Guest Post: Johnnie Chamberlin – Support Open Space Policy Initiative!

n1314732_34708624_5356990If some brilliant scientist came up with a drug that gave users stronger bones, healthier hearts, and more effective minds while helping prevent diabetes and obesity, they’d probably soon be a very rich brilliant scientist. Well, start mailing me checks folks, ‘cause I’ve discovered the ancient secret of “open spaces” and this article is an advertisement for this miracle product.

One drawback to trying to sell this amazing product is that you can find it for free all over the place.

Central Arkansas is home to dozens of parks and other open spaces ranging in size from one acre to thousands of acres. In addition to housing numerous basketball and tennis courts, as well as fields used for baseball, softball, kickball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, etc, these open-spaces contain hundreds of miles of trails and floatable creeks.

These trails vary widely in difficulty and offer enjoyable outdoor recreation opportunities for people of all different fitness levels.

The health benefits I mentioned earlier result when people make use of these trails or ball fields.

While most of you are likely aware of the cardiovascular and weight benefits of walking, jogging, hiking, and biking, you may not know that spending time outdoors can help build stronger bones and immune systems by boosting vitamin D production. Participating in outdoor activities may even help prevent or alleviate attention deficit disorder in kids. Open spaces filled with trees and other plants also provide valuable air and water cleansing services for surrounding communities.

With all these benefits to society, you’d think we’d be surrounded by open space everywhere we go, but this isn’t the case. Most of the parks in Little Rock are disconnected little specks in a sea of developments. Public parks in the rapidly growing western part of town are few and far between.

However, this could change if Little Rock passes and follows the Open Space Policy Initiative that is currently under consideration. This open space policy and the city parks master plan call for improving and expanding our city’s green spaces and the public’s access to these spaces.

The plans envision a network of open spaces connected by bike and pedestrian trails that would offer people new, healthier, and less polluting transportation options for getting around town.

Imagine being able to walk or bike to work without having to breathe toxic exhaust and dodge speeding cars. Imagine being surrounded by trees, flowers, and the sounds of nature during your commute instead of angry drivers and the sounds of rush hour.

Imagine spending nothing on gas and no longer needing to go to the gym after work for exercise.

If these things sound good to you, why not let your city directors know? E-mail or call the mayor and the city board of directors and tell them that you support the Open Space Policy Initiative and would like to have more open space, more trails, cleaner creeks, and cleaner air.

You can find out more about the Open Space Initiative at: www.littlerock.org/parksrecreation/blog/.

Check out www.fourchecreek.org for more information on local floating opportunities and environmental issues.

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3 responses to “Guest Post: Johnnie Chamberlin – Support Open Space Policy Initiative!

  1. Leah Hennings

    Great Post! We have the Little Rock trails book, and love it. Green space should be one of the first priorities in any city plan.

  2. Ditto!

    What’s that on your shoulder, by the way?

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