The purpose of this paper is to discuss the shared interest of the public health and parks and recreation sectors in promoting active visits to parks. At the institutional level, both sectors have missions to promote physical activity and view parks as key components in attaining physical activity goals. While some balancing among park goals may be necessary to avoid overuse and resource degradation, active visits more often complement park sustainability goals by reducing automobile and other motorized use impacts. The public health and parks and recreation sectors have each developed ecologic models to understand the determinants and outcomes of park-related physical activity. Transdisciplinary integration of these modeling efforts can lead to a better understanding of how active visits fit within the context of the overall recreational experience and the full range of benefits that parks provide. We conclude by identifying strategies for improving collaboration between the public health and parks and recreation sectors.
Buchner is with the Physical Activity and Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341-3717. Gobster is with the North Research Station, US Forest Service, Evanston, IL 60201. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent positions or policies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or of the US Forest Service.