Healthy Parks Healthy People Bay Area

Healthy Parks Healthy People Bay Area Logo

HPHP Bay Area - Public Service Announcement


Healthy Parks Healthy People Bay Area (HPHP Bay Area) was conceived in 2012 by the Institute at the Golden Gate in partnership with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) and Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) to mobilize local organizations in the parks and medical communities to join the movement to connect parks and health.

The goal of this collective impact collaborative is to coordinate programmatic efforts and raise awareness through public education about the symbiotic value of health and parks.  Additionally, as the San Francisco Bay is widely seen as the incubator for innovation and trends, park and healthcare providers hope that this regional initiative can be a catalyst for broad policy change that advances the adoption of measureable recreational models to support the delivery of healthcare to reduce obesity and chronic disease particularly in children.
The HPHP Bay Area coalition comprises agencies representing residents throughout the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area region.

Early Supporters and Guiding Principles

Not long after the National Park Service generated its Strategic Action Plan for Healthy Parks Healthy People U.S., staff from the Institute at Golden Gate met with executives from EBRPD and GGNRA to establish a core HPHP Bay Area founding team.   These three entities agreed to share the responsibility for initial development of the coalition concept.  To support the initiative, the Institute recruited an MBA candidate from the University of Michigan to research other successful efforts from around the country. This research yielded guiding principle models for a successful coalition, some proven strategies for collective decision-making and implementation, and several possible governing structures.
From the beginning, the founding HPHP Bay Area partners agreed that the effort would require equal participation from parks, health, and community leaders in order to achieve the maximum amount of success.  They also believed that leveraging the efforts of a Bay Area-wide coalition, rather than acting alone, would both widen the reach and deepen the programs’ impacts on the health and wellbeing of the Bay region.

In June 2012, East Bay Regional Park District, the Institute at the Golden Gate, and Golden Gate National Recreation Area held an invitational session to recruit a steering group to lead the formation of HPHP Bay Area.  Thirty-four representatives from 16 Bay Area organizations attended, including doctors, public health workers, researchers, and parks professionals. Participants discussed their current activities in outreach to high health need communities and identified areas that would benefit most from multi-organizational collaboration. These priority areas included:

  • Developing culturally appropriate messaging for those potential park users who could most benefit from HPHP programming.
  • Communicating the value of parks and public space for healthy people and healthy communities.
  • Identifying and measuring concrete outcomes for parks and health programs.
  • Leveraging this work into a coordinated regional effort to better attract funding and create structural changes such as transportation and access, which are critical to the people/parks/health connection.

A group of 11 leaders continued to meet monthly from July 2012 to clarify the vision and coalesce around common goals. In a continued effort to represent and reflect the Bay Area communities served by the coalition agencies, the leadership group has grown to represent 29 organizations representing nine Bay Area counties. These contributing partners have set short-term and long-term benchmarks for the coalition through a collaborative process. From existing resources alone, the partners have pulled together a strong suite of programs that have the potential to reach 7.1 million residents and improve throughout the San Francisco Bay region.

Cooperating Agencies in HPHP Bay Area

A Memorandum of Understanding was crafted in 2013 to establish a general framework for the cooperative relationship of HPHP Bay Area lead organizations representing parks and open space, healthcare and public health and educational institutions.  The 29 cooperating agencies involved are as follows:  

Public Parks and Open Space Agencies

Bay Area Open Space Council
California State Parks
Crissy Field Center, NPS
US Fish &Wildlife Service, Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge
East Bay Regional Park District
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Institute at the Golden Gate
Marin County Parks
Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District
Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District
National Park Service
Point Reyes National Seashore
San Francisco Bay Trail Project
San Francisco Parks Alliance
San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority
Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation
Solano County Parks and Recreation Division
Sonoma County Agriculture Preservation and Open Space District
U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region

Health Organizations or Providers

Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, CHRCO
Network for a Healthy California, NHC
San Francisco Department of Public Health, SFDPH
Solano County Department of Health and Social Services, SCDHSS

Educational Institutions

SF State University, Department of Recreation, Parks, & Tourism

Community Service Organizations

Point Bonita YMCA, a branch of the YMCA of San Francisco

Other Supporters

Point Reyes National Seashore Association
URS Corporation

Anticipated Outcomes of HPHP Bay Area

Short-Term Goals

  • Promote healthy outdoor exercise through partnerships with public health hospitals, clinics, and other community facilities;
  • Develop and implement long-term goals for HPHP Bay Area. Develop and implement a regional effort to improve the health of participating Bay Area residents;
  • Increase access and utilization of parks by people and communities that are historically under-represented and/or suffering from high risk of chronic disease;
  • Develop joint projects, programs or events that foster public awareness and behavioral changes to increase physical activity. Where appropriate focus on the needs of urban and under-served populations especially children and high risk adults;
  • Ensure that park facilities and programs actively encourage connection with nature through programs which promote physical activity,  social connection, and overall wellness;
  • Use traditional and social media to communicate public park locations, transportation alternatives, and the healthful recreational opportunities available;
  • Develop new and/or strengthen existing governmental or agency policies relative to parks and health and involve coalitions at community, State, regional, and/or local levels to gain approval;
  • Promote volunteerism in Bay Area parks and open spaces as an organized, healthful outdoor activity;
  • Advocate direct transportation routes to parks and trails as well as funding programs to support projects which promote walking, bicycling, recreational trails, and recreational boating;
  • Engage new agencies and organizations, both public or private, in the projects, activities, policies, or funding efforts being mutually accomplished by the cooperating agencies of this MOU.

Long Term Goals

  • Health and community partners have a clearly defined connection with public lands to promote health and well-being.
  • Health and community partners can recommend specific outdoor programs that are welcoming to new users as well as being sustainable and culturally appropriate.
  • Bay Area public lands agencies better support each other in their goals to serve high health needs communities by forming a community of practice that creates evidence-based strategies and programs.
  • Bay Area residents are increasingly aware of public lands resources in their community and value those places for maintaining their health.

Programming throughout the Bay Area - 2016

All HPHP Bay Area park agencies have agreed to host programs and monthly activities on the first Saturdays each month to provide safe, low-impact physical activity dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all Bay Area residents.

June 2016 - Healthy Parks Healthy People Month!

Beyond The Beach: Contra Loma Past & Present

Contra Loma Regional Park
Sat, June 21, 2016 - 11am-3pm
Celebrate generations of summer fun at Contra Loma! Discover opportunities for outdoor play and good health. Join a naturalist-led walk. See historic park photos. Meet near the swim lagoon. Info: (510) 544-2750.


 Festive Farmyard Food & Fun! 
Ardenwood Historic Farm
Sun, Jun 22, 2016 - 10:30am-3pm
Get outdoors for a day filled with fresh air and healthy farm fun! We’ll find tasty treats in the heirloom garden and discover the secrets for growing fresh vegetables at home. Bring a picnic and relax on the lawn, then get your heart racing with some old-fashioned games. Discover the Country Kitchen’s “special of the day” then hop aboard our wagon and lend a hand harvesting our oat hay crop. 


Ease Into The Night 
Sunol Regional Wilderness 
Sat, Jun 28, 2016 - 8-10pm 
On this gentle one-mile stroll we’ll take a break to explore starry sights and stories of the friendly nighttime heavens.
Registration is required.  


 Find Fearless Fun In Your East Bay Regional Parks! 
Sunol Regional Wilderness 
Sun, Jun 29, 2016 - 10am-2pm
Learn to stay safe and healthy in our parks as we explore along the trails at Sunol. Begin at 10am with an easy stroll along a tree-lined canyon. Drop in and experience fun-filled creek activities around the visitor center.


Healthy Day By The Bay! 
Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline
Tidewater Boating Center 
Sun, June 1, 2016 - 9am-4pm
Enjoy a FREE peek into biking, hiking, and canoeing ventures (1st-come, 1st served; equipment provided). Meet a llama! Activities include arts & crafts, field games, camping gear demos. Enjoy views of San Leandro Bay and the quiet call of birds, and the inspiration to get healthy and active outdoors.
Download: Program Flyer


 Annual Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest 
Crab Cove Visitor Center
Sat, June 7, 2016 - 9am-1pm
Get active and create a unique work of art or admire others’ creations. Register at 9am for this FREE program with viewing and judging at noon. Award presentation: 1pm. Categories include castles and sculptures by youth, families, and adults. The event is cosponsored by the East Bay Regional Park District, Alameda Recreation & Parks, and the Bay View Women’s Club. Stop by our information table to learn about the District’s 80th Anniversary and our Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative!



 Healthy Parks Healthy People Hike 
Coyote Hills Regional Park
Sat, Jun 7, 2016 - 1-2:30pm 
It’s a fact: Regular use and enjoyment of your local parks can improve your health. Join us for an all-inclusive hike and let parks help make your life better! 12+yrs. Info: (510) 544-3220.



 Delta Livin’ and Family Campfire 
Big Break Regional Shoreline 
Sun, June 8, 2016 - 4-8pm
Explore the best of our Delta home. Games, activities, and nature walks will start the evening’s fun. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy our first campfire of the year (s’mores included!). 


15Th Annual Butterfly & Bird Festival
Coyote Hills Regional Park 
Sun, June 8, 2016 - 10am-3:30pm 
Today is dedicated to increasing the numbers and species of butterflies and birds in Bay Area landscapes. Spend a day of adventure and learning, enjoy garden tours, family hands-on activities, educational speakers, photo presentations and music. Learn how to bring your backyard to life by creating wildlife-friendly habitats!


 Passport To History: Celebrating 80 Years 
Tilden Nature Area 
Sat, June 14, 2016 - 11am-3pm
In 1934, citizens of the East Bay voted to preserve open space. Celebrate with a day of music, games and fun at the park where it all began. Meet a pig, a goat, or a chicken. Crank and enjoy some ice cream, then “stroll it off” with the Passport to History walk to beautiful Jewel Lake!



 Passport To History: Celebrating 80 Years 
Tilden Nature Area 
Sat, June 14, 2016 - 11am-3pm
In 1934, citizens of the East Bay voted to preserve open space. Celebrate with a day of music, games and fun at the park where it all began. Meet a pig, a goat, or a chicken. Crank and enjoy some ice cream, then “stroll it off” with the Passport to History walk to beautiful Jewel Lake!



 Daddylong Legs And Other Bug Moms And Pops 
Sunol Regional Wilderness 
Sun, June 15, 2016 - 1-3pm 
Bring dad or mom to help look for harvestmen, water striders, and other beasts with long, thin creepy-crawly legs. Be prepared for wet! 


Sign up for Monthly e-Newsletter Updates