October 26, 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 November 9, 2021.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by November 8.

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

NACPRO's Sponsors

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Job Announcements

Executive Director
Carbondale Park District, Illinois
$75,000 - $90,000 Annually
Closing date: Nov 5, 2021

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


Member News

AAPRA Honors 2021 Pugsley Medal Recipients
Courtesy of NRPA

On September 15, two prominent Illinois local park and conservation leaders and a leader in the National Park Service — Elizabeth S. Kessler, executive director of the McHenry County Conservation District, Illinois; Arnold Randall, general superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Illinois, and NRPA board member; and John J. Reynolds, former National Park Service employee — received the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration’s (AAPRA) Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medal. The Pugsley Medals are prestigious awards that recognize outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of public parks and conservation in the United States.

Congratulations to NACPRO members Elizabeth Kessler and Arnold Randall!

For more information:


On The Road to Remediation
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Darwin Baranski and Brian Keenan-Lechel

MICHIGAN - Saginaw River Headwaters Rec Area is giving a long-abandoned piece of property a new lease on life.

Located in the city of Saginaw, Mich., the project site is a 334-acre, one-million-square-foot, automobile-manufacturing complex, known as Saginaw Malleable Iron (SMI). The foundry was established in 1917 and sold to General Motors in 1919 before closing in 2007. During its 90-year lifespan, SMI was at the forefront of technological innovation for manufacturing malleable-iron automotive components from sand-mold castings.

The proposed site masterplan will focus on habitat and wetland restoration, protection, and preservation of historical assets, together with appropriate improvements to accommodate accessible human interaction. Habitat restoration will introduce and manage vegetation consistent with the ecology of the watershed to enhance conditions for the abundance of current wildlife on-site. One of the initiatives includes the eradication of Phragmites, a prevalent invasive species that has displaced wetland plant communities throughout the watershed.

Read more:


Research and Resources

Share Your Feedback on Nature-Based Health Interventions/Prescriptions
Courtesy of GP RED

On behalf of Dr. Carissa Smock, we invite you to participate in a research survey regarding Perceptions of Knowledge and Experience in Nature-based Health Interventions/Prescriptions.

Dr. Smock is a faculty member at Northcentral University and is conducting research as a part of the Parks and Green Space work group of the Physical Activity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (PAPREN). PAPREN is a CDC funded thematic research network to support local, state, and national level policy approaches to influence physical activity opportunities. This research study will allow the organization to better understand your knowledge and experience in nature-based health interventions/prescriptions.

We are recruiting individuals who are currently employed or volunteering as a recreation, land management, health, planning, or allied professional

The activities for this research project will include a complete an online survey for 5 - 7 minutes.

If you have questions, please contact Dr. Smock at [email protected]


Can parks help lower health care costs? New efforts in Southeast Michigan say yes
Courtesy of the Keel

By Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder

MICHIGAN - Getting outdoors has long been linked to good health, but recent efforts across Southeast Michigan show that the region's parks provide major, measurable benefits to residents' well-being.

The growing connection between the region's parks and community health has been "astounding," especially since last year's COVID-19 lockdowns, according to Amy McMillan, director of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. McMillan points to a recent economic study commissioned by the Metroparks and completed by The Trust for Public Land (TPL). Released last October, the study found that the 13-park system (serving Washtenaw, Macomb, Oakland, Livingston, and Wayne counties) generates over $90 million annually in economic benefits, and millions more in environmental and health benefits.

Read more:


Study: Climate change could reduce outdoor recreation on public lands
Courtesy of KUNR Public Radio

By Noah Glick

Nevada celebrated its fifth annual public lands day over the weekend with events and free park admission, all designed to get more people outdoors. However, a new report in the journal Global Environmental Change estimates that as the planet warms up due to climate change, demand for outdoor recreation on public lands could go down.

That could have significant impacts on Nevada, a state that brings in billions from the outdoor recreation industry every year.

Dr. Emily Wilkins is the lead author of the study, and she spoke about the research with KUNR Morning Edition host Noah Glick.

Read or listen here:


Dementia Friendly Forest and Sensory Trail
Courtesy of

AUSTRALIA - Situated on the edge of the Woowookarung Regional Park, the Dementia Friendly Forest and Sensory Trail provides a gorgeous native sensory garden and sensory cue trail in a peaceful bushland setting. The trail is designed to evoke positive feelings, sensations and memories for people living with dementia. Visitors can see, smell, touch and hear nature through a series of short walks, sitting areas and viewing points along the way. Designed in collaboration with people living with dementia and their caregivers, this innovative trail is accessible for wheelchairs, assistance dogs, and groups from residential aged care facilities.

Read more:


NRPA Equity Language Guide

Terminology shouldn’t be a barrier to critical conversations around equity. NRPA’s new Equity Language Guide is a glossary of terms to help park and recreation professionals develop a common language around diversity, equity and inclusion. It also provides guidance to help people become familiar with terms they may not be aware of and best practices for making your writing accessible.

For more information:


Recreation at the Intersection of Resilience – Advancing Planning and Design in the Face of Wildfire
Courtesy of ASLA
Honor Award Analysis and Planning

Within the past twenty years, every community in Mariposa County, California, has been threatened by major wildland fires. Counter to most recreation system plans, which prioritizes active recreation to positively improve public health conditions, the Mariposa County Recreation and Resiliency Plan insists that recreation planning must extend beyond basic park needs to address critical issues of wildfire and climate change on public lands, equipping its civic leaders with multilayered planning and design tactics to address resiliency.

Read more:


Park Access: More than Just Proximity
Courtesy of NRPA

By Clement Lau, AICP, DPPD

CALIFORNIA - As a park planner, I think often about ways to improve park access in the communities I serve. Typically, park access is measured in terms of the percentage of residents in a community living within a half-mile or 10-minute walk of a park. Thus, a key strategy to improve park access is the creation of new parks in neighborhoods with few or no parks so that more people can more easily get to a park. At the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), this is exactly what we have been doing, as I discussed previously in my article, "From Plans to Parks," in the April 2021 issue of Parks & Recreation magazine.

There are, however, additional ways to improve access to parks. Park access is not just about reducing travel distance to a park; it is a much more complex and multi-faceted issue that requires a variety of creative solutions. Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to listen to and learn from many residents and stakeholders who provided input as part of the community engagement process for the Regional and Rural Edition, a focused update to the 2016 Los Angeles Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment.

Read more:


American Rescue Plan Funds Now Flowing Into States and Local Communities
Courtesy of NRPA

Shortly after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law, $1.9 trillion in federal funding quickly began to flow into states and local communities to help those most impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to recover, and critically, to build resiliency. State and local governments can use this funding to cover costs incurred by December 31, 2024, and all funding must be spent by December 31, 2026.

To help NRPA members maximize social and economic recovery in their communities, we have prepared an updated summary of how relevant American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds are impacting communities, how to access these funds, and our recommendations on how to advocate for projects within your community.

Read more:


Report: Minneapolis, Cleveland and other peers offer solutions for cash-strapped Milwaukee County Parks
Courtesy of NRPA

By Lauren Anderson

WISCONSIN - Peer parks systems from across the country offer some potential paths forward for the cash-strapped Milwaukee County Parks system, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

The well-documented financial challenges of the county parks system have been growing to a crescendo over the past decade, with county executive David Crowley warning earlier this year that there may be no property tax levy available to support the parks by 2027 if current projections related to county salaries and fringe benefit costs hold.

As part of a larger report aimed at helping the county find a sustainable solution, the Wisconsin Policy Forum examined the different kinds of partnerships, funding strategies and governance structures used by parks systems in Minneapolis, Cleveland, Dane County, Madison, Seattle and Sonoma County, California.

Read more:


PlayGrand Adventures Is Leveling the Playing Field
Courtesy of NRPA

By Dr. Taylor D. Bunn

My friend Katie recently shared the difficulties she has playing with her three-year-old daughter, Adeline, at the playground. Katie is a 20-something entrepreneur raising her only child in rural Texas. There are not many other little girls her daughter’s age in her neighborhood, so Katie is her daughter’s primary playmate. My friend also has multiple sclerosis. She has begun using a cane and will eventually need a wheelchair. Her disability has forced her to give up things she loves, like running and being on her feet all day selling her homemade hand pies at festivals. Now, this disease is robbing Katie of her ability to play with her daughter.

“I can only take Adeline to the park for an hour or so because I can’t stand very long and everything to sit on is painful,” Katie says. “I usually sit on a swing, but that means I can’t follow Adeline around and interact like I want to. And if I bring a wheelchair or walker, it still doesn’t do me any good because it’s not accessible. Disability just overall affects human interaction in our society, and it shouldn’t be that way.”

It shouldn’t be that way. People with disabilities are often stigmatized, underserved and left out of experiences, like playing on public playgrounds.

Read more:


America’s Longest Glow in the Dark Trail in Vinton, Iowa Is like a Pathway to the Universe
Courtesy of

Walking and biking trails don't really get much use after dark. But, that may no longer be the case for a new "glowing" trail in eastern Iowa.

According to KCCI, Baker Enterprises just installed a glow-in-the-dark trail in Vinton, Iowa. Vinton Newspapers reports that the idea came about as part of an initiative to make "Vinton a more mobile, accessible community for residents and visitors" and to connect all three of the area's school buildings.

Read more:

Watch here:


Achieving Access Along The Potomac River
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Erin Pant and Bob Green

MARYLAND - Visit Seneca Landing Special Park on any weekend—or most weekdays for that matter—and you are sure to encounter a crowd. The park, located in Poolesville, Md., adjacent to Lock 24 on the historic C&O Canal, is a draw for birders, bikers, history buffs, and boaters. It serves as one of the busiest entry points to the Potomac River. However, until recently, this amenity wasn’t easily accessible for all.

For years, Team River Runner, a national, non-profit organization that provides adventure and adaptive paddle sports to veterans and their families, has hosted a kayak program at the park. The program provides patients from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as well as veterans from the community, an opportunity to experience the social, physical, and emotional benefits of nature. According to the organization, time spent on the water offers a “river to recovery,” allowing veterans to find health, healing, community, purpose, and new challenges. While the program was very popular, the group faced one unintended challenge: difficulty reaching the water. Kayakers shared the long, pavement ramp down to the water with motorized boats, which presented safety issues.

Read more:


In the News

Audit: Denver failing to maintain parks while buying more park land
Courtesy of the Denver Gazette

By Hannah Metzger

COLORADO - Denver Auditor Timothy O’Brien called on the city to improve maintenance of city parks rather than purchasing additional park land in an audit released Thursday.

In the audit, O’Brien said the Department of Parks and Recreation isn’t doing enough to keep existing parks clean and safe, while continuing to purchase additional land. This comes as the city shut down Civic Center Park last month over safety and sanitation concerns.

“The city has millions to spend but a lot of work to do before the parks are in the condition expected by anyone who cares about our city,” O’Brien said. “When the public sees graffiti, human waste, drug paraphernalia and unsafe conditions at parks, it’s reasonable for them to wonder where those tax dollars they approved went.”

Read more:


Sweetwater Lake is Colorado’s newest state park
Courtesy of

By Miguel Otárola

COLORADO - Colorado officials debuted a new state park Wednesday: Sweetwater Lake, a former ranch about 18 miles north of Dotsero.

The park, Colorado’s 43rd, is the first state park in the nation to open on land owned by the U.S. Forest Service, said Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Chris Arend. The 488-acre Sweetwater Lake Park is located in the White River National Forest and will be managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in partnership with the federal agency and a local land trust.

“This park is the result of the first-of-its-kind partnership in the entire nation ... to have a state park on U.S Forest Service land,” Gov. Jared Polis said at a public event overlooking the lake.

Read more:


Senate Committee Schedules October 19 Confirmation Hearing for Sams as NPS Director
Courtesy of National Parks Traveler

A confirmation for Charles F. Sams III to be the director of the National Park Service has been set for October 19.

Charles F. Sams' confirmation hearing for National Park Service director has been scheduled for October 19 by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Sams was nominated for the position by the Biden administration back in mid-August. He is an enrolled member, Cayuse and Walla Walla, of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon, and if confirmed by the full Senate would be the first permanent director the Park Service has had since Jonathan Jarvis retired at the end of the Obama administration.

Read more:


ORR applauds key outdoor access and streamlining bill (SOAR Act) passage in House Natural Resources Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) statement on U.S. House Natural Resources Committee markup of a bill that will greatly improve access for Americans to the outdoors, H.R. 3670, the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act.

“This House markup is a critical first step to improving access for the American public and updated tools for federal agencies to manage our shared lands and waters for recreation,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “The industry knows there is an urgent need to quickly move this bill because it will help ensure the continued growth of this $788 billion sector, offer diverse communities access to outdoor recreation and help to manage overcrowding at some recreation locations. All of this will provide some relief for businesses and communities hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and those struggling with the impacts of climate change.”

Read more:



Using Data for Improved Decision Making and Service Delivery
Courtesy of PlayCore

Wednesday, November 3, 2021
2:00 to 3:15 pm Eastern
Registration Code: COMMUNITY

Data, data and data… How can we use it in decision-making and improving service delivery? We live in a world with lots of data that can inform the decisions we make every day improving service delivery and demonstrating the impact of our work. Data can help ensure we are equitably allocating our resources, strengthening grant applications, evaluating program impacts and so much more. This panel of parks and recreation professionals will share how they use data to schedule park maintenance activities, schedule asset replacements, identify gaps in programs and facilities in underserved communities, ensure equitable distribution of staff and funds, develop a healthy infrastructure plan and develop system-wide equitable funding plan.

For more information:


Webinar: Developing a Trail Competency Framework
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: November 4, 2021
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET
Cost: Free
Organization: American Trails

The Trail Competency Initiative seeks to define shared language around trail skills and expertise. Currently, US Forest Service, American Trails, the Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA), and Indiana University’s Eppley Center are launching a robust stakeholder outreach process associated with developing competency language. Join the webinar to learn about this project, opportunities created by shared language, trail competencies as part of trail education and career pathways, the academically-led survey process that will vet the trail competencies, and how you can get involved. In addition to presentations, the webinar will include an opportunity for Q+A.

For more information:


Interpretive Theme Writer’s Course for Heritage Managers, Interpreters, and Communicators
Courtesy of Jon Kohl

No other course delves into the craftsmanship, psychology, and philosophy of why themes beat at interpretation’s heart. When an interpreter, team, or community begins with a powerful theme and builds a strong presentation structure from it, audience transformation can happen. This course frames the craft and art of theme writing in the light of a universal constellation of Big Ideas available for theme writers.

Starting November 10
- 5 weekly 2-hour ZOOM sessions with asynchronous discussion and materials on Slack. 10 hours live class + home work, videos, discussion online, final project, total of 20 hours

Cost: $125

Discounts for PUP Members, Groups, and Members of the Interpretive Theme Writer’s Think Tank on Facebook

Deadline to register: November 5, 2021

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)

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.

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

For more information:


Webinar: Trails Count - Getting the Most Out of Trail Use Data
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: November 10, 2021
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Cost: Free
Organization: American Trails

Data collection on trail use is an essential tool to capture usage trends, support funding efforts, communicate with local stakeholders and so much more. From automated counters to GPS traces, surveys to economic impact studies, today data on trail use is more available than ever. Analyzing, applying and getting the most out of that data, however, can often feel like a minefield and many organizations struggle to put all of that data to good use.

What are the best practices for applying trail use data? What do different sources of data tell us about how and when trails are used? What are some quick-wins? How can trail count data be communicated with local stakeholders and the public?

During this panel webinar, learn from industry experts, advocates, and practitioners about how to get the most out of data on trail use and how these data can be leveraged to support trail maintenance and development in your community.

For more information:


Webinar: NRPA Research and Evaluation Resources
Courtesy of NRPA

November 18, 2021, 2 p.m. EST

Data and research can help your agency better serve the community. These same resources are valuable resources that persuade public officials, funders and the general public on the essential nature of parks and recreation. Join this session to learn about the wealth of resources available to park and recreation professionals and advocates.

For more information:

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