Rates of childhood diabetes and obesity are soaring in the United States. It is now well understood that time outdoors is critical to a person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and access to natural areas and outdoor recreation is increasingly recommended by medical professionals as one solution to our national health crisis.

Studies show that people with access to parks exercise more and have lower rates of obesity and diabetes. In addition to promoting physical health, exposure to the outdoors can improve mental and social health, helping children develop and neighborhoods bond. The San Joaquin River Blueway will promote better health for Valley residents and open up access to previously underserved communities.

I was eight years old when we came here [from Mexico]. My dad worked for the Rank family; he broke horses for them ... I remember just throwing a line in the river and jiggling it, just one quick jiggle and we’d catch fish all day long ... One of the best things about living here as kids was that we could come home and swim ... I think back on it, how fortunate we were. God, what a life. Of all the places in the world, we ended up right here.

Bernie Salado a native of Mexico