Report lists barriers to spending time with children outdoors

Time, cost and safety concerns rank among the barriers Mesa County residents say prevent them from spending more time outdoors with their children.

The Mesa County Health Department, Colorado Mesa University and Great Outdoors Colorado detailed those factors and others in a report titled “Pathways to Nature.”

The project used data from surveys, focus groups and community meetings to determine ways to improve outdoor access  to youth in the community. The project was funded by Great Outdoors Colorado, which uses lottery proceeds to fund parks, trails and open spaces in the state.

Residents cited a number of factors they said keep them from going outdoors with their children:

Both low- and high-income residents as well as single parents said they struggle to find time to get their children outdoors.

The cost — including equipment purchases, transportation and park fees — places a strain on low-income residents.

Residents who said they rely on public transportation said getting to outdoor recreation areas is difficult.

Some residents reported concerns with the safety of local parks, school yards and playgrounds.

Residents with small children said facilities lacking bathrooms or sinks keep them from visiting some recreational areas in Mesa County.

The full report includes demographic breakdowns, gaps and barriers in the community and recommendations that could be used in future projects.

The report is available online at the Mesa County Health Department Web site at www.health.mesacounty.us.