A new program in Canada allows some doctors to prescribe to patients a free annual pass to Canada’s national parks as a way to increase access to health benefits from the outdoors, according to The Washington Post.

What’s happening: PaRx, a health program launched by the BC Parks Foundation, has teamed up with Parks Canada to give doctors 100 passes that they can give out to patients as a prescription.

  • Doctors can write prescriptions for two hours per week at the park or even 20 minutes during a visit.
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What they’re saying: “Given the growing body of evidence that indicates nature time can improve all kinds of different physical and mental health conditions, we’re hoping that our PaRx program not only improves patient health, but reduces costs to the health care system, and helps to grow the number of people who are more engaged environmental advocates,” Prama Rahman, a coordinator for the BC Parks Foundation’s Healthy By Nature Program, told NPR.

Why it matters: Per the Washington Post, researchers have seen nature as a possible treatment for anxiety.

The bigger picture: The program has also offered patients a chance to cure anxiety over climate change, too, per The Washington Post.

  • “The Park Prescriptions program comes at a time when we are being invited to reflect deeply on our relationship with the world around us,” said Drs Liana Hwang and Andrea Hull, according to The New Zealand Herald.