A county of healthy people living happy lives isn’t far out of reach here in Pierce County where we have the mountain, forests, sea, and parks as our playground. When you close your eyes and think of your last hike through Ashford Park, playing in a tough sport competition at Sprinker Recreation Center, fishing at Spanaway Park, attending the Pierce County Fair, biking the Foothills Trail, teeing off at Lake Spanaway Golf Course, boating on Lake Tapps or flying a kite at the Central Meadow in the Chambers Creek Regional Park, we hope you recall how you felt – refreshed and relaxed - and we hope the memory inspires you to do it again.
Parks are, and should always be, places of peace, joy and natural beauty that bring physical and emotional relief from the daily stress in life. Regardless of age, over half of all Americans say they visit local parks, trails, picnic areas, lakes and beaches to experience the health benefits of nature. We think that number is even higher in Pierce County, where we offer welcoming spaces reaching from the mountain to the sea. In a Pierce County park is where most of us want to be each day.
Persons of every age and ability can find their “happy” in a park. Park agencies offer youth, senior and specialized programming many residents rely on for their quality of life. According to the National Recreation and Parks Association, vast majorities of millennials (89%), Gen Xers (82%) and baby boomers (77%) turn to nature for its health benefits and parents flock to visit waterbodies, trails, campgrounds and sports fields as an important part of raising their children.
We are proud to invest in our mission every day, providing opportunities for people to connect with nature, live healthy lifestyles, enjoy vibrant community spaces, and learn about sustainable practices. This is how we contribute to creating a vibrant Pierce County where people choose to live, work and raise a family. Vibrancy happens when a community is filled with healthy environments that inspire play, social connection and healthy activity – in short, it happens when they are filled with parks, trails, and programs.
This report explains how Pierce County Parks effectively and strategically uses public resources to strengthen families and connect community through unique and engaging parks and programs that inspire play, exploration, relaxation and appreciation of nature. Hopefully it serves as validation of what you already know – there is a connection between healthy and happy, and that connection comes most naturally when we step outside and play together in public parks and programs.