Healthy Communities Through Recreation

Thursday, 10/1 from 12-4pm EST


Why is this topic essential to the future of the outdoor economy?

Healthcare spending continues to rapidly grow in the U.S., with expenditures at $3.6 trillion in 2018, or 17.7% of the US GDP. Meanwhile evidence continues to mount that access to outdoor recreation is essential for health of all kinds – physical, mental, and emotional – at both the individual and community level. Our outdoor economy and the outdoor infrastructure that it relies on are tied to the health and well-being of our communities.

By empowering outdoor recreation and public health leaders to work together, we can increase investments in outdoor infrastructure and grow equitable outdoor access to improve social determinants of health and boost our economy at the same time.


In this workshop, you’ll learn:

  • What peer-reviewed data and studies are available to clearly demonstrate the public health impacts of outdoor recreation
  • How you can engage in public health planning processes to ensure that outdoor recreation is considered and prioritized within public health planning and program development
  • What public health funders are looking for in outdoor infrastructure planning and development projects
  • Tools and tactics to break down barriers to access and increase public health in your community while supporting a more vibrant and healthy outdoor economy


  • Working Group Members

    Each one of our workshops has been developed and led by a working group of leading thinkers and doers in its specific field. Working group members for this track include:

    Anupama Joshi: Blue Sky Funders Forum

    Stacey Hughes: Dogwood Health Trust

    Kimberly Williams: Equinox Environmental

    Kimberly Price: Graduate Center at Lenior Rhyne University

    Sandi Rice: Mountain BizWorks

    Michelle Wells: NC Recreation & Parks Association

    Sarah Thompson: Southwestern Commission

    Andy Coburn: Western Carolina University

    Jennifer Billstrom: Velo Girl Rides