Healthy Parks Plan

Welcome to the Texas Healthy Parks Plan project website. The Texas Healthy Parks Plan is a joint effort by the Trust for Public Land, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Department of State Health Services to identify communities within the State of Texas for strategic park and trail projects that will do the most to improve community health and increase access to parks.  

     Local parks and trails provide enormous community health benefits. Use of nearby parks and trails has mental, social, and physical benefits including lower stress, lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases, and increased sense of overall well-being. Parks and trails can also be drivers for economic opportunity and community cohesion. 

     This website has several links that provide information and tools to help urban and rural communities better understand how their community compares to others across Texas in their access to nearby parks and green spaces.  

  • The story map is the best place to start to better understand how this project evaluates communities, learn how communities were ranked and how the tools can be used to promote park and green space conservation in urban and rural communities. By scrolling through the story map frames, users will learn about the connection of park access and both improved physical and mental health. The story map walks the user through the process used to score each of the municipalities across Texas and provides use cases that demonstrate how park practitioners can use the Decision Support Tool website to locate where new parks can best serve their community.  
  • The Decision Support Tool provides access to all the data used in the community analysis. From this website, community reports can be produced that detail how the community scored in each of the categories. These reports can be used to submit proposals for new park development projects to funding programs such as the TPWD Recreation Grants Local Parks Grant Program by demonstrating the level of need found in that community. The Decision Support Tool has many tools available to help identify where the greatest need is between communities, and where the gaps in access are within communities. The tools allow users to query communities to find those that received specific scores and create their own new potential park and learn about who will have access to it within the community.   
  • The Decision Support Tool user guide is a document that provides step by step instructions on how to use the tools and access the data found on the Decision Support Tool website. 
  • The PDF Map Gallery provides access to pdfs showing how communities across Texas ranked in each of the 4 categories used to identify the highest-ranking communities in need of park investment. These include the existence of high levels of poor physical and mental health, social vulnerability, lack of existing park access to local and destination parks and the potential to be impacted by poor environmental conditions. 
  • The Data Description Table link allows the user to download an excel table which contains tabs that describe the methodology used to create the community rankings for each of the 4 categories and the data sources used, as well as a description of each dataset found on the Decision Support Tool website, and a tab that describes the range of values for each category that can be used when building a community query on the Decision Support Tool website. 
  • The Parks and Health Case Study is a pdf report produced by the Trust for Public Land provides examples of how health professionals and parks departments in Houston and Cameron County are working together to provide better health outcomes in their communities.