Tag Archives: urban

Urban Parks: An Important Resource

We often talk about getting away from it all or heading out to the woods. We emphasize raw nature and the importance of communing with it. We focus on the splendor available to us here in the States and, when we think generally of the parks, we envision something remote and out of the way. But there’s plenty of natural beauty to take in, whether you’re in rural Colorado or a bustling California metropolis. Here are a few urban parks we shouldn’t take for granted.

Warner Parks–Nashville, TN

A tree in the fall at Nashville's Warner Parks one of the lovely urban parks

The open space of the steeplechase at Nashville’s Warner Parks. [Image: www.warnerparks.org/]

Green, open spaces are necessary for the health of a city and its inhabitants. This point is well understood in Nashville where the beautiful Warner Parks serve this purpose for the nearly one million visitors they host annually. Edwin and Percy Warner Parks offer many ways for Nashvillians to get outdoors, including golf courses, hiking, and equestrian trails as well as a handsome, natural space for a picnic or escape from the urban hustle of the Music City.

Central Park–New York City, NY

Central Park is a familiar urban park to most of us, whether one happens to reside in New York City or not. With over 37 million visitors annually, the park harbors Strawberry Fields, Pale Male the red-tailed hawk, a zoo with snow leopards, horse-drawn carriage rides, and activities as extensive and diverse as New York is itself. But it’s also a very cultivated natural space with over 25,000 trees and miles of walking, biking, and jogging paths—as well as paths that lead to pretzels. The original plan, dreamed up by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, has been largely maintained since 1857, despite some periods of neglect, and adapted to the realities of serving as the primary green space on the island of Manhattan.

LeFleur’s Bluff State Park–Jackson, MS

LeFleur's Bluff State Park offers a break from the bustle in Jackson. [Image: www.mdwfp.com]

LeFleur’s Bluff State Park offers a break from the bustle in Jackson. [Image: www.mdwfp.com/]

How often does one get to go camping in the heart of a city? At LeFleur’s Bluff State Park—a 305-acre gem located right in the thick of Jackson, Mississippi—you can do just that. Or you can check out the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science if you’re not too busy unwinding with a fishing rod, supervise your kids while they enjoy the 16,000 square foot Kid Zone Playground, try your hand at the disc golf course, launch a kayak when the weather’s right, or enjoy any of the numerous nature trails the park offers. The multi-functionality and proximity to nature in this park makes it an asset to Jackson, and certainly a destination for visitors to the city.

Topanga State Park–Los Angeles, CA

Everything the light touches... is in L.A. [Image: www.wikipedia.org]

Everything the light touches…is in L.A. [Image: www.wikipedia.org/]

Topanga State Park is made up of 11,000 rugged, wild, gorgeous, and minimally-developed acres—all located within the city of Los Angeles. It offers well over 30 miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders along with backpacking and traditional campsites, many spots with picnicking opportunities and scenic mountain views, and a general escape from the metropolitan airs of L.A.—a city notorious for its smog, gridlock, and sprawl. And while the city is implementing its plan to reduce the environmental issues that plague its populace, Topanga State Park continues to prove to be a necessary open area for city dwellers.

Cities in the United States are built upon industry and hustle, and urban parks give the people who live in cities an opportunity to revel in the benefits of nature and open space, even if most of what surrounds them is man-made. Urban parks, like all of the great and protected natural spaces we enjoy, are entirely relevant and important no matter where we live.

OutdoorFest 2015: 10 Days of Adventure in NYC

A panorama of Lower Manhattan as viewed from the Staten Island Ferry. [Image: commons.wikimedia.org]

Image: commons.wikimedia.org

As one of the most iconic cities in the world, New York City has its perks: a breathtaking skyline, an incredible diversity of culture, arts and fashion, and best of all, the ability to eat anything at any time (regardless of how wise it is to do so). It is a city we at ParksByNature Network know and love because we engage with it every day (our offices are based in Manhattan). But living in an urban jungle also has its disadvantages, especially for those who enjoy nature and the outdoors.

So, can urban residents also be outdoor enthusiasts? Fuggedaboutit! (Translation: Of course!)

Which is why we are very excited to tell you about OutdoorFest 2015!

OutdoorFest is a 10-day festival that brings the outdoors to New York City through hiking, biking, fishing, climbing, and other sports and activities. Not only will you have the opportunity to have fun and get active, you will also solidify your personal connection with the natural world.

Whether you’re a New Yorker or a visitor, come join the festivities from May 29 to June 7! There are plenty of activities for people of all ages and abilities.

Spend the first night of OutdoorFest under the stars and go Camping on Staten Island!

Camping on Staten Island

Image: www.outdoorfest.com

Bring your binoculars and your yoga pants for Bronx Birding & Yoga! Both the morning bird walk and the yoga class are FREE!


Image: www.nycaudubon.org

Are you an avid climber or want to try rock climbing for the first time? Go on a Bouldering Tour in Central Park or take a Learn to Climb Clinic!

Rock Climbing in Central Park

Image: www.outdoorfest.com

Do you want to explore the only freshwater river in New York City and make a positive impact on 4th and 5th grade students? Join an outreach program to take kids Canoeing on the Bronx River!

Canoeing on the Bronx River

Image: www.outdoorfest.com

If you prefer biking, take a Guided Bike Tour up the “Old Put”! For intermediate to advanced cycling enthusiasts, Bike over the George Washing Bridge and up along the Hudson River!

The bridge over the Croton Reservoir is a beautiful highlight of the Day Ride on the Old Put

Image: gothambiketours.com

Looking for nature walks?  Explore Inwood Forest, Manhattan’s last natural forest, or hike the Long Path from GWB to the Adirondacks or learn about Obscure Trails accessible via Public Transit!

Inwood Forest

Image: www.outdoorfest.com

For all the anglers out there, unwind and fish on the Hudson River or the East River!

Fishing on the Hudson River

Image: www.outdoorfest.com

There’s so much more! Check the OutdoorFest 2015 schedule to view all available activities.

And once you’ve tasted what NYC has to offer at OutdoorFest 2015, download our FREE Pocket Ranger® New York State Parks App to discover and explore more places in the metro area and beyond!