Equity in Parks and Recreation
Parks make life more enjoyable for everyone. In Washington County, the population has become more diverse with people of different ages, races and ethnicities, each with their own recreational needs. Parks, trails, and other open and green spaces are important for creating healthy and vibrant communities. While parks are created for everyone, the reality is that not everyone has equal access to them. Many low-income individuals and families and people of color have limited or no green spaces.
Park equity means expanding park access and recreational opportunity for people of all races, ethnicities, incomes, abilities, and national origins.
Washington County strives for a future where everyone has fair and just access to quality parks and recreation. To build this future, we are focused on:
- Learning from the past, including systematic inequities that have created different lived experiences in residents across the county.
- Strengthening our organizational culture and practices centered around equity.
- Embedding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in how we prepare the park and recreation field for the future.
- Working to dismantle the barriers to equity.
Washington County has partnered with community groups, the Metropolitan Council and SHIP to reduce barriers and increase awareness and outdoor access in Washington County Parks through outdoor recreational programs or outreach events to underrepresented communities, including but not limited to:
- Anyone who identifies as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
- People ages 65 and older.
- Anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA+.
- Anyone who lives with a disability (physical and/or cognitive).
- Low-income individuals and families.
Accessible features at parks
Some accessible features in parks may include: accessible parking, accessible restrooms, inclusive playgrounds, and paved trails. Visit each park location to see a list of features.
Community Outreach Programs
- Kayaking program.
- Learn to ride a bicycle.
- Free family outdoor time.
- Snowshoe program.
- Partnerships with local organizations.
Trails in Washington County Parks identified as short and easy to use, making it more accessible for all people to get out and enjoy a walk.
Posters and flyers for programs available in other languages.
Vehicle Park Pass
Free annual vehicle park pass for eligible individuals or families.