Healthy Parks Healthy Person expands across state

Published 4:51 pm Friday, August 4, 2017

With two state parks located in Carter County, it’s hard to not go out and investigate what the environment has to offer.
Tennessee State Parks and Tennessee Department of Health recently partnered together to unveil the Healthy Parks Healthy Person program, a web application that allows Tennesseans to log their activities at each of the state’s parks that can be redeemed online and be used for different types of swag, including merchandise, golf rounds, free camping or a stay in a cabin.
“Tennessee State Parks offers thousands of miles of walkways, trails and waterways for visitors to engage in healthy exercise at no cost,” Tennessee Department of Conservation Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation Brock Hill said in a statement issued to the Elizabethton Star. “The Healthy Parks Healthy Person program offers additional incentive for residents to engage in healthy activities at any of Tennessee’s 56 state parks.”
Healthy Park Healthy Person also includes a “Park Prescription” feature that allows healthcare providers to prescribe outdoor activity as part of a healthcare regimen for patients.
“It’s an exciting program,” J.R. Tinch, Roan Mountain State Park manager, told the Elizabethton Star Friday. “I know it started in Middle Tennessee and showed a lot of progress. We definitely encourage the public to visit the park. We have trails for just about everyone.”
Tinch added Tennessee State Parks and TDH joining together shows a cohesive that’s needed to help tackle health issues in the state.
“The partnership is important,” he said. “The goal of the program is to encourage people to go outside instead of staying inside home to using electronic devices all the time. Having a multi-department approach to tackle this issue will only be beneficial moving forward.”
According to information provided by TDH, numerous public health organizations and studies have proven the benefits of outdoor exercise and physical health.
Individuals can visit on any mobile device and log activities. Points can be collected from hiking, biking, running, swimming, paddling and rock climbing and can be earned by visiting any local, state or national park. Points can be redeemed at Tennessee State Park and there is no fee for the app.
“We are excited to have a new way to encourage people in Tennessee to be active and enjoy our beautiful and award-winning Tennessee State Parks,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Our parks are wonderful restorative places for our bodies, minds and souls. Go for a walk down a beautiful trail, paddle a creek or enjoy any active fun in our great outdoors for great preventive medicine.”
To date, over 1,000 people are using the Healthy Parks Healthy Person app.
Individuals can visit the websites of Roan Mountain State Park or Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park to get a full listing of the different trails at each location.

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