Notable News

May 1, 2016, Department, by NRPA

-     Nevada received roughly $400,000 in grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to improve park and recreation areas throughout the state. Nevada Sen. Harry Reid (D) fought to reinstate the LWCF, which, last October, congressional Republicans allowed to expire for the first time in 50 years. In most cases, the money will help to upgrade facilities in several local and state parks, as well as to develop a new park for the Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of the Fallon Reservation and Colony.


-      American Rivers recently published its annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers report, which “identifies the 10 most threatened waterways in the country.” Topping the list is the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which is threatened by outdated water management practices and wasteful water use. Outdated water management practices also pose a threat to California’s San Joaquin River. Threats to the other river systems include a proposal to build new dams on tributaries that feed into the Pascagoula River that flows through Mississippi and Alabama; harmful dam operations on New York’s St. Lawrence River, the Susquehanna River that flows through Pennsylvania and Maryland, and North Carolina’s Pee Dee River; mountaintop removal mining on the Russell Fork River that flows through Kentucky and Virginia; and others.


-      Almost five years ago, Oklahoma City garnered two unflattering rankings: the “worst U.S. walking city” from Prevention magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association, and the “No. 2 fattest city” from Men’s Fitness magazine. Since then, as part of the city’s focus on active living and healthy eating, its infrastructure has seen the addition of hundreds of miles of new sidewalks, 8 miles of bike lanes on streets (no bike lanes existed in 2008), 100 additional miles of recreational trail and new gyms built at many public schools. These and a number of other steps being taken have already resulted in a significant decline in the city’s obesity rate, which has fallen from 6 percent annually to 1 percent. 


-     Much of the research about public parks and green spaces focuses on the physical, psychological and social benefits to urban residents. A recent study, “Public Parks and Wellbeing in Urban Areas of the United States,” published on PLOS ONE is one of a few that focuses on the influence of parks on comprehensive measures of subjective wellbeing at the city level. Using 2014 data from 44 U.S. cities, the relationship between urban park quantity, quality and accessibility was evaluated and results suggest that expansive park networks are linked to multiple aspects of health and wellbeing in cities and positively impact urban quality of life.

-     A recent study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at the relationship between income and life expectancy by analyzing newly available data on income and mortality for the U.S. population from 1999 through 2014. The analysis yielded four results: (1) higher income was associated with greater longevity throughout the income distribution, (2) inequality in life expectancy increased over time, (3) life expectancy for low-income individuals varied substantially across local areas, and (4) geographic differences in life expectancy for individuals in the lowest income quartile were significantly correlated with health behaviors such as smoking, but were not significantly correlated with access to medical care, physical environmental factors, income inequality or labor market conditions. Click here to read this study.