Rural Active Living Assessment (RALA)
Northern Maine is fortunate to have excellent free outdoor physical activity opportunities including access to trails, parks, waterways, and more.
Rural Active Living Assessment (RALA) is a survey program which Power of Prevention conducted in collaboration with 22 municipalities on POP’s service area over the last three years. This survey looked at the physical and non-physical infrastructure in communities related to active living. This evidence-based program has been nationally distributed, allowing all communities to answer the same critical questions.
In the first portion of the assessment, POP worked with municipalities to discover which programs and policies provided physical activity opportunities (Ex: town facility offering a sliding fee scale for different economic groups).
In the second part of the assessment, POP evaluated access to physical activity opportunities (Ex. facilities in communities like the Fort Kent Outdoor Center). Not surprisingly for the rural area in which POP is located, the existence of local facilities also benefits community members living outside the immediate area of the town in which the facilities are located.
The third portion of the assessment was a street level assessment. Community volunteers and POP staff physically assessed the existence of sidewalks, lighting, terrain, and other street characteristics affecting the ability of residents to walk and bike in all 22 communities.
POP staff members collated all pieces of the Rural Active Living Assessment and generated a score for each town. Results of the assessment are available for download and have been distributed to state level evaluation organizations.
Besides being published online here, this data is now available for each municipality and POP hopes to work with each community to get the information to their residents and prospective residents in whatever way best suits them.
To learn more about RALA: http://activelivingresearch.org/rural-active-living-assessment-rala-tools
If you think your community has an outdoor physical fitness opportunity that could use additional visibility, please contact us.