GP RED is a nonprofit organization that works “to identify and fill gaps in knowledge and practical resources” in the health, park, recreation, and land management industries and community “quality of life” agencies.1 By collaborating with industry associations, universities, private and nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and industry professionals, GP RED facilitates the creation of inter-disciplinary management tools, research, and development strategies to support and enhance the work of these industries and agencies.

GP RED was co-founded in 2008 by GreenPlay, LLC, a for profit management consulting firm for parks, recreation, and quality of life agencies. GP RED was formed to provide research and education activities to “strengthen, activate, fund, and enhance collaboration for the education and research” of the aligned industries of health, park, recreation, and land management.2

Besides establishing its mission and organization, creating relationships with recreation, health and land management industry leaders, and developing its national presence, GP RED began offering the “Method of Eight,” a community level long range planning tool for parks and recreation agencies. Concurrently, GP RED expanded its menu of national organizational and leadership development workshops

In 2009, GP RED initiated the Healthy Communities Research Group (HCRG), a consortium of researchers and planners, which developed the Surveillance & Management Toolkit™. The toolkit is designed to help communities “reduce obesity through integration of parks and recreation and public health.”3 Targeting 10-14 year old youth,4 the HCRG offers assessment and management tools that include creating an agency action plan, gathering community partners, establishing procedures and policies, locating funding, and inventorying available assets.5

Three new initiatives were founded in 2010: Safe Routes to Play™, Whole Measures for Parks & Recreation, and the RedLine Survey. The RedLine Survey was an e-survey conducted over two years on industry “hot topics.” The Whole Measures initiative focuses on “universal access to public lands, social equity in parks and recreation service delivery, and sustaining natural resources.”6

Safe Routes to Play: A Child-Centered Transportation Initiative™ provides support for communities to create ways for children to “ski, skate, scoot, bicycle, or walk safely to their play destinations.”7 The goal of Safe Routes to Play™ is to assist communities in creating “active access” to play spaces, promote awareness of the impact of the built environment on health, develop partnerships and funding resources, and create a community planning and assessment tool.8

The U.S. Forest Service Children's Forest Corridor Project, which was begun in 2011, expands upon the Safe Routes to Play™ Initiative to connect children, families, and adults to the outdoors through a network of linked parks and nature centers extending beyond cities and communities.9 The growing network of “Children's Forests” includes projects in nine regions across the United States in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.10 Through a partnership agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, GP RED is collaborating on Peaks to Prairies: A Children's Forest Corridor in Colorado, which uses the South Platte River 50 mile corridor to link children and adults in the Denver area to the mountains on the west and the prairies on the east. Unstructured play, exploration, education, and stewardship are the key objectives of this and other Forest Corridor projects.

Also in 2011, GP RED launched a monthly newsletter entitled “News You Can Use,” distributed to over 5,000 multi-disciplinary professionals nationwide.

With headquarters in Lafayette, Colorado, and East coast offices in New Hampshire, GP RED is dedicated to promoting play and healthy activity by collaborating with, supporting, and enhancing existing health, recreation, and land management organizations.

  • 1. “Research, Education, and Development for Health, Recreation, and Land Agencies.” GP RED. < > 14 May 2012.
  • 2. “About Us.” GP RED. < > 14 May 2012.
  • 3. “GP RED Healthy Communities Research Group: Purpose and Overview, 2012-2015.” Personal Correspondence to Playground Professionals from Cindy Heath, 7 Jan. 2013., p. 3.
  • 4. Op.cit., “Research, Education, and Development for Health, Recreation, and Land Agencies.”
  • 5. Op.cit., “GP RED Healthy Communities Research Group:”
  • 6. Op.cit., “Research, Education, and Development for Health, Recreation, and Land Agencies.”
  • 7. “Safe Routes to Play: About.” GP RED. < > 14 May 2012.
  • 8. “Safe Routes to Play: Objectives.” GP RED. < > 14 May 2012.
  • 9. “Press Release: October 7, 2011.” GP RED. < > 14 May 2012.
  • 10. “Growing a Children't Forest Network.” Personal Correspondence to Playground Professionals from Cindy Heath, 7 Jan. 2013.