I. Setting and Activity
A park is typically a place of refuge and or sanctuary for neighboring inhabitants of all walks of life. Experiences to be had in a public park are either considered to be passive or active recreation. Parks are outdoor properties of land owned by the city considered by city code as natural preserves. Originating circa Medieval times, parks are landscaped to resemble and or preserve a natural woodlands or savannah. Grass is kept short and paths are maintained to keep the atmosphere comfortable and insects to the minimum so as to not disrupt the inhabitants who have come to escape their urban lives.
One of the types of activities to enjoy in the neighborhood park would be the aforementioned passive recreation. Passive recreation is any casual activity requiring little to no effort and can be enjoyed alone or in groups. Picnics, walks, reading, studying, writing, or simply just being in the park are all examples of commonly practiced and accepted passive recreation.
Active recreation that occurs in a public park is considered to be any activity a person or group of persons would have to utilize teamwork, exercise and equipment and or facilities of said park to participate in. Examples would be tennis, various playground activities, frisbee, swimming, and various team sports.
Ball fields, playgrounds and other designated specialized recreational areas are provided by different parks, meaning you can only use the area and equipment that said area is designated for. Local neighborhood parks receive attention from the community and the local government that controls it. “Parks are recognized as nature preserves and overall future development shall retain natural areas for the study and enjoyment of plants and animals for the park and the publics needs.” (City of Billings Department of Parks, Recreation and Public Lands Article 19-200, Sections 19-203 and 204) Thus, rules and regulations do exist and are enforced to ensure that parks are preserved and respected.
II. Juridic Controls
When trying to identify the many rules and regulations a person would only have to observe the many signs posted on trash receptacles, posts, buildings and fences. Such signs posted by the city state the hours as being 5:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily. (B.P.R.P.L. Section 19-202) All parks are required under this section to post their hours conspicuously.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited unless an alcoholic beverage permit is purchased. Permits are only available to groups or organizations who purchase the permit for $25, displayed in the designated area meant for it’s purpose and is only valid from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. (B.P.R.P.L. Section 19-202) All other alcoholic beverages discovered by city police will be considered to be contraband and will be subject to confiscation and or disposal. (City of Billings Ordinance 04-5296)
Other prohibited activities within the city parks would be hunting, trapping, firewood gathering, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and the use of projectiles. What is meant by projectiles? Golf balls, archery, metal spheres and paintball to name a few. (B.P.R.P.L. Section 19-209)
Like many of the activities, only designated parks allow the family dogs entry. These select locations, like Pioneer park, will have a sign posted on their premises that advise you to clean up after your pet or be subject to fines. (B.P.R.P.L. Section 4-307) While having to comply with the parks general rules, an individual has also rules for each separate activities, facilities or areas. For example tennis courts, playgrounds, ball fields, and swimming pools located in public parks have their own explicit and activity- specific policies that for safety issues must be adhered to. Parks are meant and provided for healthy, inexpensive entertainment, you only must play safely!
Those who do not adhere to rules and regulations while they are within park limits and are caught, are subject to fines and possible suspension of park privileges. Depending on the offense and severity of the violation, imprisonment may also result. (B.P.R.P.L. Section 19-211)
Though many, the rules and regulations of the community park in Billings, Montana are basic and clear. I wouldn’t say burdensome, but protective. City parks are meant for fun, safe and relaxing activity, so laws posted and enforced are to influence a healthy, safe environment. Such environments would be considered if treated in the way they are meant to be, Mecca’s for ethical and juridical behavior. All this said parks are laid back and most individuals that I have witnessed enjoying their temporary environments, do exactly that. No burden within the park, just enjoy.
Inevitably experiences and interaction in a park are in themselves an escape from the juridics and pressures of the every day life. Parks are a common alternative and even retreat for many of the local people. Though parks offer an escape from daily juridical controls they to in themselves have their own load of juridical controls. Alternatives to unlawfully drinking alcohol in the park would be to either get a permit to do so or to go to a private residence. Another example would be if a person wanted to take their pet to the park they need to only look up The City of Billings Department of Parks, Recreation, and Public Lands website and locate the list of city parks that have not yet been “improved” and allow the exercising of restrained pets. Despite many rules and regulations the city offers many solutions and alternatives and also provide the community with parks that are escapes from stress, and, just think, they are just but a few blocks away.
I. Setting and Activity