Vote yes in support of parks

To the Editor:

Public lands play an important role in the development of any community, especially when it comes to public health. As our urban areas continue to expand, our livelihoods and economic resources depend on access to safe, clean areas that provide ample recreational opportunities. Parks are the places people go to, in order to stay healthy and fit. Miami County Parks help fill that role in this area.

As I’m sure we can all agree, we benefit from having public spaces in and around our community. We can take time with our families to go to parks and have picnics, exercise, and view wildlife. These activities help promote healthier lifestyles. According to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, creating, improving, and promoting places to be physically active can improve individual and community health and result in a 25 percent increase of residents who exercise at least three time per week. Additionally, a study by Penn State University showed significant correlations to reductions in stress, lowered blood pressure, and perceived physical health to the length of time spent in parks.

Parks and protected public lands are proven to improve water quality, protect groundwater, prevent flooding, improve the quality of the air we breath, provide vegetative buffers to development, produce habitat for wildlife, and provide a place for children and families to connect with nature and recreate outdoors together. Two trees can provide enough oxygen for one person to breathe over the course of a year, so taking a stroll through the woods is like taking a bath in clean air. There is no better place to do that than in a park.

This is why we must take every step that we can to ensure that our public lands are being managed in the best way possible. That is why we need public entities, like the Miami County Park District, to make sure that our natural resources are the best that they can be.

Running a park district isn’t free, though. Maintaining clean trails, good play structures, and vibrant habitat takes the time and effort of a team of dedicated professionals and volunteers. The Miami County Park District has a levy coming up in the November ballot that will support Miami County Parks for another 10 years. This levy is vital to the continued growth and success of Miami County Parks, and to the health and well-being of our communities.

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund encourages voters in Miami County to vote yes on Issue 3 in support of Miami County Parks. Health and happiness starts in our parks.

— Nathan Johnson

Public Lands Director

OEC Action Fund