Strafford Regional Planning Commission has announced the launch of its Promoting Outdoor Play (POP!) online tool, which is an interactive map of over 300 publicly accessible recreation sites spread amongst the 18 communities in the SRPC region.
Funded by the NH Children’s Health Foundation, SRPC has created this map to help residents and visitors to the region discover the abundance of parks, trails, playgrounds, and other natural resources.
The regional planning commission’s POP! program followed on the heels of its Pathways to Play project, which initially allowed staff to inventory and map all recreation sites in the region. POP! took this a step further in that SRPC staff, with the help of much-appreciated volunteers, were able to inventory all 300-plus sites over summer 2020, taking photos and collecting data on park amenities and specifications. The result, the POP! online tool, provides users with information on the region’s recreation sites organized by the following categories: playgrounds, parks, trails, and open space, sports, beaches and pools, boats and small watercraft, ice skating and sledding, and others. It also has a comprehensive view of all sites on one map.
Commenting on what this new tool means for the region, Somersworth Recreation Supervisor Kristen Davenport shared, “The POP! Interactive online map is an incredibly valuable resource that will help connect residents and visitors to the amazing recreation sites and amenities the Strafford region has to offer. Parks and outdoor spaces are vitally important and this new tool will enable us to continue to promote the benefits of outdoor recreation in our communities. The map is very user-friendly, the info is easy to find, and the pictures give a great snapshot of each park. We’re excited to share this with our community!”
SRPC is hoping this new tool will be used to help people not only explore new sites in their own backyard, but also across the region. People from Durham may want to take a day trip to check out the Cotton Valley Rail Trail – a 12-mile rail-trail passing through Wolfeboro, Brookfield, and Wakefield, and allowing for multiple types of recreation, including hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Similarly, someone from New Durham could spend a Saturday in Dover with their kids at the Henry Law Playground, with its play structure mimicking the iconic Garrison Hill Tower, splash pad, sand play areas, musical instrument displays, and full-size gundalow installed as part of the playground.
To further encourage this exploration, SRPC will be launching a trail passport activity this summer, in partnership with the NH Children’s Museum. Speaking on the program SRPC equity and engagement planner Nancy O’Connor shared, “SRPC is excited to partner with the NH Children’s Museum to launch the trail passport program this summer. It’s a wonderful opportunity to further market this exciting resource and a fun way to get parents and children engaged in exploring the region.” She elaborated, “We just want to get this amazing resource into the hands of everyone who enjoys the outdoors and is excited to learn about new places to explore!”
The program will run over the course of the summer and a rubber stamp will be moved to different recreation sites across the region on alternative weeks. Stay tuned to www.strafford.org for more information.
To complement the trail passport, SRPC is also developing a tool that will have a survey component for users to upload pictures or comments so they can share their experience with others as they visit the various sites. O’Connor noted, “As a parent of a young child, I SO wish I had this a few years ago as we relied totally on word of mouth to know where to go. This new tool allows everyone to KNOW the places, get a little guidance from others’ experiences and know what to expect! It’s awesome!”
To view the online tool and start exploring, visit https://arcg.is/1veW9q.