A Prescription for Nature: Canadians Can Receive Park Passes from their Doctors.

The Discovery Pass provides unlimited admission for a full year at Parks Canada national parks and more

Feeling out of sorts? Maybe you need a little nature in your life.

The benefits of being in nature are broad. According to research, people who spend at least 2 hours in nature each week report significantly better health and wellbeing. Another study found that children with ADHD benefit from nature. Those who took a 20-minute walk in a park vs. a city street improved their performance on a math attention test significantly more—rivalling the effects of stimulant medication.

Residents of BC, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba can receive ‘nature prescriptions’ from their doctors through PaRx, initiative of the BC Parks Foundation. Health care providers can sign up the website to receive a nature prescription file customized with a unique provider code, and instructions for how to prescribe and log nature prescriptions.

The usual prescription might be “2 hours in nature a week at least 20 minutes at a time”.

But, starting this year, health care providers can provide year-long passes to Canada’s National Parks. The Discovery Pass “provides unlimited admission for a full year at over 80 Parks Canada national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas that typically charge a daily entrance fee”. Only 100 passes will be available but the BC Parks Foundation told NPR that organizers plan to routinely reassess this number as the program grows.

The Washington Post reports that doctors utilizing the new national parks pass program are urged to prioritize patients who might not otherwise be able to afford these passes.

For more on Park Prescriptions, CLICK HERE


Image: Prospect Lake/Lisa Morgan/COB