Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

Introducing Southeast Minnesota Park Rx

4/5/2021 by Brian Lynch, M.D.

Mom Son Camping DNR

Did you know that spending time in nature can positively affect your health? It's true. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can provide ample physical and mental health benefits. 

Southeast Minnesota Park Rx is a local initiative aiming to do just that. 

Southeast Minnesota Park Rx seeks to improve people's health by encouraging providers to prescribe time in nature. In doing so, this collaborative effort aims to increase awareness of local and regional state parks. By making it easy to find parks in your area that might match your needs, your health care provider can write prescriptions to the parks. 

Here are some ideas for fun outdoor activities in the area: 


Quarry Hill Nature Center, Chester Woods ParkOxbow Park and Zollman Zoo and Whitewater State Park all offer great hiking trails. Don't forget to look around you and stop to see and hear all the wonderful treasures from nature. 


Olmsted County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have their campsites open for reservations for the 2021 season. Camping may seem overwhelming if you have never tried it before. 

Check out these resources to learn more, including campfire building tips and other trip planning resources. Also, I Can Camp programs enable families to learn the basics of camping in an overnight group setting at a Minnesota state park. All equipment is provided. 


Learn more on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Facebook page

State parks

Search the ParkFinder tool on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website to find a state park that fits your needs. You can search by amenities and activities offered. 

Each Minnesota state park webpage provides a virtual tour, so you can explore a park without leaving your house. Use the virtual tours to help plan your trip. 

Rochester Parks and Recreation

Over 3,500 acres of parkland, 100 miles of paved trails and over 120 parks are within the city of Rochester. Beautiful places to exercise and enjoy nature include Quarry Hill Nature Center, Cascade Lake Park, Gamehaven Reservoir and Soldiers Memorial Field Park

A wide variety of programming and recreational opportunities are available throughout the year. You can find more information on the Rochester Parks and Recreation website and Facebook page. Whether you're looking for a trail to hike, a path to bike or a place just to hang out with your family and friends, Rochester Parks and Recreation has you covered. 

Nature at home

Sign up for the Trailblazer monthly e-newsletter to learn more about Minnesota state parks and trails. The naturalists at Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo can take you on adventures to give you a glimpse of some of the amazing woodland wildflowers and birds that you can find when hiking through the woods on their YouTube page

Learn more

For more information about Southeast Minnesota Park Rx, check out this video: 


Learn more on Park Rx America. Here you will find a list of parks in the region with information on each park, and you can filter to find what best matches your interest. 

Brian Lynch, M.D., is a primary care pediatrician at Mayo Family Clinic Northwest, co-chair of the Primary Care Work Group of the Mayo Clinic Obesity Council, and chair of the Primary Care Obesity Task Force. Dr. Lynch works closely with the Southeast Minnesota Park Rx Team to promote the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature to his patients and colleagues.