Less than four months ago, phrases like “new normal” and “social distancing” were not in our day to day conversations. As I reflect on the Spring of 2020, one thing is for certain— I have a new appreciation for what is essential in my life.
What exactly is essential? The who is easy to define. We have known for some time that medical professionals, firefighters, and police are absolutely essential. The quarantine has taught me that teachers, grocers, and food service employees are certainly essential too. But the “what” of essential is a very important question as well.
It seems every article I read on the coronavirus focuses on the dire economic impact. No doubt, it has struck a catastrophic blow on small businesses and reduced the budgets of federal, state, and local governments. The toll on our personal household budgets has a ripple effect through our community. COVID-19 has brought challenges to every aspect of our lives. If, for one moment, we could set the
financial implications aside, what else is happening in our community?
I spend a great deal of time in the parks. I utilize the bike trails, hiking trails, and the dog parks on a daily basis. The one thing I have noticed is that the attendance in our parks is flourishing. Our park system is the busiest it has been in decades. One trip through Snyder Park would suggest that our community is falling in love with the outdoors again. A thirty-minute bike ride would indicate that families are biking, walking, and spending more time together than ever before.
We know that taking a stroll through the park makes you feel good. So, all this begs the question: What truly is essential? The food we eat and the air we breathe are the easy answers. But, I believe our parks are indispensable. Experts contend that outdoor exercise is one of the single most important things you can do for yourself. It has proven positive effects on your mental health, boosts your immune system, and contributes to an overall healthier lifestyle. Our green space is essential and I am so happy to be part of a community that values it just as my family does.
A huge thank you goes out to all of our park personnel. Thank you for cleaning and maintaining our beautiful parks so we all may enjoy them.
Stay safe and healthy,
National Trail Parks & Recreation District