Culture

Doctors in Canada Can Now Prescribe Patients With Year-Long Passes to National Parks

It could result in a healthier planet alongside physical and mental health benefits.

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Doctors in Canada Can Now Prescribe Patients With Year-Long Passes to National Parks

It could result in a healthier planet alongside physical and mental health benefits.

Healthcare practitioners based in four provinces in Canada are now allowed to prescribe year-long passes to national parks as a way to improve physical and mental health.

Back in November 2020, Parks Canada and Park Prescriptions joined forces to launch a program called Park Prescriptions (PaRx) in British Columbia. Most recently, the initiative rolled out to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Dr. Melissa Lem, the director of Park Prescriptions, expanded on the program’s potential benefits: “There’s a strong body of evidence on the health benefits of nature time, from better immune function and life expectancy to reduced risk of heart disease, depression and anxiety.” She continued: “I’m excited to see those benefits increase through this new collaboration.”

Park Prescriptions has been cited by the World Health Organization as a way to inspire conversation and the restoration of nature, which constitutes the basis of our health. According to Lem, each nature prescription could result in a healthier planet. “Research shows that children and adults who are more connected to nature are not only more likely to work to conserve it, but also engage in other pro-environmental behaviors,” she stated. Participating prescribers of the Parks Canada Pass are also advised to prioritize patients who live close to historic sites, national parks or marine conversation areas.

The pass is currently selling for $72.25 CAD (approximately $56.70 USD) online, which provides unlimited access to the aforementioned areas for one year. The park system is also free for anyone aged 17 and under.

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National Parks Traveller
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