department has recently brought the indoor gym outdoors with the new John Prince Park Fitness Zone, a completely outdoor facility containing 17 pieces of resistance exercise equipment located underneath a large shade sail, accessible by people of all abilities and fitness levels. The Fitness Zone is free to use and available daily from sunrise to sunset.

Creating healthier residents is a day-by-day, collective effort that involves our dedicated healthcare providers. The next time you reach for your prescription pad, consider adding one more item—an outdoor physical activity in a local park or public land.

Getting started

Please contact Christopher Korbelak at (561) 966-6649 or email pbcparks@pbcgov.org if you or someone you know may be interested in partnering with the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department to promote physical activity and improve the health of patients and the general public in Palm Beach County through a “park prescriptions” program that connects your patients with public lands to engage in outdoor physical activity to create a healthier, happier society.

Leisure Times also available for your office or facility.

 

Looking to head “off the beaten path”? Look no further than #pbcParks!

BMX_Okeeheelee_2.jpg

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department offers many opportunities to take part in a variety of traditional activities like hiking, biking, jogging and more – but families can also enjoy lesser-known, more adventurous activities in PBC Parks! Check out the many different ways you and your family can enjoy the outdoors in some non-traditional ways in PBC Parks.

Archery

Archery_Okeeheelee.JPGThere are a few different ways kids and parents can work on their bow and arrow skills and even learn the sport of archery!

Okeeheelee Nature Center offers “Archery for Beginners” and “Archery Open Range” classes on select Saturdays each month.  Be sure to subscribe to Leisure Times Online for full information about these two classes, including schedules and fees.

  • Archery for Beginners: Learn the basics of archery from safety to shooting and develop a great new skill during this 2-hour program. Equipment is provided, and space is limited. Please wear close-toed shoes, and bring water and sun protection.
  • Archery Open Range: Here is the chance to practice those new-found archery skills! This expansion of the archery program will offer participants new challenges and allow them to work on precision and accuracy with a compound bow. Equipment is provided, and space is limited. Please wear close-toed shoes, and bring water and sun protection.

For those interested in becoming part of an archery club, the Gold Coast Archery Club has a permit and operates a standard target range and a 3D range in West Delray Regional Park. The club encourages guests to attend all their events and meetings. Information is available through Gold Coast Archers’ website. Applications for membership are also available in a mailbox at the entrance to the range.

Kayaking

Kayaking and Canoeing are great ways to get out onto the water, discover new plants and animals, make new friends, and stay physically active. It’s also a great bonding activity for parents and kids to enjoy the water and get a great workout.Kayaking_Riverbend_2.jpg

Canoes, kayaks, and other non-motorized vessels may be launched along any shoreline unless it is closed for a special event or private use if it can be carried without using a trailer to back onto the beach or grass area. Bring your own canoe/kayak and explore 20 PBC Parks.

Or, rent a kayak at Okeeheelee or Riverbend Park, as vendors are on-site (schedules vary):

  • Okeeheelee Park: Rent a canoe, kayak, or pedal boat on weekends and holidays from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Bicycle rentals are also available (helmets are provided). Visit kayakkingwatersports.comor call for more information.
  • Riverbend Park: Canoe and kayak rental is available Thursday through Monday(reservations are recommended). Bicycle rental is also available. Visit canoeoutfittersofflorida.com or call for reservations and more information.

Either way, you’ll have a blast exploring new areas or returning to your favorite kayaking or canoeing spot for more adventure.

BMX

BMX_Okeeheelee_1.JPGParents and kids can participate in BMX, a cycle sport that exposes adventurers to a thrill-packed good time. There are two PBC park locations to take part in or watch BMXers perform a variety of stunts on their bikes:

  • The Okeeheelee BMX Track, located in Okeeheelee Park, west of West Palm Beach, is operated by the Okeeheelee BMX Parents Council, and is open to all members of the National Bicycle League. Membership in the league is open to anyone interested in joining the fun! For more information, call 561-642-6774 or visit www.okeeheeleebmx.com.
  • The Loggers’ Run BMX Jump Course, located in Loggers’ Run Park in Boca Raton, is operated by Drop In Action Sports Complex, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information, visit www.dropincomplex.org.
Equestrian

Jim Brandon Equestrian_1.jpg

The Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach hosts a number of equestrian shows throughout the year, like The Ridge Farm Series, PBC Mounted Posse Shows, Barrel Points and more. The world-class equestrian center is a great venue for these events, featuring a covered arena, show arenas and a range of amenities for competitors. Families can head to JBEC to experience and appreciate this sport.

Or, ride select PBC Equestrian trails and enjoy the scenery via horseback (*note PBC Parks does not offer horse rentals):

There are nine miles of equestrian trails located at the JBEC. Three other PBC park locations also offer miles of scenic equestrian trails:

Radio-controlled fun

Remote Helicopter_West Delray_2.jpg

Grab your hobby airplanes, boats, cars and helicopters and head to West Delray Regional Park and Dyer Park to race them, or just practice controlling them! Discovering radio-controlled fun can help parents and kids bond through learning while having fun doing something new.

The following radio-controlled fun devices can be operated in our parks:

Radio-controlled airplanes and helicopters (by permit only) – Watch radio-controlled airplanes and helicopters take off, fly, and do stunts in the air at West Delray Regional Park and Dyer Park!

Radio-controlled boats (by permit only) – There is a radio-controlled boat lake located at West Delray Regional Park where patrons can watch the boats sail past each other, and set their boats to sail on the lake!

Radio-controlled car tracks – no permit is required to operate radio-controlled cars on tracks located at West Delray Regional Park, so bring out the cars and kids and practice on these unique tracks!Remote Helicopter_West Delray_1.jpg

1,000+ enjoy first ever Outdoor Adventure Day at John Prince Park

More than 1,000 kids, teens and adults from the Lake Worth and surrounding area enjoyed kayaking, archery, rock climbing, fishing and other activities during the first ever Outdoor Adventure Day at John Prince Park.

This event was a partnership between PBC Parks and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It’s the first time the two agencies are bringing these outdoor activities together to promote them to the Lake Worth and surrounding communities. It’s also part of a new initiative by PBC Parks to expose outdoor activities to urban youth who may be interested in nature and the environmental sciences, but may not have access to resources to study the environment or have opportunities to take part in similar outdoor activities to gain an appreciation for nature.

Watch the video to learn more!

We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit pbcParks.com.