Cambria Regional Chamber’s Recreation Economy Committee, in partnership with the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health, unveiled new signage today as part of a WalkWorks program in downtown Johnstown.
The Recreation Economy Committee has worked in coordination with 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health and the City of Johnstown to create the WalkWorks route. “We are thrilled to have so many local and regional partners help us carry out this project to create additional recreational opportunities for those living, visiting, and working downtown,” says Leanna Bird, a member of the REC committee and Project Manager for the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health. “Our hope is that Walk Works Johnstown will bring people together to create a local walking community that supports each other in the spirit of wellness and a shared bright vision for our city.”
Johnstown’s WalkWorks route takes walkers on a 1.8 mile stretch that includes many scenic and historic highlights, including the Stone Bridge, the Johnstown Flood Museum and the Iron to Arts Corridor.
“What a lot of folks might not realize is that Johnstown was initially chosen as the pilot city during the inception of WalkWorks,” says Mike Cook, professional development coordinator with In-Shore Technologies and chairman of the Chamber’s REC Committee. “The program went through a bit of a revision since then, so it is great that Johnstown was once again chosen to be a participant in WalkWorks. Hopefully, this program helps to encourage city residents to be proactive about their well-being and encourage them to positively impact their overall health.”
Research shows regular walking is a natural mood booster and helps reduce stress while lowering the risk for heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Johnstown’s route is part of a statewide WalkWorks program, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Funding for WalkWorks is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health through the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant and the State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program, both from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Having access to activity-friendly walking routes is essential in helping to keep Pennsylvanians healthy,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “I can speak first-hand to the benefit of a designated walking route, as I actively participate in a walking group that utilizes a WalkWorks route around the Capitol Complex. Physical activity can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and premature death. Being active also helps prevent weight gain, reduce depression and improve cognitive function in older adults.”
WalkWorks will provide technical assistance, promotional materials and signs to the new community partners. Those new partners are:
- Recreation Economy Committee with the Cambria Regional Chamber, which will develop a walking route in the City of Johnstown;
- Borough of Hatboro in Montgomery County;
- Shippensburg Community Parks and Recreation Authority – a municipal authority created by Shippensburg Borough in Cumberland County and Southampton Township in Franklin County; and
- Wilkes-Barre Health Department in Luzerne County
“We are very thankful to the REC for their work on this project,” says Amy Bradley, President and CEO of the Cambria Regional Chamber. “Not only does it help people improve their health, it also showcases many of the wonderful points of interest in our city. It will be a great route for residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Although regular weekly walking groups are currently on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic and PA Department of Health guidelines, individuals can still walk the route on their own.
Anyone interested in joining a walking group in Johnstown or who currently belongs to a walking group or other organization looking for a place to walk and engage in regular physical activity can visit www.crchamber.com/adventure, call 814-535-5156 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information on the WalkWorks route.