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News Article

The Benefits of County Parks


Alexander River Park

As a resident in Buncombe County you are an honorary owner in our park system.  Think of our parks as you would a gym membership, but free!  Your membership gives you access to free recreational spaces so you can spend quality time with your family, get some exercise, participate in recreation activities with friends, or just relax on a beautiful day with a book or music.

However, parks are more than just a green space on a map, something that most don’t realize is that parks have many other positive influences on the community.

PARKS REDUCE CRIME

  • Parks reduce crime and violence especially around lower-income neighborhoods. Source
  • Access to parks and recreation opportunities has been strongly linked to reductions in juvenile delinquency. Source

PARKS BENEFIT THE ECONOMY AND TOURISM

  • Parks improve the local tax base and increase property values.
  • Parks draw business to an area. Quality parks and recreation are cited as one of the top three reasons that businesses cite in relocation decisions in a number of studies. Source
  • Parks and Recreation programs generate revenue directly, and indirectly, by hosting regional events in the arts, music, and with holiday festivals. Economic activity of tourism, fuel, recreation equipment sales, and many other private sector businesses is of true and sustained value parks contribute to local and regional economies. Source

PARKS CREATE SOCIAL IMPORTANCE AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

  • Parks improve the quality of life within the community – and are cited as one of the most important factors in surveys of how livable communities are. Source
  • Parks provide gathering places for families, social groups, and disability status regardless of their ability to pay for access – as they are free and accessible to all.

PARKS ARE ESPECIALLY VALUABLE FOR CHILDREN

  • Parks improve health. Children who take advantage of outdoor play in their local parks system have a lower risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis. It can also boost their immunities and increase their life expectancy. Source 
  • Parks reduce Mental Health Issues. Children who play outdoors in local parks have a lower risk of developing depression and stress. It can also improve their quality of life, including their self-esteem, personal and spiritual growth, and life satisfaction. Source 
  • Parks improve Educational Performance. Parks provide an educational opportunity for students. Students in schools using an environment-based learning model earned higher scores on standardized tests than their counterparts in more traditional school settings. Also, students who were more athletic resulted in higher grades. Source

PARKS HAVE NUMEROUS HEALTH BENEFITS

  • People go to parks to get healthy and fit
  • Parks and recreation programs contribute to the health of children, youth, adults, and seniors
  • There are significant correlations to reductions in stress, lowered blood pressure, and perceived physical health to the length of stay in visits to parks. Source
  • Parks and protected public lands are proven to improve water quality, protect groundwater, prevent flooding, improve the quality of air we breathe, provide vegetative buffers to development, habitats for wildlife, and provide a place for children and families to connect with nature and recreate outdoors together. Source

Buncombe County has many outdoor parks: Buncombe County Sports Park, Charles D. Owen Park, Collier Cove Nature Preserve, Hominy Valley Park, and Lake Julian. There are also seven river parks: Alexander, Bent Creek, Corcoran Paige, Glen Bridge, Hominy Creek, Ledges Whitewater, and Walnut Island. Five outdoor pool locations in the summer, in Fletcher, Asheville, Candler, Weaverville, and Swannanoa. That is not even including our soccer fields or greenway system.

Buncombe County Recreation Services encourage everyone to exercise their membership in our parks!  Visit the park website to take advantage of your membership benefits, and check out their calendar of events to see all of the great activities that are coming up throughout the year.