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Self Management Assessment and Resource Tool (S.M.A.R.T.)

EPA National Community Recognition Program - Question 10

Our community has created pilot programs, or has existing programs for active aging/ physical activity for older adults who take advantage of the resources and environments created by local smart growth activities such as safe walking area, biking amenities, age-sensitive exercise trails, safe parks, etc.


Nearly every community has natural landscapes, parks and recreation areas, or walking paths that could be used to promote physical activity among older adults. Communities can find a myriad of ways to use existing resources to increase physical activity among older adults and promote smart growth.

The Palmetto Conservation Foundation in Spartanburg, SC, for example, partnered with four community churches to initiate walking programs using the seven-mile Glenn Springs Passage of the Palmetto Trail. The organization also developed and distributed a trail map to 4,000 community residents to create interest in the trail and promote walking. Telephone surveys showed that use of the walking trail increased from 6 to 15 percent in one year.

Getting Started

Identify all recreation areas, trails, walking paths, parks, and other resources and environments that exist in your community. Contact the local Parks and Recreation Department and local government that manage each area to ascertain the scope of programs already offered in your community. Brainstorm to find ways to promote physical activity by providing new programs for older adults in local outdoor recreation areas and parks.

Internet Resources on Using Natural/Community Areas for Promoting Physical Activity

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
http://www.railtrails.org/index.html  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

National Recreation and Park Association
http://www.nrpa.org  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

National Center for Bicycling and Walking
http://www.bikewalk.org/  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

The project for Public Spaces on the design and management of Parks Plazas and Squares
http://www.pps.org/parks_plazas_squares/  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

National Center for Bicycling and Walking
Creating Walkable Communities: A Guide for Local Governments
http://www.bikewalk.org/pdfs/ncbwpubwalkablecomm.pdf (109 pp, 1.80MB)  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

Examples of the Effective Use of Natural Resources

Palmetto Conservation Foundation, Spartanburg, SC
http://palmettoconservation.org/  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

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