Promotion Director, University of North Dakota Health & WellnessGrand Forks, North Dakota
Trees Foster Outdoor Recreation
The prairie city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, is notable for its harsh climate. Not surprisingly, this has led to residents spending a large amount of time indoors. But that is changing thanks to the city's 2,200-acre Greenway, which contains 20 miles of trails and ample tree canopy.
"I see people of all ages enjoying the trees and open space in a variety of ways," says Jane Croeker, an active trail user. This valuable recreation resource began as a flood-control project following the high water of 1997.
But officials in the City of Grand Forks and other local agencies quickly developed a broader vision that included outdoor recreation and open space. An integral part of the development was an inventory of trees, followed by a planting program that continues today with funding from the area's utility provider, the Grand Forks Park District, donations and memorial trees.
Were it not for the combined support of local officials, this critical public resource would not be transforming lives and public health. "Over the last several years it has become obvious that the trees are helping people make healthy lifestyle choices," Jane says.