fishing 071421EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) is encouraging residents to take advantage of public parks and natural spaces in celebration of National Park and Recreation Month.

“Parks offer communities a place to gather with friends and family outdoors,” Belt said. “I hope people will take advantage of spending time outside and experiencing the nature around us during Park and Recreation Month.”

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, parks play an important role in maintaining quality of life in a community. Parks provide gathering places for members of a community to interact with each other, host public events and offer recreational programs.

Additionally, parks are a public place where people can go to keep healthy and fit. A Penn State University study showed that the length of visits to parks has a connection with reductions in stress, lowered blood pressure and perceived physical health.

Parks also offer an economic benefit to their communities by raising nearby property values and increasing revenue from tourism. Trees and other growth are also estimated to save cities money in environmental impacts and the effects of storms.

“The Metro East has a wide range of parks and trails available for residents visit,” Belt said. “It’s a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate all nature offers.”

Visit the Metro East Park and Recreation District to find a park near in the area.