August 31, 2021

In This Issue...

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 September 14, 2021.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by September 13.

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

NACPRO's Sponsors

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Job Announcements

NEW - Assistant Director of Facility Operations
Fox Valley Park District
Aurora, Illinois
Salary: $58,000 - $80,000 /yr
Closing date: Sep 20, 2021

NEW - Park Ranger Supervisor
Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department
Los Gatos, California
Salary: $109,458 - $133,078 /yr
Closing date: Sep 20, 2021

Executive Director
Belvidere Park District
Belvidere, Illinois
Salary: $93,000 - $116,000 /yr
Closing date: Sep 15, 2021

Assistant Director
Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation
Alhambra, California
Salary: $135,642 - $210,951 /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:

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.


Member News

NRPA Announces 2021-2022 Board of Directors

Congratulations to Arnold Randall, NACPRO member, on his appointment to the NRPA Board!

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation, is proud to announce its 2021-2022 Board of Directors. Board Chair Michael P. Kelly, general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, and Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO, welcome three new board members — all top executives and senior leaders in their respective fields.

“I am excited to welcome three new members to the board who bring together expertise in strategic marketing, environmental philanthropy, and park and recreation management,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. “Their vision, unique perspectives and combined talents will strengthen NRPA and help propel the organization and field of parks and recreation forward. I look forward to working with them to promote parks and recreation’s role as an essential service for our communities.”

NRPA’s three new Board members are:

- Rebecca Armstrong, co-founder and CEO, North
- Mollie Marsh-Heine, senior vice president of development, Earthjustice
- Arnold L. Randall, general superintendent, Forest Preserves of Cook County

Read more:


Dumbarton Quarry Campground on the Bay: Grand Opening Celebration Event
Courtesy of Easy Bay Regional Park District

CALIFORNIA - Located on the site of a former rock quarry that contributed to the development of much of the East Bay’s early freeways, bridges, and roads infrastructure, the campground is East Bay Regional Park District’s first urban campground developed along the San Francisco Bay and one of the newest large campgrounds opened in California in three decades.

The campground development is a story of creative innovation, local reuse, and a strong public/private partnership to create a publicly accessible urban parkland amenity serving the growing East Bay region’s diverse population. The 60-acre site was built without the use of taxpayer funds for $15 million by the Oliver DeSilva Company, former owner of the rock quarry that operated on the same land since the 1950s.

Read more:


Research and Resources

Autism Trail seeks to break down barriers to deep nature
Courtesy of Adirondack Daily Enterprise

By James Brown

NEW YORK - Deep in Letchworth State Park, Catherine Abida and her son Ali sat on a bench in a pine tree-lined oasis.

“What do you like about this trail?” Abida asked him. “The rocks? The trees? The benches?”

The trees,” Ali responded.

Ali is 14. He has autism and is minimally verbal. He and his mom live in Albany. It takes them about four hours to drive to Letchworth, but they wanted to see the soon-to-open Autism Nature Trail — also known as the ANT.

After watching her son enjoy himself in the company of strangers, calmly looking at the trees and up at the sky, Abida said she once thought this kind of moment was impossible.

Read more:


How Bicycling Builds Equitable Communities
Courtesy of PlayCore

Designing a public realm that supports walking and bicycling is about more than getting people to exercise, improving the environment, or attracting talented young workers. It is also about respect, dignity, and the right to mobility for all people. Not everyone can drive a car (everyone under 16), or can afford to drive one, or even chooses to do so. The way we design our public roads should be safe for all users, including people riding bicycles. Bicycling is a fun recreational activity, but for many it is also just a practical way of getting from point A to B. According to the United States Census Bureau, a majority of bicycle riders representing diverse ethnic backgrounds rode bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. Although bicycling rates do not vary much by income, it seems likely that economically-disadvantaged persons cycle mainly for work trips and utilitarian purposes, while higher income persons cycle for exercise and recreation

Read more:


Next 100 Colorado Mentorship Program
Courtesy of the Next 100 Coalition

The Next 100 Colorado Mentorship Program is a roughly six-month program for a cohort of 10 mentors and 10 mentees designed to help connect Colorado's emerging and seasoned leaders of color through a series of partnerships, network formation, and leadership building. The first round of the Mentorship Program wrapped up in early 2021.

For more information:


Digging Into the Numbers Behind the Pandemic Trail Boom
Courtesy of American Trails

By Matt Ainsley

For park managers and everyday users, the 2020 boom in trail use is well known. With pandemic restrictions in place, the outdoors became ‘essential spaces’ for people to safely recreate, gather and escape during an incredibly difficult time. Across the country, trail use skyrocketed during the pandemic, up 79% between March and July 2020 according to data from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. From local forest paths to national parks and large outdoor recreational destinations, trails volumes reached new heights in 2020. Consumers felt the pressure too, with outdoor recreation goods near-impossible to find. Bike shops, for example, saw unprecedented demand in 2020 and the industry is still reeling from supply shortages and long waits.

So, with that said, let’s take a whirlwind tour around the country to dig into some trail count data to better understand how the pandemic has actually impacted trail use… First, let’s go to the west coast.

Read more:


The first-ever public transit option to the Michigan's Metroparks is coming
Courtesy of Fox 2 Detroit

By Alexander Coger-Bonet

MICHIGAN - For the first time, people will be able to take public transportation to one of the Metroparks throughout the area.

With the help of a new mobile app, residents can schedule a pick-up from one of the SMART bus stations and be taken to Lake St. Clair Metropark.

The new transit option is part of Metropark Express, a pilot program run by the Metroparks in Southeast Michigan and the SMART bus system in Detroit.

Read more:


How to Build a Cost-Effective Gaming Center
Courtesy of NRPA

By Ivy O’Shaughnessy and Greg Boehm

As esports continue to grow and evolve, local park districts and communities are learning more and more about ways to engage youth and adult gamers alike.

One way of growing your community’s esports program is by creating a gaming center (or a LAN — local area network — center) where community members can use gaming personal computers (PCs) or consoles. However, this does not have to be limited to just esports and gaming. It also can be used for programs in game design, 3D animation and many other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

What are some of the most important things to consider when just beginning the process of setting up a gaming center? We talked to Pat Bodame, superintendent of recreation for Hoffman Estates, Illinois, who just recently finished the process of creating a gaming center in their community — known as the ESports Zone — to get some insight into the process.

Read more:


How to Fight Climate Change and Increase Resiliency, Naturally
Courtesy of Planetizen

By Diana Ionescu

As climate change poses an increasingly urgent threat, writes Zak Smith, "[t]he United States and other countries can immediately expand investment and support for natural climate solutions that provide the triple benefit of reducing emissions, taking carbon out of the atmosphere, and increasing the resiliency of the natural world." Focusing on restoration and resilience will put ecosystems "in a better position to withstand climate change impacts, which means they’ll be more likely to continue providing the foundational natural building blocks we rely upon for human life, like clean air, clean water, food security, and flood control."

Natural climate solutions, argues Smith, "provide an opportunity to bring everyone to the table. To avoid the mistakes of the past, we must include the voices of communities that have been and will be disproportionately burdened by the impacts of climate change and the industries creating our global warming nightmare."

Read more:


Wildlife and Trails Primer - How Wildlife Responds to Trails
Courtesy of American Trails

Impacts of a trail will depend on the type of trail use (e.g., hiking, snowmobiling, biking). These uses do not represent a continuum with hikers at the low-impact end and motorized recreationists at the high end; wildlife impacts are more complicated than that.

That is why, for example, some wildlife refuges allow auto tours but not walking tours because many wildlife species are less fearful of people in vehicles.

Paradoxically, bird watching and other forms of nature viewing that intentionally seek out close encounters with wildlife may have a significant impact.

Read more:


Dog Days of Summer: When Heat Endangers Pets
Courtesy of Climate Central

With climate change making our summers hotter and longer, pets can be at increased risk from heat-related illnesses and burning pavement.

As air temperatures rise, pavement gets much hotter in the sunlight. At 86°F, the surface temperature jumps to 135°F. At 87°F, only one degree more, the asphalt temperature rises to 143°F. How do you know if it’s too hot for unprotected paws? Place the back of your hand on the pavement. If it’s too hot to hold it there for more than 7 seconds, find somewhere grassy or shaded to walk your dog. Or change your walk time to early morning or late in the evening when the temperature is cooler and the sun is lower in the sky.

Physical activity during high temperatures increases the risk of heat stress or heat stroke in dogs. A study of veterinary records of dogs in the U.K. found that exercise triggered nearly three-quarters (74.2%) of all heat-related illnesses, compared to 5% that were due to being confined in a vehicle.

Read more:


Atlantic City enhances public safety with new interactive software
Courtesy of WHYY

By Kaamil Jones

NEW JERSEY - Mayor Marty Small Sr. of Atlantic City has announced a new partnership between Atlantic City Beach Patrol public safety entities and Watchtower, a software that allows the city to interact with residents and visitors before they go to the beach.

The software will be featured on the city’s website. Residents and visitors will have access to information about beaches, threats to public safety, and safest places to surf.

Read more:


Can Augmented Reality Change How People Experience Cities?
Courtesy of

By Julia Edinger

Cities — like Buffalo, N.Y., and Fairfax, Va. — are beginning to use augmented reality to enhance the way residents and visitors interact with the urban landscape around them. The efforts are part of a larger move to boost tourism, the economy and overall community experiences.

Augmented reality can enhance visitor experiences by overlaying imagery or information about a place on the screen of a smartphone. Imagine a historical site brought to life through virtual interaction — perhaps a historical figure describes the importance of the area or a virtual docent gives a tour. One such example is a project in Charlotte, N.C., that will soon provide visitors with a historic perspective of razed Black neighborhoods through a virtual replica.

Read more:


In the News

Why Biden’s NPS Director Nominee Matters More than Ever
Courtesy of Outside Online

By Wes Siler

Last week the Biden administration announced it’s nominating Charles “Chuck” Sams, a Navy veteran, conservationist, and member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, for director of the National Park Service. He faces a long list of challenges: first, he must pass a Senate confirmation. If confirmed, Sams will be the first Native American to lead the NPS. He’ll also run an agency besieged by extreme weather caused by climate change, a staff depleted by the Trump administration, and a surge in public visitation.

But perhaps Sams’s biggest challenge will be in charting a new path for an agency that’s gone without a director for over four years. I sat down with Jon Jarvis, who ran the Park Service during the Obama administration, to find out why.

Read more:


Federal Recreational Trails Program Underfunded by $200M+ Per Year
Courtesy of StreetsBlog USA

By Kea Wilson

Gas taxes on off-road recreational vehicles alone bring in three times more federal revenue than is spent building the trails themselves, a new federal study finds — and that’s before factoring in all the money that the users of non-gas-powered vehicles save highway agencies by opting not to drive.

But rather than doing what’s fair — tripling funding for trails to at least $250 million a year — the latest Senate infrastructure bill would maintain the status quo.

Read more:


Is It Finally Time for the Backpack Tax?
Courtesy of

By Christine Peterson

People hate taxes. But the idea of taxing outdoor gear to help pay for conservation should be unifying, explains Tawney, the CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. So instead, he suggests, let’s call it an Outdoor Legacy Fund. Let’s describe it as an opportunity for everyone who enjoys the outdoors to help contribute to the protection of that same outdoors. Because hunters and anglers can’t keep paying more than half of the bill to protect the nation’s fish and wildlife through their license fees and excise taxes, especially when only 4 percent of the U.S. population hunts and only 14 percent fishes. But ultimately, the “backpack tax” or Outdoor Legacy Fund or whatever it’s billed as, is, in fact, a tax—one Tawney feels gets more critical as outdoor participation continues to surge. He also thinks that, even after decades of fruitless discussion, it’s finally gaining steam.

Read more:


Amazon Lockers Will Net Park District $137,600 At Most for First Year, Contract Shows
Courtesy of Block Club Chicago

By Mina Bloom

ILLINOIS - The Chicago Park District is set to make $89,900-$137,600 in its first full year of allowing retail giant Amazon to install controversial delivery lockers in more than 100 public parks — and critics say the amount doesn’t justify the intrusion.

Block Club obtained the Park District’s contract with Amazon through a public records request after several lockers were installed on sidewalks, partially blocking them, in parks earlier this month.

The Park District is also catching heat from the city’s small business community for partnering with Amazon when mom-and-pop shops across the city have struggled to survive the pandemic.

Read more:


First phase of Atlanta's largest park to officially open next week
Courtesy of Urbanize Atlanta

By Josh Green

GEORGIA - Following 15 years of planning across three mayoral administrations and more than a year of pandemic-induced delays, the first phase of what's expected to be Atlanta’s largest park will open to the public next week.

Expect large sculptures, a playground and open fields, plus two and ½ miles of ADA-accessible bike and walking trails linked to the marquee attraction: the “grand overlook” on high cliffs of the former quarry.

Eventually, Westside Park is slated to expand across 280 acres, dwarfing Piedmont Park by nearly 100 acres as the largest in Atlanta.

Read more:


Accessible Design Features in Everyday Life
Courtesy of

In commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) today, the U.S. Access Board is spotlighting some common accessible design features that make everyday life easier for everyone, including people without disabilities.

To celebrate the anniversary of the ADA, please share this list of accessible design features with your friends and neighbors to help the Access Board build awareness of the importance of accessible design.

Here are 7 accessible design features in everyday life:

1. Ramps and Curb Ramps...

Read more:


Carbon-Offset Forests Are Burning Up in Wildfires
Courtesy of Planetizen

Forests "that are part of carbon-offset projects meant to counterbalance the carbon dioxide pollution being pumped into the atmosphere by human activity" are burning up in the fires consuming the American West, reports Winston Choi-Schagrin. "An estimated 153,000 acres of forests that are part of California’s carbon-offset project have burned so far this summer, according to CarbonPlan, a nonprofit climate-research organization." In Oregon, the Bootleg Fire has claimed nearly 100,000 acres of the Klamath East conservation project.

"California’s carbon offset program works by paying landowners if they commit to managing their land for 100 years in ways that will store more carbon than they would have otherwise. Companies that want to offset their own emissions of greenhouse gases can then buy credits that represent the additional carbon being stored in forests like these."

Read more:


National monument becomes a double-edged sword for a Utah county
Courtesy of NACo

By Charlie Ban

UTAH - When Sheriff Danny Perkins gets a call that someone is missing in Garfield County, Utah, that person is probably on the extreme end of missing.

“I have hundreds of miles to check trailheads looking for a vehicle to even start a search area,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest challenges I have as sheriff. Most times we get a missing person call, it’s been a few days already.”

It’s Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, the largest national monument in the Bureau of Land Management’s portfolio, but also bereft of many of the features visitors come to expect from National Park Service land.

“The problem is that people are naïve — they went down to see the staircase, but the monument is not like a national park… there’s really nothing there,” Perkins said. “There’s no marked trail, there are no facilities, there’s nothing… so they start to hike, and they get lost, they’ll come out miles from their vehicles.”

Read more:



Webinar: Advancing Community Wellness Hubs through Partnerships
Courtesy of NRPA

September 9, 2021, 2-3 p.m. EDT

To address today’s evolving public health challenges, park and recreation professionals are becoming stewards of community wellness hubs — trusted gathering places that connect every member of the community to essential programs, services, and spaces that advance health equity, improve health outcomes and enhance quality of life. These wellness hubs look different in every community and are most successful when they build authentic and meaningful partnerships that work towards shared goals. Join us to learn more about the crucial role of community wellness hubs, the diversity of programs and services being offered, and the types of partnerships that can propel these models forward to create even greater impacts.

For more information:


Webinar: Path to 30 x 30 - Aligning Conservation, Equity, and Recreation

Date: September 15, 2021
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET
Cost: Free
Organization: Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP)

President Biden issued an executive order establishing a national goal to conserve at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and freshwater and 30 percent of U.S. ocean areas by 2030, in an initiative commonly referred to as 30x30. In follow-up last month, The Department of the Interior, in coordination with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, and the Council on Environmental Quality, recommended a ten-year “America the Beautiful Campaign” in a report to the National Climate Task Force on how the Biden-Harris Administration should implement 30x30. Join our expert panel in a discussion centered on the progress and implementation of this audacious initiative - and highlighting opportunities for advancing outdoor recreation as it moves forward.

For more information:


Climate & Outdoor Recreation // Civilian Climate Corps

Date: September 22, 2021
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET
Cost: Free
Organization: Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP)

A part of a proposed American Jobs Plan calls for $10 billion to launch a new large-scale 21st century CCC to combat the 21st century problem. The Civilian Climate Corps, as it would be called, would employ thousands of young people to address the threat of climate change, strengthen the country's natural defenses and maintain its ailing public lands. A number of congressional bills related to a civilian climate corps have been introduced recently. Join our panel in sorting through what's on the table, what's on the horizon, where there is alignment with outdoor recreation, and potential steps to implementation.

For more information:


2021 National Outdoor Recreation Conference
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: November 8-10, 2021
Location: Online
Organization: Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP)

Call for presentation proposals, deadline September 10, 2021

These are pivotal times for outdoor recreation and the theme for this specific conference is "Outdoor Recreation: From Resilience to Transformation". This conference will dive into examples of successful outdoor recreation research, planning, and/or management that demonstrate transformability in response to changing conditions and disruption. What is transformability? On the spectrum of resilience, adaptability, and transformability, transformability is "the capacity to create a fundamentally new system when ecological, economic, and/or social conditions make the existing system untenable." (Walker, B.H. and D. Salt. 2006. Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World.) Expert presenters will share stories and examples from the field of transformative solutions of any scale that address the biggest challenges in outdoor recreation – whether they be social, environmental, or economic.

Specifically, SORP plans to offer four distinct tracks:
1. Access & Experience
2. Climate & Conservation
3. Justice & Reconciliation
4. Regionalism & Collaboratives

For more information:

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