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Friday Facts: Access to Parks in Fresno County

Friday Facts: Access to Parks in Fresno County

Welcome to Friday Facts! Each week we'll be taking a look at a specific chart from the Data & Resources section of our website. This week we're focusing on access to parks in Fresno County.

One of the great things about California is that throughout the year, the weather is conducive to spending time outside. The abundance of parks, beaches, coastlines, and open spaces in the state allows many of its 37 million residents to be outside and be physically active. However, not everyone in the state has equal access to these open spaces for physical activity.

While often we look at disparities between race and ethnic groups, today’s Friday Facts looks more at disparities by region. In today’s table, you can see that just over half of the people in Fresno County live within walking distance (a half mile) of a park or other open space. For comparison, roughly 70% of Los Angeles County residents can easily walk to a park. In Alameda County, that number increases to over 90%.

Obviously population density in Los Angeles and the Bay Area has a lot to do with those higher rates, but the need for more accessible open spaces in the Central Valley is noteworthy. We discussed the importance of parks in our Landscape of Opportunity report:

“The more safe places – green space, parks, and playgrounds – that are available to us, the more likely we are to be physically active. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of early death from heart disease, high blood pressure, some cancers, mental health conditions, and diabetes.”

We also offered a number of recommendations for improving access to open spaces for physical activity, including. One suggestion was to equip school districts with the tools they need to provide community access to school grounds and facilities. And we also urged state agencies to work together to incorporate health into planning for housing, school siting, land use, and transportation to enhance opportunities to create accessible green space around homes, schools, and transit.

With a concerted effort to create more parks and open spaces, we can make sure that everyone, including those in the Central Valley, can have places to go out and enjoy the sunshine.

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