Benefits of Recreation
The Benefits of Recreation
Local parks and recreation programs are the gateways to healthy, prosperous and connected communities. On any given day, someone is being positively affected through parks and recreation – whether they are taking a walk on a trail or participating in a fitness class at the recreation center, learning a new skill through one of our classes, or just reaping the benefits of clean air and water because of preserved open space. Parks and recreation programs connect communities to nature and help preserve open space, provide health and wellness opportunities and essential services, and connect all people, making our city a more desirable destination and place to live.
The 3 Pillars of Recreation
Dallas Park and Recreation Department (DPARD) believes in aligning with the National Park and Recreation Association (NRPA) and impacting communities through conservation, health and wellness and social equity programs and opportunities.
Conservation– Dallas Park and Recreation Department has a critical in the role of preserving natural resources that have real economic benefits for communities by connecting communities to nature, and providing education and programming that helps communities engage in conservation practices.
Health and Wellness- Dallas Park and Recreation Department provides a variety of programs and services to assist in living a healthier lifestyle and combat our countries challenges of poor nutrition, hunger, obesity, and physical inactivity.
Social Equity- Dallas Park and Recreation Department provides universal access to public parks and recreation programs. Our team works hard to ensure that the members of the communities we serve have access to the resources and programs available.
Green space, natural areas, and parks are vital to environmental wellbeing and protect environmental resources. The National Recreation Park Association state the benefits of conservation and environmental stewardship are many, including:
- Providing carbon‐reducing sustainable landscapes that cleanse air and water, replenish aquifers, reduce storm water runoff, and protect wildlife habitat.
- Offering the public access to safe, affordable, and healthy ways to experience and appreciate nature.
- Contributing significantly to the economic well‐being of communities through energy and resources conservation and providing many economic benefits to communities derived from outdoor recreation.
The Dallas Park System is one of the largest municipal park systems in the nation with 380 parks totaling over 23,470 acres of developed and undeveloped parkland including: 4,658 surface acres of water; 18,641 acres of municipal tree canopy, and 143 miles of developed trails. Our department offers a multitude of conservation programs to aid in beautifying our city and protecting our natural resources. Dallas Park and Recreation Department conducts a biannual “It’s My Park Day” event where volunteers assist in the beautification of City parks by organizing clean ups, gardening, and special projects at parks across the City. Other conservation programs include our Citizen Forester, Jr. Park Ambassador, and Stash Your Trash campaign to name a few. To learn more about these programs or other conservation opportunities, contact our Park Maintenance Services Division at 214-670-1923 .
Health and Wellness Benefits
Public parks and recreation programs are leaders in improving the overall health and wellness of the nation. We are essential partners in combating some of the most complicated challenges our country faces; poor nutrition, hunger, obesity, and physical inactivity. Our programs help reduce obesity and incidence of chronic disease by providing opportunities to increase rigorous physical activity in a variety of forms. In addition, we offer nutritional education opportunities as well as access to nutritional food options helping to reduce hunger and malnutrition. The National Park and Recreation Association states that Park and Recreation programs help to foster overall wellness and healthful habits through engaging enrichment opportunities that add balance to life for all. To read the complete study from NRPA, visit: NRPA Position Statement on the Benefits of Health & Wellness
DPARD Health & Wellness
DPARD provides a variety of programs and services to assist in living a healthier lifestyle and improving overall quality of life. In addition to providing multiple parks and trails for outdoor recreation activities our 43 Recreation Centers offer a plethora of Health and Fitness programs for citizens of all ages and ability levels. Examples of DPARDS Health & Fitness Programs offered at our facilities include our Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative; Senior Texercise Program; Low Cost Fitness Centers; Variety of Fitness programs; Athletic programs; Hike and Bike Trails, Aquatic Programs; Nutrition education; and our summer feeding program to name just a few. For more information on any of these or other programs, contact our Recreation Services administration office at 214-670-8847.
Social Equity Benefits
All citizens should be afforded the opportunity to utilize parks and participate in and benefit from recreation programs as well as have safe, healthful access to parks and recreation programs. When afforded this opportunity, people connect with one another and build bonds and community ties that last a lifetime. In addition, providing access to quality parks and programs help transform cities into destinations creating an influx of new businesses helping local economies flourish. Some of the benefits of Social equity are listed below:
- Where parks and open space are plentiful and recreation services strong, residents enjoy the closest attachment and engagement within their communities; and studies indicate higher levels of local gross domestic product and economic well‐being.
- Quality recreation time with family and friends. Parks and recreation services provide a space and a reason to partake in enjoying quality time, relaxation, and fun among family members and friends, thus strengthening the social and familial bonds that provide balance and satisfaction in life;
- Improvement of mental and physical health. Parks and recreation can reduce the impacts of chronic diseases, especially in such vulnerable populations as children, seniors, and the underserved.
- Measurable decreases in rates of crime and other detrimental activities. Communities are safer as a result of a wholesome atmosphere created by well‐managed parks and recreation services in communities through healthy activities and programming for all people.
DPARD Social Equity
DPARD provides universal access to public parks and recreation programs. Our team works hard to ensure that the members of the communities we serve have access to the resources and programs available. Some of the ways we offer equity amongst all citizens is through our summer camp scholarships. This program offers 8 free weeks of summer camp to qualifying families. In addition to our scholarships we offer tiered pricing on many of our programs as well as free special events to participate in. DPARD supports local businesses by offering contract fee opportunities and working with local vendors to procure items. In addition, our department supports our local economy by providing employment and volunteer opportunities. These are just a few ways we work to ensure we are providing social equity to the citizens of Dallas. To learn more about these programs or other opportunities offered by the Dallas Park and Recreation Department please contact 214-670-4100 and they will direct you to the correct person to assist you with your request.