OLYMPIA — A bill to provide prescribed access to outdoor recreation, particularly for youth of color, was heard in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee Tuesday. 

Senate Bill 5095, sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), requires the state Department of Health to create an advisory committee for the parks Rx health and wellness pilot programs. The committee’s membership would include communities that have been historically marginalized in access to parks. DOH and the advisory committee must then establish at least three, two-year pilot programs in the Puget Sound and eastern and southwest Washington. 

The bill builds on Nobles’ previous work (SB 5292) to create a taskforce to develop recommendations for the pilot programs, which aim to address the health impacts of systematic inequities and discrimination. 

“What we are trying to do here is simple: opening the outdoors to all our neighbors, so we can build healthier communities,” Nobles said. “The pilot programs are an investment in the well-being of the next generation and will help track health outcomes, and I am particularly excited about the opportunity to get young people, especially youth of color, outdoors.” 

The bill previously passed Health & Long Term Care in the 2023 session but was referred back to the committee this year for another hearing to allow lawmakers to continue to work on the issue.  

Follow its progress here.