Our world is not always a calm and placid place. News headlines blare back and forth in a nonstop rhetorical battle, and elections, politicking and lawmaking are often shrouded in ugliness and divisiveness. Can anything bring us together?
Yes — and parks and recreation holds the key. In times of polarization, park and recreation centers bring everybody together. Venture outside on a warm spring afternoon and you will see people of all ages, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds smiling together and enjoying the park. In a world increasingly divided by artificial barriers, bubbles and differences, our expansive natural parks foster inclusion and togetherness. Need inspiration? Look no further than the words of these respected leaders:
Because no matter who you are, no matter where you live, our parks, our monuments, our lands, our waters — these places are your birthright as Americans.
—President Barack Obama
The parks belong to the people and [all] parks should be accessible to the people.
—President George W. Bush
The American people [regard] the idea of the city park as not merely an adornment, but an instrument of social service to the community….Life is better worth living in those cities which have relatively large park areas effectively developed not only as beauty spots but as recreation centers and playgrounds
for all classes in the community.
—President Theodore Roosevelt
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
Parks bring people together to share experiences and forge relationships. We must never flag in providing this essential amenity to our fellow citizens, offering them the opportunity to experience beauty, peace and inspiration in a tumultuous world.
— Chris Brusatte, Interpretive Planner, Taylor Studios Inc.