WASHINGTON, D.C. – Buffalo National River is one of 25 national parks selected to receive a 2016 Active Trails grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. The grant will be used to support a variety of activities ranging from scheduled hikes and river floats to “flexible opportunities” for groups that wish to visit the park to pursue health and fitness goals.
Buffalo’s version of this grant, entitled “Explore for Health”, is in its third year and in conjunction with the Centennial of the National Park Service is actively engaging with the Hometown Health programs in Newton, Searcy, Marion, and Boone Counties to identify groups and appropriate activities for their visit to the park. This grant can assist in costs of transportation and food if required. So far, we have scheduled participation in county-based health fairs, visits by 4-H, young mothers, and picnics for special services. In addition, a new connection has been made with Special Olympics and planning is under way to host an event at Tyler Bend on May 6th.
In addition, the Iron Ranger Challenge encourages everyone to log 100 miles by hiking, paddling, riding, biking. Visit www.ironranger2016ar.org to register or track your progress, or visit www.facebook.com/Iron-Ranger-Challenge for more information.
Now in its eighth year, the Active Trails program supports healthy living by getting people out and active in national parks through projects promoting recreation and exercise. Since 2008, the National Park Foundation has granted more than $3.35 million through its Active Trails program. As of early 2015, Active Trails has engaged more than 12,000 volunteers and 740 project partners.
“From Zumba and yoga, to paddling along the seashore, to guided hikes for veterans, our national parks are places for healthy living, wellness, fun, and healing,” said Susan Newton, senior vice president of grants & programs at the National Park Foundation. “Thanks to our Active Trails program, we’re able to help people from all backgrounds discover how they can actively enjoy our national parks in ways that speak to their unique interests.”
“National parks, both urban and rural, can provide opportunities to improve one’s physical and mental health,” said Sara Newman, Director of the Office of Public Health at the National Park Service. “The scientific evidence is mounting to demonstrate that physical activity in the outdoors can lead to numerous health benefits, and we are proud our parks are a health resource for this nation. These National Park Foundation grants will help all visitors experience our parks as places to recreate, inspire, reflect, and be active.”
The entire list of the 2016 Active Trails recipients can be found here.
The Active Trails projects are great examples of the countless ways there are to #FindYourPark. Launched in March 2015, Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a public awareness and education movement to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate, and support America’s national parks and community-based programs. Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial and setting the stage for the Service’s next 100 years, #FindYourPark invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation’s natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.
The National Park Foundation wishes to thank The Coca-Cola Company and The Coca-Cola Foundation for their generous support of the Active Trails program.