I recently read Natural Connections, the Award Winning Outdoor Recreation Plan for Pennsylvania, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of parallels between what it suggests and what we already offer at Asbury Woods. As a 205 acre green space in the middle of the highly developed community of Millcreek, Asbury Woods is one of the largest local parks in the area. The population of Millcreek Township has increased by 14.5 percent since 1990 and, as a result housing has become denser, and significant commercial development has dramatically decreased our open spaces. Numerous studies have shown that proximity to open space promotes public health and increases property values.
According to the plan, outdoor recreation is key to helping address some of today’s pressing health care issues, including our youth who are struggling with childhood obesity as a result of living sedentary lifestyles. Some of the trends we are seeing with children are alarming with a recent study showing children spend 7-8 hours a day staring at a screen (i.e. TV, computer, tablet, etc.). Many pediatricians believe this has led to an increase in obesity rates over the last 20 years with 6-11 year olds doubling to 17% and 12-19 year olds tripling to 17.6%. The plan does, however, provide a solution and states that an increased focus on recreation can lessen obesity and chronic disease crisis.
According to the plan, local parks and recreation areas are perhaps our most valued recreational resources. As an existing park, preserving Asbury Woods is consistent with the plan’s highest priority of maintaining existing park and recreation areas. We offer free close-to home recreational opportunities that are highly prized by our community. According to the plan, we offer 3 of the top 5 most popular outdoor recreation activities for Pennsylvanians (walking, picnicking, and swimming) and 3 out of the 4 most popular activities done on roads and trails (dog walking, bicycling, and walking).
Finally, the plan states that walking is still the most popular activity for Pennsylvanians, and Asbury Woods is a beloved place for residents to take a simple, relaxing stroll in the midst of their hectic lives. The 4.5 miles of trails allow each visitor to create a unique and meaningful experience each time they visit. While other communities across our state struggle to find ways to establish green spaces to try and accomplish what we have here in Millcreek, isn’t it nice to know we live in an area where simply taking a walk with our family is still free and easy to do right in our own backyard.
From the Woods,