Making the Case for Recreation and Parks

We all know the benefits of parks and recreation in our communities, but how do we calculate those benefits and show the results? The National Recreation and Park Association developed the three pillars as a way of identifying health and wellness, environmental, and social equity benefits to serve as a platform for clearly communicating the benefits of parks and recreation. Included below are resources that demonstrate benefits to assist with advocating for parks and recreation to stakeholders, local leaders and elected officials.

Health and Wellness

There is no doubt that active living promotes good health, and good health is beneficial to everyone. As recreation providers we are often the first point of contact in getting people active. Many studies show the cost of unhealthy lifestyles and demonstrate the importance of good nutrition and being active.

Be Active North Carolina is a resource to find the latest news on healthy activities, economic cost of being unhealthy, grant opportunities and resources to help you promote being active.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Environmental Health  provide links to resources on physical activity, respiratory health, children’s and elder health and the built environment, mental health and more.

RRS also offers a Health & Wellbeing resource page with additional information.


The Landscape and Human Health Laboratory was created at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign as multidisciplinary research laboratory dedicated to studying the relationships between people and the environments they inhabit. Their researchers provide results of several studies about the benefits of a green (vegetation) environment and the relationship to crime, poverty, violence, and positive effects on children’s self-discipline and ability to study.

Research has also shown that green spaces invite people outdoors to be active, interact with neighbors, as well as relieve symptoms for children with ADD.

The Trust for Public Land website provides links to research results on conservation including the Economic Benefits of Parks, Healthy Parks, Healthy Communities and the Center for City Park Excellence.

Additional Resources on the Benefits of Parks and Recreation

The National Recreation and Parks Association provides a wealth of additional resources on the benefits of parks and recreation that can be used as advocacy tools