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Photo courtesy of San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks

Last Saturday was National Trails Day and thousands of sites across the United States celebrated the holiday by hiking, maintaining, and enjoying the wonder that trails bring.

Last Saturday was also a holiday for Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area; it was the third anniversary of the First Saturdays program. All around the Bay Area, park agencies have been hosting First Saturdays programs for community members since 2013.

Since the programs started in June 2013, the First Saturdays programs has helped thousands of residents explore and enjoy the outdoors through free, introductory, and welcoming activities led by trained parks staff or docents.

Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area Collaborative member agencies have been hosting these First Saturday programs to help people take care of their health by incorporating active recreation and nature interpretation into their lives. These member agencies and especially the program leaders want to improve the health and wellbeing of all Bay Area residents, especially those with high health needs, through regular use and enjoyment of parks and public lands.

As First Saturdays matures and grows as a regional effort, let’s celebrate the role that the program leaders have in introducing our communities to trails. Sometimes, the trails begin in a park, sometimes a recreation center, or sometimes, they start in the middle of an urban environment. In every instance, though, the trail that the First Saturdays program leaders takes us on is a pathway to better health.

Find a First Saturday program near you by visiting hphpbayarea.org

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