Being Outside – the power of community green spaces

I love to be outside, and I love to be in the mountains. I’m also utility-oriented with a desire to maximize the benefits for any costs, so as result it isn’t always “worthwhile” to do a mountain trip with our two toddlers. If it takes 1+hr to drive there and another 1+ hour to drive back I figure you should have at least 2+ hours of mountain time to make the trip worthwhile (this is my equation, your mileage may vary and I’d love to hear it in the comments).

With toddlers we find this isn’t always possible since ours are still solid nappers and are not yet quick to get going in the morning. With this excellent summer weather we have instead been making the most of our community green spaces. We are fortunate to live in a city where green space is plentiful, available, and often times left wild. These green spaces range in size from the incredibly vast such as Nose Hill Park, Fish Creek Park, and The Weaslehead area to mid-sized areas such as Edworthy, Bowmont right down to the local neighbourhood sized green spaces.

In our case we are fortunate to have a ravine running through the neighbourhood which has been left relatively wild and which provides many excellent opportunities for an urban wilderness experience. As far as the kids are concerned they get the same joy from the local ravine as they do from an early-season trip to Sunshine Meadows, or Kananaskis Lakes. 

The power of these community green spaces is that they can connect us to the outdoors, give us a fleeting glimpse of wilderness, and create a relaxing fun space that is distinctly different from work or home. They help us to find wilderness, explore nature, and experience the world in a way that is different from simply being in our houses, offices, and rec centers. It requires very little effort to take the kids to local green spaces and let them explore along the pathways, through the aspens, and splash in the creek. For them every little bug, flower, stick, and rock is an exciting new discovery.

For me it’s a chance to be outside, in a natural environment, experiencing things through their eyes without the 2 hours of driving. The other great benefit of course is that we can make many small trips to our local green spaces, sometimes two or three times per day. Each visit provides something unique, a chance to discover something new, and another chance to be outside. While I will always advocate for, and do, big mountain trips with the family I think it is good to remember the power that our community green spaces have and their ability to provide wilderness into our everyday lives.

1 Comment

  1. […] their bikes rather than walk. We still explore our neighbourhood and take great advantage of the wonderful green-space that our community has to offer. We regularly walk/ride for thirty minutes with stops to play in […]

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