Bellingham Celebrates National ParkRx Day

National Park Rx Day

Sunday, April 29th

Local Celebration at Fairhaven Park

10:00 am at the Upper Shelter

A variety of guided walks in the Fairhaven Park Woods:

Exploration, Mindfulness and Forest Bathing

$10 Suggested donation



Partnering with doctors and other healthcare providers to prescribe time outdoors, Parkscriptions connects patients with positive outdoor experiences for healthier lifestyles and improved mental and physical health.

Recreation Northwest and the City of Bellingham are celebrating their Parkscriptions partnership with a variety of guided walks in Fairhaven Park for National Park Rx Day.

The Parkscriptions pilot program was launched July – October, 2017 with five healthcare providers who made 121 prescriptions for time outdoors. The pilot continues to grow and more than 40 healthcare providers from a variety of fields will participate this summer.

The City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department supports Parkscriptions by providing park data for the and will be launching a series of guided walks in 2019. These walks will introduce patients to various city parks.

Additional Parkscriptions partners include Family Care Network, Whatcom County Health Department, National Park Service RTCA, Chuckanut Health Foundation and Park Rx America.

There is a growing consensus that nature has many health benefits, from increased physical activity to mental, emotional, and community health benefits.

  • Nature exposure has demonstrated benefits for general wellbeing as well as for specific outcomes including anxiety and depression, as well as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Being outdoors is proven to help a wide range of physical health issues, including increasing physical activity in children, increasing vitamin D in people of all ages, and decreasing blood sugar for diabetics.
  • Public parks and green open spaces have social, economic, and environmental benefits for our surrounding communities.


National ParkRx Day:

National ParkRx Day is a day celebrated across the United States to promote the growing movement of prescribing parks and nature to patients to improve human health. Additionally, National ParkRx Day encourages everyone to start seeing visits to parks and public lands as very important parts of their health.

Walk Descriptions:
Please dress for the weather and possible mud.
Kids of all ages are welcome.
For this event, please leave your dogs at home.
Please read the walk descriptions for specific instructions.


Awake in the Wild- A Mindfulness Walk with Rene Laventure

Mindfulness is a way of being in the world, of paying attention to our present moment awareness in an open, curious and accepting way. To be mindful in nature is to take time to smell the apple blossoms, tune into bird song, feel the earth beneath our feet, the wind on our faces and take in the beauty and fragility of spring wildflowers.
Come and join others on a mindful walk on the trails of Fairhaven Park (formerly the 100 Acre Woods). We will take time for stillness, engage in practices for opening ourselves and our senses to the natural world and consequently connect more fully with all of nature and with ourselves.
Please bring water, a notebook and a small pad to sit on.

Forest Bathing with Carolyn Watson
Learn the basic theory and practice of Japanese Forest Bathing as we walk through the 100 Acre Wood in Fairhaven Park. In Japan, therapy walking routes are constructed around groves of Japanese cedar and Hinoki cypress trees, which emit chemicals shown in multiple studies to reduce cortisol and other markers of stress within the body. In the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to have cedar trees filling the air with the same compounds. The pace of our walk will be leisurely, with particular emphasis on  breathing. Since we will stopping from time to time near stands of cedar trees to take in the benefits of the surrounding air, dressing in layers is advised. 


Exploring the trails of the Fairhaven Park Forest with Todd Elsworth

There is a labyrinth of trails that wind throughout the woods, just south of Fairhaven Park. Join a guided tour to be introduced to the main trails that will lead you to connections on the Interurban, near Hoag’s Pond and Chuckanut Drive. The leisurely walk is 2.5 miles round trip and has a few slight inclines to walk up and down.


More Information:
April Claxton, co-Executive Director, Recreation Northwest

Recreation Northwest: We promote outdoor recreation and bring people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. Additional programs and events include: Bellingham Traverse, Recreation Northwest EXPO, Fairhaven Park Stewardship.

April is co-founder and co-Executive Director for Recreation Northwest. She has a passion for place and loves exploring, experiencing and sharing the beauty of the pacific northwest.


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