Active Recreation

The Active Recreation Workgroup was formed in 2014 in response to the development of the 2015-2019 Healthy People Healthy Places (HPHP) Plan. The Workgroup is made up of partners from across NH who are interested in increasing access to places to play and recreate for NH residents. Download our Active Recreation Workgroup flyer.


NH Residents have equitable access to options for getting around, and safe, high-quality places to play and be active.


Active Recreation Objective

HPHP Plan Objective #2

All NH communities have access to indoor and outdoor recreation facilities within a reasonable distance.


Active Recreation Strategies

The activities of the Active Recreation Workgroup are aimed at accomplishing three strategies:

Joint Use Agreement image


Active Recreation Inventory

In the Spring of 2015, HEAL NH’s Active Recreation Workgroup began a project to inventory park and recreation space in a ten community sample of NH’s high need communities. Students and faculty from the University of New Hampshire and Plymouth State University, in addition to members of HEAL NH’s Active Recreation workgroup, worked to complete the inventory.  The NH Department of Public Health Services Environmental  Public Health Tracking Program mapped the recreation areas in each of the communities.

The purpose of the Active Recreation Inventory is to look at NH’s high-need communities to identify:

  • The amount and type of recreation and park space available;
  • Neighborhoods that lack proximity to park and recreation space; and
  • Potential barriers to accessing safe and healthy active recreation opportunities.

The Active Recreation Workgroup determined that additional community-level assessment in the ten communities is needed to 1) understand how access to active recreation opportunities is perceived by residents;  2) identify the constraints and barriers faced by residents in accessing active recreation resources;  3) discover the needs of residents for active recreation resources and infrastructure; and 4) develop a community engagement process that can lead to improving access to active recreation opportunities in these NH communities.

A copy of the NH Active Recreation Inventory Preliminary Report can be found here.

As a result, the Active Recreation Workgroup worked diligently to move to the next phase of this work and actively pursued funding opportunities to:

  • promote and support the implementation of community engagement projects in the 10 target communities.  These projects will be aimed at gathering resident feedback and ideas regarding recreation access including barriers, needs and opportunities for improving recreation in their respective communities. 
  • support recreation and park improvement projects in NH’s most vulnerable communities.
  • assist recreation champions and stakeholders in advocating for increases in funding to improve safe access to and participation in active recreation opportunities in NH’s most vulnerable communities.


Joint Use Agreements


“Joint use” or “shared use” are terms that describe what happens when government entities (or sometimes private or nonprofit organizations) agree to open or broaden access to their property or facilities to benefit the larger community. When used to increase access to recreation facilities, Joint Use Agreements can play an important role in increasing recreation and physical activity opportunities for children and their families.

The Active Recreation workgroup promotes the use of Joint Use Agreements as a strategy to increase safe access to active recreation opportunities.

Our Joint Use Agreement work focused on 3 activities:

  • Supporting research at UNH to identify the use and status of Joint Use Agreements in NH;
  • Creating a Joint Use Agreement resource page at that includes information and examples of Joint Use Agreements for widespread use by communities; and
  • Advocating for the use of Joint Use Agreements to create better access to recreation in NH communities

Become an advocate for shaping a partnership between the community and local parks with these comprehensive resources:


Our Partners


A network of HEAL partners from a variety of sectors are participating in the Active Recreation Workgroup: Kerry Horne, NH Recreation and Parks Association and HealthTrust | Robert Barcelona, Recreation Management and Policy, UNH Dept. of Health and Human Services | Barbara McCahan, Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities, Plymouth State University | Katie Bush, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services | Chris Thayer, Appalachian Mountain Club | Paul Coats, City of Lebanon Department of Recreation and Parks | Cindy Heath, GP RED | Mike Loomis, Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health | Melissa Shaw, Colebrook Recreation | Sandy Olney, Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country | Beth Gustafson Wheeler, HEAL NH 


For more information on Active Recreation, please contact Beth Gustafson Wheeler at or 603.415.4278.