Parks Across America

By: Will Carter

In partnership with the Trust for Public Land, members of the Rocky Mountain Wild team have been collecting city park GIS data from a myriad of sources. Alison, Dana, Ron and Will have been involved with the multi-year ParkServe project thus far, which is a continuation of TPL’s ParkScore Project, which has a goal in part to create parks for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. The RMW team has been busy all summer of 2016 contacting local governments across the country to request and collect existing geospatial data, exploring online city maps and websites to find park locations where existing data is sparse, and finally creating park data by heads up digitizing using Esri GIS tools.

“I’m so happy to have had a chance to work with TPL on both the ParkScore and ParkServe projects. When all children and adults have easy access to a place to play outdoors, they will be so much more likely to want to protect the wild places I love.” – Alison Gallensky

“This has been a fun project that has allowed me to explore different geographic areas of the country to see how parks and open space differs from place to place. I feel like I have gotten accurate impressions of many areas, and can see places where new parks would be welcome. It has been a great opportunity to work on a project with such a worthwhile goal.” – Will Carter

“The ParkServe project has given me a renewed appreciation of parks and open space, especially, sadly, with the over development occurring in many of our metropolitan areas. I love learning new technologies, including GIS mapping for ParkServe. Now having an awareness about many small towns that I have never heard of, has also been very rewarding. In many of these small areas, their one park is the central meeting place (life-blood) for community involvement. It is funny that when you ask small town leadership for the address of their park, many of them say that it does not have an official address, but is located 2 blocks down, on the left hand side of the street!” – Ron Sherman

“It is quite incredible to see the many varieties of parks within our country. Everything from a 10ft sq. triangle park named Square Park, to parks that consist of miles of uncut green space, rivers, lakes and campsites. It makes me happy to see the priority parks hold in our cities. As a person who grew up on a farm, I realize the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with the wild and to incorporate nature into our cities. In my short time working on the ParkServe project, it has become obvious to me, the value parks and open spaces has on the mental and physical health of the people in our country.” – Dana Talbot-Heindl

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