Park Rx

The Rhode Island Land Trust Council and your doctor have the right “prescription” for 2017: take a hike. Experts report that kids who go on hikes and spend time outside are happier, healthier, smarter, more creative, more optimistic, and more self-confident. ParkRx hopes to make hikes and walks a regular practice.

As part of the “1” in 5-2-1-0 – at least 1 hour of physical activity every day – the Rhode Island Land Trust Council has created ParkRx with South County’s pediatricians and other health care providers. Through ParkRx, they “prescribe” being outdoors as part of the child’s recommended health care.

South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds is partnering with Park Rx to identify medical practices to write park prescriptions and to get the word out. The Land Trust Council provides bright yellow “prescription pads” for participating providers.

Other organizations around the country have established similar projects.

Local providers are taking part

Dr. Celeste Corcoran of Coastal Medical/Narragansett Bay Pediatrics has not only been writing “prescriptions”, but frequently joins her patients and families on guided walks.

Thundermist Health Center in Wakefield and Wood River Health Center in Hope Valley also give patients healthy outdoors prescriptions. Ask your doctor if he/or she prescribes ParkRx.

Get started with a Saturday land trust hike

Two South County land trusts are “filling the prescriptions” on the first Saturday of every month at 10 am. The South Kingstown Land Trust offers a guided tour of its Browning Woods Trail. The Westerly Land Trust does the same for its Dr. John Champlin Glacier Park Trail. (You don’t need a prescription; everyone is welcome.)

Can’t wait until the first Saturday? Your family prefers to go it alone? ExploreRI.org offers 60 other local trails at your fingertips, with interactive maps, directions, and detailed descriptions. Almost all the hikes are “easy” or “intermediate”. Many are on land protected by the state’s 45+ land trusts.

For kid-friendly tips and information, we recommend Rhode Island Families in Nature, too.