We’ve opened three new TRACK Trails for “app-happy” kids at County Parks. Over six miles of interactive education have been routed through San Dieguito County Park and Lake Morena County Park – adding to an existing trail network that includes San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, Louis A. Stelzer County Park and Lindo Lake County Park.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday, August 26 at San Dieguito County Park. Nearly 50 people attended the event which included a junior ranger pledge and inaugural treks on the park’s upper and lower TRACK Trails. Watch the video.
The TRACK Trails program rewards kids for spending time outdoors – both with new experiences and with nature-related gifts.
Kids can earn “Trail TRACKer Gear” for registering their adventures in an online nature journal, and for reaching certain milestones. There are six prizes in all including items like magnifying lenses and backpacks, designed to enhance their outdoor experiences.
Research tells us that kids spend an average of 7.65 hours per day “plugged in” – and only 7 minutes per day in unstructured outdoor play. This limited time outdoors can pose negative complications; according to Kids in Parks organizers, increased physical activity has the potential to decrease issues like obesity, diabetes, ADHD and other physical and mental.
The Kids in Parks vision and ultimately, the TRACK Trails program, grew out of a desire to turn this trend on its head; using on-screen technology to get kids to head outside. Today the program spans more than 130 locations, with activities in seven states, Washington DC and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.
“Kids are connected today more than ever,” said Brian Albright. “We see this is an opportunity to speak with them in a new and exciting way, and to let them see for themselves everything County Parks has to offer.”
There are now nearly 10 miles of TRACK Trails within County Parks. In addition to the 6.25 miles we opened at San Dieguito, today marks the grand opening of a 1-mile loop at Lake Morena County Park in Campo.
An investment in parks is an investment in public health. Getting people outside, getting people active, and getting families together to recreate finds hand-in-glove with the county’s Live Well San Diego initiative for healthy, safe and thriving communities.