October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14

RESEARCH
Engagement With Parks Report
Shows Parks and Recreation Is Vital
By Melissa May
P
eople love parks. We know this in our hearts, we see it with our
own eyes, and, year after year, we have the data to prove it. Since
2016, the NRPA Research team has surveyed U.S. adults to better
understand how they connect with parks and recreation. The
results from these surveys form the basis of NRPA's annual Engagement
With Parks Report (nrpa.org/Engagement). The 2021 report highlights the
public's strong and broad-based support for parks and recreation.
Parks and recreation is an essential
part of the lives of people coast
to coast. Even a global pandemic
did not keep people away from their
favorite parks, trails and recreation
opportunities. Seventy-nine percent
of survey respondents - the equivalent
of 260 million people - visited
a local park or recreation facility at
least once during the 12-month period
ending in May 2021.
The reasons people visit their
local park and recreation facilities
track closely with what they identify
as their favorite activities. Whether
it is an afternoon at the park to
experience nature or the myriad of
sporting options, there is a seemingly
endless amount of possibilities from
which to choose. For more than six
in 10 people, this means visiting a
local park, playground, dog park or
some other local open space.
Even as the
coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic disrupted
nearly every facet of life, parks
and recreation remained open and
available. Seventy-two percent of
U.S. adults either maintained or increased
the frequency of their visits
to outdoor parks, trails and other
public spaces during the past year
compared to before the pandemic.
Access to high-quality park and
14 Parks & Recreation | O CTOBER 2 0 2 1
recreation opportunities is a vital
factor in improving quality of life
for all. It is not surprising then that
four in five U.S. adults indicate
access to high-quality parks and
recreation is an important factor in
choosing a place to live.
More than seven in 10 U.S. residents
have at least one local park,
playground, open space or recreation
center within walking distance of
their homes, and one-third of survey
respondents have two or more nearby
parks and/or other recreational
opportunities. Unfortunately, 29
percent of people do not live within
walking distance of at least one park
or
recreational
opportunity.
This
means approximately 100 million
U.S. residents do not have walkable
access to the lifesaving and lifeenhancing
benefits that parks and
recreation offers people. Removing
any inequity in park access is critical
to building strong, healthy and resilient
communities. One crucial step is
greater and more sustainable funding
of local park and recreation agencies.
Nearly nine in 10 people agree
that it is important for local, state
and federal governments to fund
local park and recreation agencies
sufficiently in order to ensure every
member of the community has
| PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
equitable access to amenities, infrastructure
and programming.
The people and their lived experiences
make the United States a
diverse nation. Hence, the public's
needs and desires from parks and
recreation vary greatly by location.
What may work in one part of a
city may not work in another part of
town or in a rural county.
Acknowledging the individuality
of communities and creating a safe
space for all residents to present their
needs is vital in establishing lasting
public involvement. Eighty percent of
U.S. adults agree that park and recreation
leaders should engage directly
with their communities to deliver appropriate
facilities and programs.
Parks and recreation transforms
our cities, towns and counties into
vibrant, healthy and resilient communities
thanks to the tireless efforts
of more than 10,000 agencies
and more than 160,000 full-time
park and recreation professionals
across the United States. The
2021 Engagement With Parks Report
makes this point clear: people place
a high value on the programs and
services that park and recreation
agencies deliver to their local communities
every day, strongly support
their mission and desire their
voice be heard in decision making.
Check out more in-depth key findings
from the 2021 Engagement
With Parks Report in our upcoming
blog series beginning in October (nrpa.
org/Blog).
Melissa May is NRPA's Senior Research
Manager (mmay@nrpa.org).
http://www.nrpa.org/Engagement http://nrpa.org/blog http://nrpa.org/blog

October 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of October 2021 - Parks & Recreation

October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 8
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 9
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 10
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 11
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 13
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14
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October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com