What are Park Prescriptions?

As the health and nature movement grows, the definition of Park Prescriptions continues to evolve. On ParkRx.org we focus on programs or interventions that…

  • Include a health or social service provider
  • who encourages their patients/clients to spend time in nature
  • with the goal of improving their health and well-being.

Park Prescription programs can be as diverse as the communities for which they are designed and they often include collaboration between park and public land agencies, healthcare providers, and community partners. As a result, identifying universal criteria for what constitutes a “Park Prescription” is challenging. We have developed the criteria that we use on parkrx.org with the input of many stakeholders, recognizing that others may use the term differently.

About the ParkRx movement

In October 2013, the Institute at the Golden Gate and the National Recreation and Parks Association, with support from the National Park Service, convened a group of practitioners to discuss the emerging trend of prescribing nature to improve mental and physical health. This group of park agencies, healthcare providers, and community organizations were inspired by the concept and eager to support Park Prescriptions as they moved beyond initial pilot tests into the mainstream. This group developed the National ParkRx Initiative with the goal of supporting the emerging community of Park Prescription practitioners.

Since that time, the number of Park Prescription programs has increased significantly, nationwide. As the movement has evolved, so have the needs of the community and the opportunities to support it.

ParkRx.org began as the home for the National ParkRx Initiative and has grown into the leading information hub for Park Prescriptions, creating a space for knowledge sharing in the practitioner community. Led by the Institute at the Golden Gate, ParkRx.org builds on the Park Prescription movement and provides a platform to share best practices, toolkits, and case studies.

How to share your work

If your agency is interested in sharing a case study, tool, or other learning around Park Prescriptions, please let us know using this form.

About the Institute at the Golden Gate

A program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the Institute at the Golden Gate reimagines parks as catalysts for social good, making them more vibrant, relevant, and valuable for all. Working at the intersection of park lands and social good, the Institute provides new and cutting-edge ways for park leaders and their partners to be part of the solution to complex social challenges.