I walk my dog regularly through the south western park lands and love that they are so quiet and open. There are some wonderful little pockets tucked away amongst the trees that no-one really knows about. But I can't help but feel that all the parks are terribly underused in this area.
The problem I see in getting people to use these underused sections is the difficulty in getting car parks off the main roads (not good for getting kids out of cars), particularly during weekdays.
My idea to open up parts of these park lands is to build small carparks (perhaps max of 20 cars) in the park lands themselves.
You could go nuts and theme the parks or have some set up for kids, some for dogs, some for tree lovers etc, or just have a small bbq area and a patch of grass for a picnic or small gatherings. Have the parks linked to the city bike loop
The spaces could be reserved or more likely just first in best dressed.
To avoid commuters using the car parks on weekdays, timed meters could be used