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Park Survey In Winn. Co. Iowa


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Park Survey In Winn. Co. Iowa

  1. 1. Park Survey in Winneshiek Co., Iowa Luther College December 2008 Psychology of Health and Illness Ross Jacobucci, Blake Shaffer, Reid Wilson & Maria WooChing Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the likelihood of a park’s usage and to see if there was a relationship between a parks quality and its location. Nineteen parks located within Winneshiek County were surveyed and park inventories based on guidelines set by the NE IA Food & Fitness Initiative were completed. Procedure Over the course of two days seven parks were visited and photographed. This was photographic data which would be used later. An Outdoor Recreation & Activity Inventory Form was also filled out for each park. Surveys were handed out in Oneota Market, and participants were asked to rank in order of importance twelve categories; Field Space, Play Equipment, Picnic Table, Trash, Bathrooms, Benches, Shelters, Sidewalk, Water Feature, Bike Rack, Campground, Sign with hours. Nineteen parks were analyzed using a point system developed using the responses to the survey. The location of the parks were then examined to see if there was a relationship between how populated the location was compared to the rank and quality of the park. And then plotted on a Google Map. Results Conclusions References Cohen, Deborah A. &quot;Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity.&quot; American Journal of Public Health 97 (2007): 509-14. (2008). Google Maps . Retrieved December 6, 2008, from Google site:,+Iowa&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl Henderson-Wilson, Dr. Claire et.all. (2008).The health benefits of contact with nature in a park context. Healthy Parks, Healthy People . 2, 1 Ho, Ching-Hua. &quot;Parks, recreation and public health: parks and recreation improve the physical and mental health of our nation.&quot; BBNET. Apr. 2003. CBS Interactive Inc. 24 Nov. 2008 <>. Psychology of Health and Illness Notes. 13 Nov. 2008. Schwarzenegger, Arnold. et al. &quot;The Health and Social Benefits of Recreation State of California Resources Agency An Element of the California Outdoor Recreation Planning Program.&quot; Mar. 2005. California State Parks. 3 Dec. 2008 <>. Wiemerslage, Teresa. &quot;Food and Fitness Initiative.&quot; Personal interview and park papers. 3 Dec. 2008. In Winneshiek County there are a significant amount of parks that are within a reasonable distance of most people. This is a very important factor that will influence people to exercise. A study called Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity found that people who exercise do so in a park. It was found that there is a positive correlation that people use parks that are closest to them (Cohen, 513). In looking at the results, it is interesting to note that the top two rated features, field space and play equipment, are the two park features that are used primarily for exercising. This tells us that exercising could be a factor in people’s decision to frequent parks. Most of Winneshiek’s parks are accessible and do have an area for recreational activity. There is room for improvement at the parks, as not every park has it all. However, the parks are helping lead to healthier lifestyles as people can use them for recreation, socialization and exercise. Figure 2: Picture of the Google Map representation of the Parks in Winneshiek County . Figure 4: The Smallest Church Park, Festina Figure 5: A shelter and picnic tables at Riverside Park, Spillville. Riverside Park was the second highest rated park in this study Table 1: Score out of 78 in which each park rated Figure 3: Baseball field at Silver Springs Park, Ossian. Field Space was rated highest in importance of features in a park. Table 2: Winneshiek County parks and what they contain. Figure 8: Playground equipment. At Phelps Park, Decorah. Playground equipment ranked second in what people feel is important to have in a park. Introduction A park is, “an area of land, usually in a largely natural state, for the enjoyment of the public, having facilities for rest and recreation, often owned, set apart, and managed by a city, state, or nation.” What makes one park better than the other? Also, why do some parks always seem to be busy with life, as others are seldom used? The point here is to find out what people look for in a park and base that for the appropriation of space and utilities. According to recent research, parks can reduce crime, foster psychological well-being, reduce stress, boost immunity, enhance productivity, and promote healing (Henderson-Wilson, 2008). Parks also serve as a place to exercise. In some communities, especially in NE Iowa as compared to denser populated regions, residents do not have easy access to a gym or workout facility. The procedure was designed to see if the parks in Winneshiek County were accessible and had features that encouraged an active visit to the park. There are many parks in Winneshiek County that are great places to go. From the 141 respondents that took the survey, following park features were ranked from highest priority to lowest, field space, play equipment, picnic tables, trash, bathrooms, benches, shelters, sidewalk, water feature, bike rack, campground, and sign with hours. The most populated place in Winneshiek County is Decorah so it was very pleasing to find that Decorah was home to 11 of the parks in the study. Some of the places that were smaller in population actually contained parks that were rated high like Riverside Park in Spillville. However there were some places that only had one park and it did not rate as high on the system. Festina only contains the Smallest Church Park would be an example of this. Figure 6: Wold Park, Decorah 36 Calmar Pool Park 42 Silver Springs Park 41 Calmar Lions Park 43 Frankville Park 42 Wold Park 29 Smallest Church Park 20 Chattahoochie park 69 Riverside Park 55 Carl Selland Wayside Park 22 Chimney Rock Park 46 Mary Christopher Park 51 Kendallville Park 59 Miller Park 19 Twin Springs Park 59 Nordhem park 31 Merlin Moe Park 38 Palisades Park 31 Dunnings Spring Park 76 Phelps Park Score Park Score Park