LynnmourHeritageForestIn a passionate letter to District of North Vancouver council, long time Inter-River resident Elise Roberts describes the importance of natural play areas for the neighbourhood children.  Elise’s letter was prompted by the District’s plans to replace a beloved forest area in lower Inter-River park with artificial turf sports fields.

Here is Elise’s letter, in full:

Dear Mayor and Council,

I wish to thank you and DNV Parks Planning staff for your time and patience in hearing the presentations from the Lynnmour Community regarding the importance of protecting the Lynnmour Heritage Forest.

Please find below a unique perspective that has not yet been presented, consistent with the 2011 Healthy by Nature Forum, which hosted dialogue on the critical links between human health, well-being and nature. Included at the end of this presentation are the invaluable benefits of accessible natural play areas for children’s health, self-esteem, imagination and development.

I urge Council to consider the recommendations of DNV Parks Planning staff for only 1 artificial turf field, in order to preserve and protect this precious natural resource in our growing density community.

Yours very passionately,

Elise Roberts
Lynnmour Resident
1992 to Present

Current Play Areas Within Surrounding Townhouse Density in Lynnmour are Concrete Driveways

If Mayor and Council votes for 2 artificial fields to replace the Lynnmour Heritage Forest, 692 FAMILIES who live adjacent to the forest, which means approximately 1200 children and youth, including 175 students from Lynnmour School, will lose the only accessible “un-built” nature education and play area within walking distance from home, to make way for an artificial field that will be off limits to them. Without the forest, the alternative will be concrete driveways in all surrounding townhouses.

Density in Lynnmour is growing and growing. Natural areas for unstructured play and nature learning are shrinking.

Benefits of Unbuilt Natural Areas for Children

Exposing children to nature in their backyard will foster citizens who are good stewards of nature.

Forest1“Unfortunately, children today are increasingly isolated in a technological cocoon of our own making. Restoring regular primary experiences with the natural world is critical in fostering a child’s creativity and self-confidence.”



“Nature Kids BC mission is:

  • To help children get outdoors to explore, play, learn about and take action for nature right where they live.  To  develop a love of nature, a lifelong connection to the natural world, and have the environmental literacy and skills to take action for nature. ”

“Children who play in natural settings are more resistant to stress; have lower incidence of behavioural disorders, anxiety and depression; and have a higher measure of self-worth. They play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways and show improved language and collaboration skills.”

“See the old man in the logging stump! Let’s write a story.”

“Natural, irregular and challenging spaces help kids learn to recognize, assess and negotiate risk and build confidence and competence. Children who play in nature have more positive feelings about each other and  have been positively linked with the development of imagination and the sense of wonder (Cobb 1977, Louv 1991). Wonder is an important motivator for life-long learning (Wilson 1997).”

“Let’s go exploring down this trail!”
“This is where I saw Pileated Woodpeckers eating bugs in the tree. They are the carpenters of the forest and help break down trees to make good soil. “


Is it a step backwards in community planning to demolish the only area for unstructured play and nature learning in a growing density community?

2 thoughts on “The Value of Natural Play Areas for Children in a Growing Density Community

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