Improving the health and wellness of the communities we serve


In Joshua Tree National Park

“Healthy Parks, Healthy People” is a national initiative established by the National Park System to partner with community leaders and organizations to promote the role of the parks and public lands in contributing to a person’s physical, mental and social well-being.

Morongo Basin Healthcare District has partnered with Joshua Tree National Park as part of this initiative. The program engages doctors to prescribe outdoor activities to their patients, including hikes and walks in Joshua Tree National Park.

Recreation in any form has been shown to improve physical and mental health. Benefits from increased physical activity include increased energy and stamina, reduced levels of stress, tension and depression, improved blood pressure and cardiovascular function, and body weight management. Joshua Tree National Park provides more than 270 miles of trail which range from short, flat and paved to strenuous, steep climbs. The number of unique exercise opportunities seems endless. Hiking is just one form of exercise that can be accomplished while in the park. Biking on paved or dirt roads offers different views and perspectives.

Healthcare providers at the Morongo Basin Community Health Center will prescribe a written prescription for their patients to take a hike in the Park as part of the patient’s care plan for improved health. The provider will provide a hiking guide and discuss with the patient which trails would work best, "Easy, Moderate or strenuous."

The prescription authorizes free entry to the park for the patient and up to five people in the same vehicle as the patient.