I recently read an article published on AthleticBusiness.com about a report released by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.  The report suggested that outdoor recreation saves the state more than $1 billion- annually!  

The report it referenced, titled ‘Health Benefits Estimates for Oregonians from Their Outdoor Recreation Participation in Oregon,’ suggests that participation in outdoor recreation nets the state $1.4 billion in savings by reducing health care costs associated with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, depression, dementia, diabetes and cancers.  

The study also found that the most popular activities identified were non-motorized trail activities such as walking or running on local streets, sidewalks, and trails.

Basically, the better the access to outdoor recreation, the better the health of the community… which results in lower healthcare costs.  

I wouldn’t say the findings are anything groundbreaking, but it is a convincing reminder that how we design our city has significant effects on the overall health of our community.  As such, the report also suggested that one of the best ways to boost community health is to simply provide better access to trails.  

With all that said, I am very excited for the upcoming projects planned for our Tule River Parkway and the overall efforts to improve our community’s health.  

The parkway currently features a 2.2 mile walking and bike riding trail and Park & Ride Lot at Jaye Street.  This year, we plan to extend the trail from Main Street to Fallen Heroes Park off of Plano Ave.  

There is also a project in the works to add drought tolerant demonstration gardens along the trail to help repopulate the area with native plants and support native habitat.  

By developing and beautifying the trail, we hope it encourages more frequent use.  There are even plans for guided walking tours and workshops which I will highlight next time. In the meantime, get outside and take a walk because Parks (and trails!) Make Life Better!

Open Gym Volleyball

Did you know that we offer open gym for volleyball on Saturdays?  It’s not only a great opportunity to spend time with friends and make new ones, but also a great way to get in some exercise (speaking of community health!).  

Join us in the evenings for pick-up games between 6:00 pm-9:00 pm at the Santa Fe School Gym, 286 E. Orange Ave.  The cost is $2 per player and open to ages 18 and older.  Open gym will take place Saturday evenings through the end of March.

Sports Signups

Don’t forget that we just started registration for our Jr. Pirates Track & Field Club and our Youth Baseball League signups begin on February 8.  

The track club is for ages 9-14 and the baseball league is for ages 4-13.  Both welcome boys and girls to participate in a fun and pressure-free environment.  

You can visit us at the Heritage Center to sign up or simply create an account online through our website and register your child without ever leaving the house.

Save the Dates

We have some exciting events planned this spring so be sure to save the dates!  It kicks off with the very popular Fishing Derby on March 16 at Murry Park.  Then we have a huge party for youngsters with the Kids Fest presented by Giovanni’s Pizzeria.  That will take place on March 30 at the Sports Complex.  

The fast and furious Egg Hunt will happen on April 19 at Veterans Park.  We will even squeeze in a few track and field meets and Arbor Day.  These events are geared toward family fun and kept at a very low cost with the help of local support.  Stay tuned for more details.

 

Donnie Moore is the director of the City of Porterville Department of Parks and Leisure Services.

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