Need to get outside? There are 113 options in Buncombe County alone, according to a new map of parks and recreational facilities compiled as part of the Year of the Park project. The newly launched promotional campaign aims to call attention to the area’s many opportunities for getting a little cultural stimulation and fresh air.
Although new projects such as Pack Square Park often generate the most conversation and column inches, Year of the Park is trying to talk up those resources already available. “Sometimes we don’t know about the wonderful things that are right under our nose,” Donna Clark of the Pack Square Conservancy told a crowd of supporters at the Diana Wortham Theatre on April 29.
Clark serves on the steering committee of the Year of the Park project, a collaboration involving local nonprofits, businesses, schools and governmental bodies—“people you may not have thought played together,” as committee member Laura Boosinger put it.
Parks and public spaces, she continued, enhance a community’s physical and mental well-being, increase safety and make the area more attractive. And while much local energy goes into attracting and entertaining tourists, parks, said Boosinger, “are for people who live here.”
Meanwhile, Evergreen Community Charter School has pitched in by creating scavenger hunts, or “quests,” at assorted locations, including the WNC Nature Center and Carrier Park’s interpretive areas.
As representatives of the many groups involved grazed a buffet provided by Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Year of the Park spokesperson Leesa Brandon told Xpress that it’s fitting that so many separate entities have come together for the cause. After all, parks are places for sharing. Or as the project’s slogan puts it: “Everyone loves a park.”
For more information on local parks and upcoming events, go to www.yearofthepark.org.