The Benefits of Parks and Recreation

Parks and recreation is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and a vibrant community. Midland County parks offer a wide range of activities for residents and visitors to promote an active life outdoors.

Why should residents visit a park and what will it do for them?

The National Recreation and Park Association maintains a Top 10 list of reasons parks are important and Midland County parks make the top ten list every time.

  1. Public parks provide millions of Americans with the opportunity to be physically active. Over 300,000 people visit Midland County parks each year!
  2. Parks have true economic benefits. Midland County spends over $834,000 on parks each year and visitors pay $126,000 to use the parks.
  3. Parks provide vital green space in a fast developing American Landscape. 1,110 acres of land are dedicated to Midland County parks.
  4. Parks preserve critical wildlife habitat. Did you know that you can see bald eagles, a bog, and white pine trees over 200 years old while in a Midland County park?
  5. Parks and recreation facilitate social interaction. Do you like to run, canoe, picnic, swim, boat, or hike? Bring a friend and get outside!
  6. Leisure activities in parks improve moods, reduce stress and enhance a sense of wellness. Each of Midland County’s parks is attached to water and most have been kept in a natural state. Breathe, sit, relax!
  7. Recreational programs provide organized, structured, enjoyable activities. Participate in the Mud Creek Crawl, a fishing tournament, and the Parkapalooza at Sanford Lake!
  8. Community recreation services provide a refuge of safety for at-risk youth. Miles and miles of hiking and biking trails, water resources, and physical activity give youth a positive outlet.
  9. Therapeutic recreation is an outlet that individuals with disabilities have. All parks have accessible picnicking, many have accessible trails, and the Pere-Marquette Rail-Trail offers mobility through a large part of the state.
  10. Public parks embody the American tradition of preserving public lands. The 93 acre River Trail Heritage Park is the newest public land that will be preserved for the future.

Healthy living includes an active life and fresh air.

Midland County parks offer recreation and outdoor activity all year – embracing winter and snow with the same enthusiasm as the water and sun of summer!

Pine Haven Park has some of the best bike and hiking trails in the state during the summer, and challenging and scenic cross-country trails in the winter. In the fall, the park hosts the Mud Creek Crawl, ranked by Runners World magazine as one of the nation’s most out-of-the-way-races.

Veteran’s Memorial Park is an excellent location to barbeque, go birding, and snow shoe. Manitou Park offers scenic vistas of the Chippewa River that are unrivaled in the region.

There is no reason to stay home anytime of the year. Come out and get active. Healthy living is fun, easy, and close to home.

Images and text by Cindy Winland. NRPA Top 10 list written by Richard J. Dolesh, Monica Hobbs Vinluan, and Michael Phillips.


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