Celebrate National Park and Recreation Month

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Since 1985, America has celebrated July as National Park and Recreation Month, celebrating unbridled outdoor recreation and encouraging everyone to explore their local recreational facilities and parks in honor of summer and the beauty of nature.

Designated in 1985 as National Park and Recreation Month by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the month of July is ideal for small groups and families to rediscover their local parks and visit new ones.

Encouraging outdoor physical activity and actively promoting parks and recreation in communities across the country, the NRPA actively supports and promotes creative celebrations through their magazine Parks & Recreation, and encourages communities and townships to submit their own celebration and activity information.

The object of the NRPA and National Park and Recreation Month isn’t just to encourage outdoor recreational activity and increase park visitation, but also to recognize and salute those who work in the parks system to make our park experience enjoyable and unforgettable. The beauty of a park can reside within our hearts and minds long after we have left, and children and adults alike will certainly enjoy the tranquility and peace of such natural serenity. We should consider the care and effort that goes into maintaining our parks by the vast number of park employees who dedicate themselves to the difficult but rewarding task of park maintenance.

You can check your park websites, or activity listings in your local papers, to find out what programs and activities may be occurring in your area in honor of National Park and Recreation Month. Many communities celebrate enthusiastically with park pride days, park picnics, group hikes, park beautification activities, and much more.

Outdoor recreation is a key factor of National Park and Recreation Month, focusing on the need for physical activity, and what better place to enjoy physical activity than during the many beautiful summer days in the month of July.

Although the many activities and celebrations can be overwhelmingly fun, the importance of physical activity should not be forgotten, and should especially be instilled in children and young adults.

The NRPA website, nrpa.org, contains more information and tools for communities to utilize in order to create their own list of activities and celebrations. Samples of proclamations and press releases are available for download, as well as a sample calendar of activities and important information to let everyone in the community know that July is National Park and Recreation Month.

James L. Cummins is executive director of Wildlife Mississippi, a non-profit, conservation organization founded to conserve, restore, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plant resources throughout Mississippi. Their web site is www.wildlifemiss.org.


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