Doctors In BC Are Now Able To Prescribe A Free Parks Canada Pass To People Who Need A Break

You can also get free admission to some botanical gardens!

Western Canada Editor
Doctors In BC Are Now Able To Prescribe A Free Parks Canada Pass To People Who Need A Break

You can now get a free Parks Canada Discovery Pass prescribed to you by a doctor in B.C., to help with your mental health.

Time in nature can be super healing for people and now doctors are realizing just how important it is, especially if you live in a big city, like Vancouver, where going for a nature walk every day just isn't possible.

If you want to go to a national park for a day, or even a weekend camping trip, it can get pricey. Now with a doctor's prescription though, you can get a free Parks Canada Discovery Pass.

This pass would normally cost $72.25 for adults, so you are saving a good amount of money. It gives you access to over 80 destinations for the year.

In B.C. this includes access to Glacier National Park, Kootenay National Park, Mount Revelstoke National Park, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and Yoho National Park.

How could you not feel amazing, after visiting a place like this?

This is all happening because of a partnership with Park Prescriptions (PaRx) and Parks Canada, to encourage more people to spend time outside.

According to a press release, The B.C. Parks Foundation first launched the program in November 2020, starting with prescribing time in nature.

This has now expanded to doctors and licensed health care professionals being able to add Parks Canada Discovery passes to the doses of nature they prescribe, the release said.

Dr. Melissa Lem, the Director of PaRx, said that there is "a strong body of evidence on the health benefits of nature time, from better immune function and life expectancy to reduced risk of heart disease, depression and anxiety."

With your PaRx prescription from your doctor, you can also get an unlimited free admission at two gardens in Vancouver — the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden and Nitobe Memorial Garden.

Even if you don't live close to a national park, you can still get a simple prescription for spending time in nature. It might seem silly, but the PaRx website said that "studies suggest that written prescriptions are better received than oral advice in motivating patients to make a change."

So just having it written down can help you get outside more.

The website also said that you should be spending about two hours a week in nature, for at least 20 minutes at a time. This is because "the most efficient drop in cortisol happens between the 20-to-30-minute mark."

The program is also in several other provinces and is being rolled out to more places in Canada.

This could be an amazing way of helping people and reducing the price barrier to exploring the stunning nature that B.C. has to offer.

Next time you see your doctor it's worth asking them about the prescription, and you could get a free Parks Canada Discovery Pass sent to you.

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