Minnesota state parks and trails and HealthPartners celebrate new ‘park prescription’ partnership

Following a growing national trend, physicians at some Twin Cities HealthPartners hospitals and clinics are encouraging their patients to get active at Minnesota state parks and trails. 

They’re prescribing a healthy dose of kayaking, archery, fishing, geocaching, hiking, biking, and more at a special event on Saturday, Oct. 7, at William O’Brien State Park, about 20 minutes north of Stillwater via Highway 95.

The event celebrates a new pilot partnership between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the local health care provider.

“William O’Brien State Park is excited to host this event with HealthPartners,” said Park Manager Wayne Boerner. “We hope this will show people that you don’t always have to hop on the treadmill or drive your kids to practice to be healthy. You can simply take a walk in the woods together.”

Since early September, physicians at HealthPartners hospitals and clinics within the St. Croix River Valley have been giving out “PowerUp in the Parks” guides to families at well-child visits, reminding families that parks and trails are fun and affordable destinations to get healthy and be happy.

“For kids and families, playing outdoors benefits body and the brain. That is why we are excited to be partnering with Minnesota state parks and trails to bring the PowerUp in the Parks prescription to our HealthPartners clinics in the St. Croix Valley,” said Marna Canterbury, director of community health for HealthPartners. “It makes an impact on kids when their medical provider talks to them about how important and fun it is to get outside and play.”

Activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the day-use area near Lake Alice, and free transportation will be provided. One bus will depart from Stillwater Medical Group (Stillwater Campus) at 9:30 a.m. and return by 1:30 p.m. A second bus will depart from Amery High School (North Lot) at 9 a.m. and return by 2 p.m. Bus riders receive free park entry. Park entry fees ($7/day or $35/year) still apply to attendees not riding the bus.

Event registration is recommended. Find more event details and the registration form at www.powerup4kids.org/parks.

Minnesota is among the first states in the country to launch a park prescription project. Learn more at www.parkrx.org.

If patients and families respond well to this pilot, the DNR hopes to take the partnership statewide or build additional partnerships to help the state become healthier.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).


About Minnesota state parks and trails
Minnesota state parks and trails is a statewide outdoor recreation system that includes 75 state parks and recreation areas, more than 1,300 miles of state trails, countless water recreation opportunities, and much more. Visit www.mndnr.gov to learn more.

About PowerUp
PowerUp and BearPower are community-wide youth health initiatives that work to make it easy, fun and popular to eat better and move more, so that youth can reach their full potential.  It is supported by a designated fund of the Lakeview Health Foundation in partnership with HealthPartners. It operates across the St. Croix Valley in the region served by the area HealthPartners hospitals and clinics (Amery Hospital & Clinic, Hudson Hospital & Clinic, Lakeview Hospital, Stillwater Medical Group and Westfields Hospital & Clinic).