Canadian doctors can now offer patients a one-year national parks pass a prescription for many ailments under a new program launched by the BC Parks Foundation.
The initiative, PaRx, allows medical professionals to prescribe time in Canada’s national parks enjoying nature as a remedy for patients with a variety of complaints.
Until now, the program had allowed doctors to prescribe increments of time in national parks, but an initial run of the year-long pass program has begun in four provinces with an initial limit of 100 passes to be distributed.
In an email to NPR, Prama Rahman, a coordinator for the BC Parks Foundation’s Healthy By Nature Program, said, “Given the growing body of evidence that indicates nature time can improve all kinds of different physical and mental health conditions, we’re hoping that our PaRx program not only improves patient health, but reduces costs to the healthcare system, and helps to grow the number of people who are more engaged environmental advocates.”
“There’s almost no medical condition that nature doesn’t make better,” said physician Dr. Melissa Lem, director of the PaRx initiative. She also hopes the initiative will help protect the planet in some way.
“If you love something, you want to protect it,” Lem said. “I like to think that every time I or one of my colleagues writes a park prescription, we’re also doing our part for the planet.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: MENTALFLOSS.COM