Letter to the Editor
Wed, 05/14/2014 - 5:00pm Sanmarcos1
Spring Lake parking charge discourages outdoor activity
I was distressed to find that there is now a charge for parking for access to Spring Lake and the Spring Lake Preserve. With the removal of the buildings from the time of Aquarena and the reseeding of the area with native plants, it has become a wonderful, quiet oasis of nature in our ever growing city.
Many of us have frequently enjoyed walks along the lake, in the Preserve area and on the boardwalk. We have found the healing value of nature in this beautiful space. Recent medical research has indicated that many of the ills of our bodies can be mediated by time in natural settings. A recent article in National Parks magazine, “A Prescription For Nature,” Daphne Miller, MD notes that “Diabetes, heart disease, and related illnesses such as obesity are responsible for the lion's share of suffering and expenditures within our health care system. ... If more physical activity in parks could lower the rates of the chronic diseases by a mere five percent, estimates from the Institute of Medicine show that it could cut medical costs by about $25 billion annually. . . . We can explain (to our patients) that the same preserve that protects several species of birds can also improve blood pressure or depressive symptoms; or that the same wetland designed to fight erosion can also help improve a child's focus and maybe even his or her school performance. Suddenly the equation shifts and our patients understand that conservation is not just a feel-good pursuit, but a matter of personal health.”
The parking charge discourages the use of this healing area for many people who are on limited incomes and tight budgets. I hope that this policy will be reconsidered.