March 30, 2021

In This Issue...

News from NACPRO
Welcome New Members
Best Practices Forum
Member News
Research and Resources
In the News
Job Announcements


The National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials is a non-profit professional organization that advances official policies that promote county and regional park and recreation issues while providing members with opportunities to network, exchange ideas and best practices, and enhance professional development.

Learn more about us at:


The next issue of NACPRO News will be delivered on April 13, 2021.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by April 12.

Brenda Adams-Weyant
(814) 927-8212
[email protected]

NACPRO's Sponsors

Pilot Rock logo

Job Announcements

Executive Director
Fairfax County Park Authority
Fairfax, Virginia
Salary: Depends on qualifications
Closing date: Apr 16, 2021

Director of Parks and Recreation
City of Deerfield Beach
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Salary: $109,215 - $180,204
Closing date: Apr 16, 2021

Parks Trail Specialist
Santa Clara County Parks
Los Gatos, California
Salary: $63,180 - $76,336 /yr
Closing date: Apr 5, 2021

Botanical Gardens Manager
NOVA Parks (Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority)
Vienna, Virginia
Salary: $60,319 - $72,623 /yr
Closing date: Open until filled

Got a vacancy to fill? NACPRO will post your vacancy on our website and email a copy to our mailing list of over 1100 parks and recreation professionals for a fee of $100 for NACPRO members and $200 for non-members. NACPRO membership is $90/person.

For more information:

News from NACPRO

Time-Sensitive Federal Funding Notice: Local Community Project Funding
Courtesy of NRPA

By Elvis Cordova

As Congress begins to consider funding for fiscal year 2022, the House Committee on Appropriations — the committee overseeing this process — has announced “Community Project Funding,” which is a revised version of “earmarks,” or federal funding for congressional district-specific projects.

The Community Project Funding process allows members of Congress to submit funding requests for up to 10 “shovel-ready” projects in their district. However, not all requests are guaranteed to be approved for funding.

Read more:

Welcome New Members

Ms. Molly deJesus, Chief of Human Resources
Great Parks of Hamilton County, Ohio

Mr. Andrew Struck, Director
Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Dept, Wisconsin

Ms. Jennifer DeJournett, Commissioner
Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota

Ms. Marge Beard, Commissioner
Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota

Mr. Jesse Winkler
Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota

Mr. Gene Kay
Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota

Mr. John Gunyou, Commissioner
Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota

Mr. John Gibbs, Commissioner
Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota, Minnesota

Mr. Daniel Freeman, Commissioner
Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota

Best Practices Forum

Got an issue you need advice on? Or a best practice you want to share? Send us the details and we will publish it in the next NACPRO News.

Research and Resources

New ways to count outdoor recreation
Courtesy of Headwaters Economics

Outdoor recreation is a large and growing economic sector, but accurate measurements of use are lacking. Headwaters Economics explored the potential of using novel data sources — fitness tracking apps, social media, and web browser data — to estimate how much recreation is happening and where. This information can help agencies better manage outdoor recreation and help communities capitalize on its economic potential.

Read more:


Attacking Invasive Species
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By David Ochs and Meghan Fellows

VIRGINIA - The Fairfax County Park Authority wins some battles before the enemy establishes its stronghold. The Northern Virginia agency has initiated an Early Detection, Rapid Response (EDRR) program to identify and remove small infestations of invasives before they become serious problems.

Invasive plants rarely are overnight sensations despite fanciful names like “mile-a-minute” that are, thankfully, an exaggeration. There is a time when invasive plants can be removed, not just limited.

A serious infestation begins with one or two individual plants that happen to find ideal conditions. Imagine if someone could recognize that original loner as the area’s next kudzu or multiflora rose? Wouldn’t it be easier to remove that one plant than face a tangled hillside or a forest permeated by invasive-plant species?

EDRR is like a treasure-hunter seeking something new, rare or unusual. In Fairfax County, treasure-hunters seek plants that are not native to Virginia. The reward is keeping them out of natural areas.

Read more:


U.S. Coast Guard announces new law requiring use of engine cut-off switches
Courtesy of River Management Society

Beginning April 1, 2021, operators of recreational powerboats less than 26 feet in length will be required to use an engine cut-off switch (ECOS) and associated ECOS link (ECOSL), as the U.S. Coast Guard implements a law passed by Congress. Boaters are encouraged to check the U.S. Coast Guard website for additional information on this new use requirement and other safety regulations and recommendations.

For more information:


New Book Shares the Story of Trail Towns
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

Are you familiar with the Trail Town concept but would like to know more? The book: "Deciding on Trails: 7 Practices of Healthy Trail Towns" details the history of Trails Towns, how the model has been adapted in at least 28 states and recommended best practices.

Deciding on Trails was written for community champions and trail advocates who are seeking to strengthen connections with trails. Written by one of the first Trail Town practitioners, Amy Camp, the book is available in paperback and via Kindle.

For more information:


Workforce Development and Career Exploration in Parks and Recreation
Courtesy of NRPA

Parks and recreation has positive impacts on the lives of millions of people every day. Local park and recreation agencies provide a diverse set of essential amenities and services that include not only valuable infrastructure, such as parks, trails, recreation centers and nature preserves, but also vital services that help meet the challenges facing every city, town and county across our nation.

Workforce development and career exploration programs — which include entry-level jobs, internships and specialized skills-based training programs — expose youth and young adults to a wealth of career possibilities within the field of parks and recreation. Youth and young adults participating in such programs gain valuable work experience, build self-confidence, develop foundational skills and learn how rewarding a park and recreation career can be.

Read more:


Play and Recreational Surfacing Types: Features & Benefits
Courtesy of PlayCore

Depending on the form and function of your play or recreational area, there are a number of choices you can make in regard to surfacing. The budget, the amount of use the playground or recreational area gets, your ability to maintain the surface, and other factors will help facilitate playground and recreational area surfacing selections. Remember to follow safety and accessibility guidelines. Don't forget to ask the supplier for specifications, warranty information, and maintenance guidelines, as they may vary by brand.

Surfacing options for playgrounds are generally divided into two categories: loose-fill and unitary. These options can be combined in a variety of ways or used alone.

Also check out our surfacing quick-reference chart here...

Read more:

In the News

Closing Park Roads to Cars — An Idea Goes Viral
Courtesy of NRPA

By Peter Harnik

If you sat for one hour by the side of the road in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, you would have been passed by a total of 904 bicyclists, runners, walkers and skaters, and 11 dogs.

This was a regular, unprogrammed evening during the COVID-19 pandemic. The park visitors were enjoying nature, getting exercise, maintaining a physical distance, and escaping the confinement of their houses and apartments. They were being counted as part of a rare, formal study of park usership. They were counted on a roadway that had been cleared of cars for the duration of the virus emergency.

On a normal Tuesday evening prior to the pandemic, the number of human users along that roadway would have been approximately zero. Before COVID-19, Upper Beach Drive was a commuter thoroughfare on weekdays. Even strong cyclists were reluctant to risk the traffic on the narrow, winding road, and others didn’t even consider it.

Read more:


Rising seas, worsening wildfires endanger California parks
Courtesy of

By Julie Cart

Of all the existential threats California parks face — dwindling budgets, more visitors and costly, long-deferred maintenance — now comes a climate-driven conundrum: When is a park no longer a park? When its namesake trees disappear in a barrage of lightning strikes? When its very land is washed away by ever-rising seas?

Managing California’s nearly 300 parks will now require a top-to-bottom rethink: How to make public land more resilient to wildfires, rising seas, drought and extreme weather. The price tag for arming state beaches, thinning forests, moving restrooms and visitors’ centers, and other climate-resilience projects has not been calculated. But experts say if the money isn’t spent now to protect parks from rising seas and intensified fires, the damage and costs will multiply.

Read more:


River Fatalities up in 2020, According to American Whitewater Accident Database
Courtesy of the River Management Society

Thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have never been so many paddlers on the water. However, communicating safety messaging is a challenge the industry will be reckoning with for years to come. In his semi-annual report, American Whitewater Accident Database manager Charlie Walbridge writes:

“In the second half of 2020 American Whitewater received reports of six kayak, two canoe and six rafting fatalities for a total of 14. There were two commercial rafting deaths and two incidents in “miscellaneous craft”: a small fishing cataraft and a standup paddleboard. The trends noted in the first six months continue. Recreational kayaks were used in four of the six kayak accidents; 11 of the 19 accidents reported occurred on Class I or II whitewater; eight saw no life vests in use, and seven were solo or one boat trips.

Read more:


RTC’s Federal Advocacy for Increasing and Better Targeting Funding for Trails, Walking and Biking
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

RTC has been working with many of you and our champions on Capitol Hill to define the components of a visionary transportation bill. Our vision will increase funding for trails, walking and biking, while targeting investments in projects that connect people to the places they want to go and serve communities most in need.

We have bipartisan support for a trio of bills that more than double funding for trails, walking and biking:

- The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act (H.R.5696 pending reintroduction/S.684)
- The Transportation Alternatives Enhancements Act (H.R.463/S.614)
- The Recreational Trails Full Funding Act (H.R.1864/Senate bill pending)

This package of bills provides critical policy changes to strategically target investments—so that funds maximize the role of trails and other active transportation infrastructure in contributing to job creation and healthy, safe and equitable communities.

Read more:


Parks and Recreation Fends off Wildfires
Courtesy of NRPA

By Jennifer Fulcher

When a wildfire, known as the Holiday Farm Fire, swept across Oregon in September 2020, staff at Willamalane Park and Recreation District in Springfield, Oregon, had to take on new roles in the community: disaster responders.

Experience responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic proved helpful in the district’s response to the wildfire. Many staff were able to continue coordinating relief efforts because of the remote-work technology and policy that they had implemented for COVID-19. The district also had a crisis communication plan ready. This plan includes a process for communicating updates to staff first during a disaster — which includes anything from wildfire and floods to medical events and COVID-19 to security breaches — and sharing this information to the public and media outlets.

The district became an information hub for the community and press. People were encouraged to stay indoors to minimize exposure to the hazardous air, updated about the status of the wildfire and given information about where to donate and access resources. “We were connected to partner agencies and were able to help joint communication,” Weigandt says.

Read more:


A park that welcomes homeless people, partially designed by homeless people, will be a Philly first
Courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

PENNSYLVANIA - To a homeless person, a Philadelphia park can be an unfriendly place. “People are uncomfortable with us,” said William Stanley, 56, who lived on city streets for 27 years and now has an apartment in North Philadelphia. “They don’t understand us. What we’ve been through in life, they have not. So they fear us."

Soon, that dynamic might change — at least a little.

Plans are underway to start building in 2022 a pocket park where people experiencing homelessness will not only be welcome but will also be asked to design and build aspects of the space. It’s the only project of its kind in Philadelphia, say design professionals involved in the project.

Read more:


Conducting a Regional and Rural Parks Needs Assessment
Courtesy of NRPA

By Clement Lau, AICP, DPPD

CALIFORNIA - What is the need for recreational assets like regional parks, beaches and trails in a county with over ten million residents? What are the potential opportunities to expand existing parklands and acquire additional land for recreation and conservation purposes? What are the unique park and recreation needs of rural areas and how do we best address them? The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is starting a community engagement and outreach process to help answer these questions and more. As a focused update to the 2016 Los Angeles Countywide Parks Needs Assessment, this effort is called the Regional and Rural Edition. Specifically, it will apply an equity lens to comprehensively identify, analyze, map and document:

1. The need for regional facilities, including regional parks, beaches and lakes, trails, and natural areas and open spaces; and

2. The park needs of rural communities which are primarily located in the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Santa Monica Mountains.

Read more:


Can Parks Leverage Libraries?
Courtesy of NRPA

By Noah Lenstra, Ph.D., MLIS, and Teresa L. Penbrooke, Ph.D., CPRE

Lorain County Metro Parks (Ohio) and the library found common ground centered around the promotion of health and wellness. Both had pre-existing relationships with the local health department, which served as a third key partner, providing crucial financial assistance and logistical advice.

“Our worlds came together [through] the conduit of the health district, with which we both have very strong relationships,” says Ziemnik. “We are three organizations, and through a compounding of talents and reach, we get so many more benefits.”

Early and open conversations built a climate of trust and transparency, which eventually led to the Go Lorain Bike Share, a collaboration with Lorain County Public Health, Lorain County Metro Parks and the Lorain County Community Action Agency.

Read more:


Webinar: How to Advocate for Your Agency and Federal Relief Funding
Courtesy of NRPA

Date: Thursday, April 8, 2021
Time: 2:00 pm Eastern
Cost: free for NRPA Premier Members, $35 for all other members and $50 for nonmembers

The COVID-19 pandemic made obvious what professionals have known for a long time: parks and recreation services are not just public amenities, but essential services that communities need. As the new Congress and the Biden administration start to address the critical issues facing our country, park and recreation professionals need effective advocacy practices to ensure that community services and needs are a part of the nation’s recovery. Join us for a webinar on Thursday, April 8 at 2 p.m. EDT, as we introduce you to NRPA’s public policy and advocacy team, provide an outline of advocacy priorities, and identify how your agency can take advantage of federal relief funding through the American Rescue Plan.


NACPRO | PO Box 74, Marienville, PA 16239 | (814) 927-8212