September 28, 2021

In This Issue...

Best Practices Forum
Welcome New Members
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 October 26, 2021.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by October 25.

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

NACPRO's Sponsors

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Job Announcements

NEW - Parks and Recreation Director
Oakland County Parks
Waterford, Michigan
$123,636 - $165,647 Annually
Closing date: Oct 18, 2021

NEW - Division Managers: 
Community Services Division and Recreation Division
City of San Jose Dept of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services
San Jose, California
$112,792 - $172,276 Annually
Closing date: Oct 25, 2021

NEW - Park Equipment Operator - Temporary Assignment
Santa Clara County Parks
Los Gatos, California
$67,945 - $82,110 Annually
Closing date: Oct 15, 2021

Senior Design & Development Supervisor
Whatcom County Parks & Recreation
Bellingham, Washington
$6,259 - $8,430 Monthly
Closing date: Oct 29, 2021

Director of Brand Strategy and Community Engagement
Glenview Park District
Glenview, Illinois
$80,000 - $95,000 Annually
Closing date: Oct 3, 2021

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.


Welcome New Members

Ms. Lorrie Pearson, Executive Director
Champaign County Forest Preserve District, Illinois

Ms. Jai Cole, Executive Director
Fairfax County Park Authority, Virginia


Member News

Bringing home the gold: Cleveland Metroparks honored as nation's top park system
Courtesy of Freshwater

OHIO - The 2021 Summer Olympics may be a memory, but Cleveland Metroparks is standing proudly atop the recreational field as the nation’s best park system.

Earlier this week, Cleveland Metroparks won the 2021 National Gold Medal “Best in Nation” Award for Excellence in Parks and Recreation Management.

Announced at the 2021 National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) conference in Nashville, Tennessee, the award marks the highest national honor in the parks and recreation field.

Read more


New Fairfax Park Authority Executive Director Named
Courtesy of Fairfax County

VIRGINIA - The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors affirmed the selection of Jai Cole as Executive Director of the Park Authority today, voting to accept the recommendation of the Fairfax County Park Authority Board. Cole, a park professional with more than two decades of leadership experience with award-winning recreation and park agencies will begin immediately, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Park Authority Executive Director Kirk Kincannon earlier this year.

Cole comes to the Park Authority from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery Parks (M-NCPPC, Montgomery Parks) where she served as Chief of the Park Planning and Stewardship Division since 2018.

Read more


County Parks Wins Awards for Communication, Marketing Initiatives
Courtesy of Palm Beach

FLORIDA - The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department (PBC Parks) was selected by the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA) as the recipient of two awards for unique communication and marketing initiatives.

PBC Parks received the Silver Circle Award in the Digital Interactive – Other Media category for the Power of Parks podcast, a podcast produced entirely in-house by department staff. Power of Parks features inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks, and recreation, and include interviews from members of the community and beyond, including a news anchor, Paralympic athletes, and volunteers.

The department also received the Award of Excellence in the category of Graphic Design – Other (population 100,000+) for a series of Interpretive Nature Signage Redesigns completed in early 2021. The project was a major initiative to redesign 15 outdated, run down, and irrelevant educational signs along a nature center trail and nature boardwalk at Daggerwing Nature Center in Boca Raton, and Okeeheelee Nature Center in West Palm Beach. Much of the work, including coordination, design, and installation, was done in-house by department staff.

Read more


Johnson County parks board approves diversity statement, nearly unchanged from draft criticized by commissioner
Courtesy of the Shawnee Mission Post

By Roxie Hammill

KANSAS - After a month of reconsideration, the county park district board approved a diversity and inclusion statement almost identical to one a county commissioner had decried as promoting “critical race theory.”

The unanimous vote let most of the original language stand that had been criticized by Johnson County Commissioner Charlotte O’Hara a month ago.

The statement recognizes that certain barriers exist that create disparities among the public. The only significant change was the addition of “physical” to the types of barriers that may limit opportunities of some people, including access to park facilities.

Commissioner O’Hara told the board members in August that the statement was divisive and that there is no systemic racism in Johnson County. She offered her own version as a possible substitute.

Read more


Online nature videos featuring Will County Forest Preserves gaining buzz, locally and nationally
Courtesy of the Daily Southtown

By Bill Jones

ILLINOIS - "The Buzz" takes host Suzy Lyttle to lesser-known Forest Preserve of Will County properties, such as Huyck’s Grove in Wilton Township.

When the Forest Preserve District of Will County set out in the summer of 2020 to do a monthly nature show as a way to stay connected with forest preserve users amid the COVID-19 pandemic, host Suzy Lyttle said they knew from the start they wanted a very specific vibe: educational and informative but laid back, something with which people could connect.

“We don’t want to just give a book report,” Lyttle said “We want to make sure this is exciting.”

The result, a program called “The Buzz,” connected not only with users of the forest preserves but also the National Association of County Parks and Recreation Officials. The organization recognized the show earlier this year with a 2020 award in the Marketing and Communications division. NACPRO recognizes excellence in parks and recreation across the nation, and its award committee noted it was impressed with the quality and humor of the Will County show.

Read more


Research and Resources

People, Parks, and Power - Call for Proposals
Courtesy of NRPA

People, Parks, and Power (P3) is a joint effort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, led and managed by Prevention Institute. P3 will support community-based organizations and base-building groups working in urban, low-income communities of color across the United States to increase park equity through local policy and systems change.

The People, Parks, and Power (P3) Call for Proposals is now open. Letters of intent are due by November 4, 2021.

We’ll be hosting an optional applicant webinar on September 29, 2021, at 1PM Eastern. On the webinar, you’ll learn more about eligibility and selection criteria and hear answers to frequently asked questions. A recording of the webinar will be posted on

For more information:


New Resource to Help Engage the Next Generation of Environmental Stewards
Courtesy of NRPA

By Michele White

Within our field’s work, we know that stewards and volunteers are key to the success of natural spaces and natural resource-focused efforts — not only providing vocal support but helping to establish, maintain, and conduct educational outreach. Through NRPA research, we know while most communities have groups that are passionate about these spaces and are eager to assist with these efforts, this population generally skews older, whiter, and wealthier than the community as a whole. But communities of color, and in particular young people, are passionate about the environment and are often at the forefront of finding solutions to some of our most pressing environmental issues. So, it begs the question, “Why don't we see greater participation within stewardship or volunteer programs, that reflect the love, experience, and knowledge of these communities?” There is a multitude of reasons that this problem exists in natural resource and conservation efforts, but one we must address.

To help address this, NRPA partnered with Justice Outside and received support from Citgo Petroleum Corporation to create a resource to help park professionals engage diverse groups and youth in conservation issues: Engaging Diverse Groups in Building Community Resiliency through Stewardship. The resource provides a process, resources, as well as case studies, to help professionals thoughtfully explore how to engage in community building work around natural resources and conservation efforts. It specifically focuses on partnership building & community trust, community engagement and communications, and planning events. It also allows space to reflect on your current practices and how you, your agency, and your community are engaged in this work.

Read more:


Using Cell Phone Location Data for Park Planning
Courtesy of Planetizen

By Clement Lau

Park planning has become increasingly data-driven. For example, the use of geographic information systems (GIS) for mapping and analysis is now commonplace for large public park agencies, as explained in previous Planetizen articles, "How GIS Helps Plan Parks" and "How the National Park Service Uses GIS." Many have also conducted and are continuing to update parks needs assessments to gather and analyze data to help inform planning and resource allocation decisions, as exemplified in recent articles like "Seeking Public Input on Regional and Rural Park Needs," "Understanding Regional and Rural Park and Recreation Needs," and "Rural Parks Planning Underway in Los Angeles County."

The use of location data from mobile devices is one of the latest trends in data-driven park planning. Specifically, the use of such data for studies on park visitors can be more affordable and accurate than conducting in-person counts and/or surveys at parks. In this article, Adi Reske of Unacast summarizes a conversation with Dr. Jamie Saxon, with the University of Chicago, regarding how location data is being used in the public sector and the different ways it can help create better public parks.

Read more:


Next-generation Global Coastal Risk Screening Tool Now Available
Courtesy of Climate Central

Two major upgrades to our Coastal Risk Screening Toolset Climate Central apart as the source of the world's most accurate global coastal flood risk maps. Now incorporating the newest sea-level projections from the IPCC and the next generation of our digital elevation model, Climate Central maps and risk assessments offer the best available global view of coastal communities' future flood threats. Our video tutorial explores the features and options available to visualize coastal flood risks for nearly every coastline on Earth.

For more information:


Designing Public Spaces to Promote Intergenerational Play & Recreation
Courtesy of PlayCore

While most will recognize the importance of intergenerational settings, where the physical environment is designed to accommodate the physical and psychological needs of people across the age and ability spectrum, there needs to be an equal consideration to the ways these environments afford opportunities for meaningful engagement between members of different generations.

The book shares evidence-based research on the importance of intergenerational park and recreation settings, provides a rich overview on designing settings that can promote intergenerational activities, gives an overview of marketing, programming and evaluation tactics, and shares a variety of different case studies where communities have created successful intergenerational environments.

For more information:


Floating Wetlands Planned for Inner Harbor to Revive Urban Ecosystems, Clean Water
Courtesy of Maryland Matters

By Elizabeth Shwe

MARYLAND - The Inner Harbor was once lined with tidal salt marshes, only a few feet deep and teeming with aquatic life.

But Baltimore became a major industrial city by the early 19th century. Marshes were dredged out, replaced by piers and deepwater shipping ports with depths as great as 25 feet.

Now the National Aquarium is trying to recreate those rich tidal marshes of yore by building an oasis of floating wetlands at the aquarium’s campus off Pratt Street. It will be open for the public to visit when it is complete in about two years, said Jack Cover, general curator of living exhibits at the National Aquarium.

Read more:


Introducing the Anti Racism in the Outdoors Resource Guide
Courtesy of The Joy Trip Project

The Joy Trip Project is pleased to announce the release of the Anti-Racism in the Outdoor Resource Guide. Created by Dr. Don Rakow of Cornell University and Laura Brown of the University of Connecticut this annotated bibliography is a detailed list of articles and online content references that explore the complex issues of racial disparities in the equitable access of all people to the outdoors.

In partnership with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison, this new resource guide will be shared in a free Zoom panel discussion titled Everyone’s Earth: Conversations on Race and Environment on Thursday, September 30th at 11:30 AM Central Time.

Read more:


Youth explore streams, fishing as part of STREAM program
Courtesy of the Warren Times Observer

By Brian Ferry

PENNSYLVANIA - Macroinvertebrates, tying flies, riparian buffers, career path options, and mountain pies.

Trout Unlimited, Chapman State Park, and the Northern Allegheny Outdoor Women’s Association worked together on the STREAM Girls program to introduce some local youth to the science and fun that can be found in their local waters.

“STREAM Girls is Trout Unlimited’s Watershed STEM program that builds confidence and breaks down barriers in science and the outdoors,” according to Trout Unlimited. “Through the eyes of a scientist, artist, and angler, girls make a personal connection to their home waters.”

The girls heard career information from some female role models in those fields — Moore, DCNR Cornplanter District Forester Cecile Stelter, and Warren County Conservation District Watershed Specialist Jean Gomory.

Read more:


Be Trail Kind - Trails Are Common Ground Initiative Launches
Courtesy of American Trails

Trails are Common Ground™ is a proactive, growing, and inclusive national community of passionate trail users woven together by a love for trails and respect for one another. Together, we are dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment every time anyone steps, rides, or rolls onto the trail.

We don’t have to tell you that it’s been getting pretty crowded out on the trails lately. On the one hand, it’s great that so many people are enjoying the outdoors. On the other hand, sometimes we struggle to understand each other on the trail.

Read more:


In the News

Carolyn McKnight-Fredd Named Chair-Elect of NRPA
Courtesy of NRPA

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation, today announced the election of Carolyn McKnight-Fredd, CPRP, as chair-elect of its board of directors.

“On behalf of our entire board and staff, we are thrilled for Carolyn to take on this role,” said NRPA President and CEO Kristine Stratton. “During her more than three decades in parks and recreation, Carolyn has earned multiple awards for her work, leadership and service to the profession. She has the skills, passion and experience to strengthen NRPA and show that parks are essential to creating a better life for everyone.”

McKnight retired from her role as superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission (BREC) in 2019 and has since founded Eagle Methods Management Consulting in Dallas. She brings civilian and military experience to bear, having served with distinction for more than 27 years, retiring from the Air National Guard at the rank of Colonel (O6), the first African American woman ever to achieve the rank in the history of the state of Texas.

Read more:


These Green Bay parks will soon have free internet access
Courtesy of the Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Natalie Eilbert

WISCONSIN - The Green Bay City Council approved roughly $253,000 in federal CARES Act funds Tuesday night to essentially turn four public parks into giant "hotspots" through the installation of wireless internet service.

The approval is a win for low- to moderate-income residents who have struggled to access the internet in an age where Zoom has become the norm for professional and social engagements and school-age children who need internet access to complete schoolwork — or attend classes — online.

Read more


BLM to relocate headquarters from Grand Junction, Colorado to Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of NACo

By Jonathan Shuffield, Aaliyah Nedd

On September 17, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the relocation of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) headquarters back to Washington, D.C. BLM completed its relocation to Grand Junction in August 2020, a year after the initial announcement. Secretary Haaland outlined the director and other leadership positions would be permanently stationed in Washington D.C., while the Grand Junction office will be converted to a “Western Hub.”

The Trump Administration announced the relocation of BLM headquarters to Grand Junction in 2019, and the process took over a year to complete. Of the 328 positions moved out of Washington, D.C., only 41 of the affected employees relocated.

Read more:



Webinar: Empowering Professionals to Dismantle Health Inequities and Systemic Racism in Parks and Recreation
Courtesy of PlayCore

DATE: Wednesday, September 29, 2021
TIME: 2:00 to 3:15 pm EST

Research indicates predominately White communities are far more likely to take advantage of the numerous health benefits of public parks as compared to communities of color. What is the cause of this racial and ethnic disparity in park use? What are opportunities for play and recreational professionals to drive health equity in their communities? Join an esteemed panel to learn about how centuries of oppression and structural racism have excluded people of color from public parks and discuss future-driven solutions to deliver equitable public spaces that benefit all.

For more information:


Webinar: Planning, Purchasing, and Protecting Play and Recreational Surfacing
Courtesy of PlayCore

DATE: Wednesday, October 6, 2021
TIME: 2:00 to 3:15 pm EST

Choosing an appropriate playground surfacing is one of the most important factors in developing a safe outdoor play environment. Learn how to raise awareness about some considerations to make when planning, purchasing, and protecting your play or recreation area. Case examples are highlighted to provide a comprehensive overview on the features and benefits of the variety of types of safety surfaces available. Considerations are also explored to enhance play value The webinar will offer planning checklists, resources, and inspection tools to help assist in simplifying the selection, installation, and maintenance process to ensure the safety and enjoyment of users.

For more information:


Oregon Outdoor Recreation Summit
Courtesy of American Trails

October 17-23, 2021

American Trails is partnering with Oregon Trails Coalition and offering learning credits for FREE to attendees of their Oregon Outdoor Recreation Summit taking place October 17-23, 2021.

The Oregon Outdoor Recreation Summit brings together Oregon’s outdoor community to learn, build relationships, and find solutions to the challenges we face in developing and elevating outdoor recreation opportunities to best serve Oregon communities and celebrate and protect our natural, cultural, and historic wonders.

The 2021 summit is a statewide, virtual event supplemented by regional, in-person outdoor stewardship events, and in-field learning opportunities.

For more information:


Webinar: Trail Ambassador Programs: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices
Courtesy of American Trails

October 28, 2021
1:00 to 2:30 PM Eastern time

Trail ambassador programs can be a boon to any trail or trail system. They build local engagement, help identify and solve deferred maintenance issues, and turn casual users into lifelong advocates. We've gathered together leaders of some of the best ambassador programs across the nation, representing a variety of trail user types, to share best practices and offer sage advice for starting programs for your trail. We have made this a two-part webinar series to showcase great examples and resources that will focus on providing ample time for answering your most burning questions.

Join us for Part 2 in January 2022 (or view the recording).

For more information:

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