October 17, 2023

In this issue...


How to contribute

The next issue of NACPRO News will be delivered on October 31, 2023. 

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by October 30. 

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

Welcome to our community

Mr. Todd Antoine
Chief, Planning and Projects
Great Rivers Greenway District
St. Louis, Missouri

Ms. Debbie Jo Almager
Bernalillo County Parks, Recreation & Open Space
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Mr. Andre Dickson
Deputy Director
Bernalillo County Parks, Recreation & Open Space
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Mr. Garry Wolfe
Deputy Director
Bernalillo County Parks, Recreation & Open Space
Albuquerque, New Mexico


Ask the membership

Tap into  our collective experience.  Send your question and some background to the editor and we will include it in the next NACPRO News. 


NACPRO Legislative Update

NACPRO’s Legislative Committee tracks current federal legislation that provides the potential to benefit our park systems. The Committee also reviews existing federal programs with an eye towards improving those programs for our park systems.

This year, the NACPRO Board of Directors approved seven policy resolutions which were approved by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and added to their American County Platform. Together NACPRO and NACo use these policies to influence the federal administration and to show support for legislation that benefits parks. 

  • We encourage the Executive Branch to reduce match requirements for federal environmental restoration programs from 50 percent to 20 percent. 
  • We support full funding of state wildlife plans. 
  • We support passage and funding of the Restore Employment in Natural and Environmental Work (RENEW) Conservation Corps Act (S.1370). 
  • We strongly encourage the Federal Government to further develop and fund partnership opportunities for county park agencies, special park districts, forest preserves and other regional park authorities to achieve the conservation, economic and healthy communities’ intent behind the America the Beautiful Initiative. 
  • We encourage the National Park Service to work with state, regional, county and local LWCF providers to define reasonable access, recreational development timeframe requirements and small acreage conversion requirements. 
  • We support full funding of the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program (ATIIP) and encourages Congress to develop and fund additional programs. 
  • We urge the Federal Government to support and advocate for Rails-with-Trails. Furthermore, it encourages the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Highway Administration, in partnership with the railroads, transit agencies and with trail providers, to develop national standards for Rails-with-Trails that would ensure the safety of railroad workers and the public, which could be used to mitigate any potential increase in liability for shared use, and which would address potential impacts to future rail operations. 

Help Promote Parks!
Please let your federal representatives know that they can help our local park systems. It’s actually a pretty easy sell – people love parks! A phone call or text is great, but written requests (snail mail or email) to your representatives gets logged and counted. 

NACPRO developed a one-pager for each of these policy advocacy positions. They explain the issue in more depth and provides the proposed action and details on how the action benefits urban and rural county park systems across the US. Contact [email protected]  for more information.



Adaptive Skating
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Heidi Lemmon

Public skateparks have come a long way in the last 25 years. Chances are your park is being used by skateboarders, BMX riders, scooters, rollerbladers, roller skaters, and even wheelchairs. All genders, all ages, abled and disabled riders, create a huge melting pot of active users who make a skatepark the most welcoming play space in a city. There is a lot of buzz about how to design a park to get the most use per square foot. 

Laura Island, a Supervisor for the city of Los Angeles’ Citywide Adaptive Recreation Division, holds multiple events for disabled children at its skateparks through a partnership with Los Angeles Olympics 2028, funded by Play LA Youth, and Adaptive Youth Sports programing, and is thrilled with the results. She says parents and children are excited and grateful for the opportunity to explore their abilities at the same facility and at the same time as their friends and family.

Read more:


A Tidal Wave Of Support
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Mike McLaughlin

KANSAS - Envision 112 people in a pool jumping and shooting baskets, pulling aqua dumbbells through the water and thrusting them into the air, while doing kicking exercises underwater. They smile, laugh, and sing along with the music as energetic instructors run them through a three-hour event. The 2022 Sunflower Aquathon at Shawnee North Family Aquatic Center in Topeka, Kan., was the largest outdoor, aquatic-exercise event in the nation.

Few people have more passion for aqua fitness than instructor Sharlie Peterson, who contracts with Shawnee County Parks + Recreation to teach classes and hold special events at five of the department’s aquatic facilities. The owner/proprietor of Shockwave Aqua Fitness, Peterson has developed a fiercely loyal following, having gained national and international recognition for her classes and events. 

Read more:


American Sports Builders Association Announces the ASBA Academy
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the national organization for builders, designers and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities, has unveiled its latest educational industry initiative, the 2024 ASBA Academy.  

The ASBA Academy is designed to equip those who are new to or have limited experience in the sports facility construction and design industry with the fundamental knowledge and skills required for success, all in an environment that nurtures both personal and professional growth.

The ASBA Academy consists of three separate courses with one relating to each of ASBA’s divisions: Courts, Fields and Track.

Read more:


Alternatives To Traditional Turf
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Lydia Major and Nikki Schlepp

The benefits of turf alternatives have been debated for years. Members of city councils, the parks commission, or perhaps even community members have touted the benefits: fescues that need only occasional mowing, saving staff time and reducing fossil-fuel consumption; clovers that attract bees and other pollinators that are essential to maintaining the planet’s health; or native wildflowers that require little irrigation but add blooms and beauty to park landscapes.   

Turf alternatives aren’t right for every situation, of course, but it’s worth weighing the pros and cons. Some people have found a short-term investment can result in long-term savings. And with many parks managers looking to do more with fewer resources, replacing traditional lawns with low-maintenance options may reduce chronic job stress caused by tight budgets, labor shortages, and lack of time.

Read more:


Identifying Park Inequities Through Data Science
Courtesy of Planetizen

According to a new study from the University of Delaware, park access and quality vary across the city of Philadelphia. Using a machine learning algorithm to analyze 285 parks from over 100,000 park reviews gathered from Google Maps, the study shows that a majority of the parks that are considered to be of high quality are located in areas that are more likely have more affluent, white, and college educated residents. The parks that scored the lowest tend to be in areas where the residents are historically marginalized, including mostly low-income, Black and Latino, with a lower level of educational attainment.

Read more:



The Quest for the Low-Budget Park
Courtesy of CityLab

When Hayward, California, began planning a mile-long linear park in August of 2020, the Bay Area city faced a number of daunting problems. The site was not promising — a thin, trash-strewn pathway adjacent to a main road, Mission Boulevard, with sparse plantings and minimal lighting. And the budget was a miniscule $2 million, or about $7.50 per square foot. Park developments of this scale typically run north of $50 or $60 a square foot.

So the contractor used some inventive strategies — “by hook or by crook,” says company founder James Lord — to complete the project. That meant using native plants like oleander and scavenging materials from construction waste and other urban cast-offs. For seating, the design team followed tree-cutting crews around Hayward and collected fallen trees. Slabs of concrete were scoured from work sites, sliced up and used as pavers; old benches from other parts of town were given a coat of fresh paint and upcycled.

Read more:


New York Needs to Get Spongier—or Get Used to More Floods
Courtesy of Wired

Writing in Wired, Matt Simon warns that New York City needs to adapt to protect its citizens and infrastructure from future flooding like the city experienced during Hurricane Ian and recent rains.

Meanwhile, hard, impermeable surfaces like concrete and asphalt effectively seal cities, leaving few places where water can drain into the ground. “Better sewer systems will be indispensable, sure, but planners are also fundamentally reimagining urban areas as “sponge cities” designed to mitigate flooding by absorbing water.”

Today, cities like New York and Los Angeles are working to reverse the problem by building green infrastructure such as rain gardens, bioswales, blue belts, and permeable pavement. In places like Los Angeles, this much-needed water will also help replenish underground aquifers.

Read more:


2023 Recreational Trails Program Achievement Awards
Courtesy of American Trails

The Coalition for Recreational Trails is excited to announce its 2023 achievement awards to recognize outstanding trail projects funded by the Recreational Trails Program. We invite you to nominate an outstanding project and/or encourage the sponsor(s) of an excellent project in your state to submit a nomination. 

Deadline for nominations is 5:00 pm Eastern, November 17. 

For more information:


2024 Active Living Conference Call for Presentations
Courtesy of GP RED

March 25-28, 2024 - Chattanooga, TN

Practice, Policy and Research presentation proposals related to increasing physical activity for all people are invited for submission. Proposals related to equity for racially and ethnically diverse populations, people with disabilities, and those living in lower-income urban and rural communities who are at greatest risk for physical inactivity and its related diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions are encouraged. Proposals related to the conference theme – Play every Day, it’s the Multigenerational Healthy Way – are also welcomed, but it is not a requirement to address this topic. The conference sub themes of disparities, inclusion, active transportation, recreation and sport may also help guide the focus of proposals.

The proposal deadline is November 17, 2023 at 11:59 pm PT.

For more information:



Upcoming Webinars from American Trails

  • October 19: The Trail Research Hub
  • October 26: Measuring Our Success in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • November 2: Approvals, Permits, and Compliance: Navigating the Regulatory Waters from Trail Plan Through Construction 
  • November 9: Indigenous Placemaking Along Canadian Trails
  • November 16: Water Management on Legacy Trails: The SET (Sustainable, Effective, Traversable) Standard 
  • November 30: Digital Transformation of Trail Management and Monitoring 

For more information:


Webinar - Urban Park Grant Opportunity (ORLP) Technical Assistance
Courtesy of City Parks Alliance

October 24, 2023, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern

Join City Parks Alliance and the National Park Service (NPS) to learn more about the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) grant program. The program provides grants to cities for park projects in underserved communities. NPS will soon open a new application round with over $124 million in available funding.

Speakers will provide details on applicant and project eligibility, give tips on writing a strong ORLP application, explain the application and selection process, and answer questions. 

For more information:


Webinar - Beyond the Minimums: Disability Park Awareness 
Courtesy of PlayCore

October 25, 2023
2:00 to 3:15 pm EDT
Registration Code: COMMUNITY
Meeting the minimum accessibility design standards for recreation facilities is just the first step to making sure everyone can participate, enjoy, and experience park and play area facilities. During the session, a panel of persons with disabilities will discuss features that can “make or break” the recreational opportunity for persons that are low-vision or blind, persons using mobility devices, persons who are hard of hearing or deaf, persons with developmental disabilities, and individuals that are neurodivergent. Strategies, design elements, barriers, and accessibility will be discussed from different viewpoints. We hope you will join us for this look beyond the minimum accessibility design standards to discover how you can make your park and play areas more inclusive for everyone. This webinar will include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Participants may ask questions during the live session.

For more information:


Sustainable Trails Conference
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: March 19-21, 2024
Location: Lake Lanier, GA
Organization: Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA)

The theme of the 2024 Sustainable Trails Conference is "Technical Trails Training."

For more information:


2024 Special Park Districts Forum - Registration is open
Courtesy of Three Rivers Park District

June 10–13, 2024 – Minnetonka, MN

We are excited to be hosting the Special Park Districts Forum in 2024 and have a fantastic four days planned for you to experience the important role that parks play in our community. Like most communities, ours is changing in a variety of ways, and throughout the forum you will experience how Three Rivers is changing along with them. 

As park and recreation professionals, we have the potential to positively impact health and wellness, air and water quality, wildlife habitat and the community’s overall connection with nature for generations to come. How we care for the natural resources, parks and trails today builds the legacy for the future. We firmly believe that parks matter, and we can’t wait for you to explore all that Three Rivers has to offer our communities today and see how we are preparing to serve future generations.

For more information:


Job Openings

NEW - Landscape Architect
Lake County Forest Preserves
Libertyville, Illinois
$78,737 - $118,230 Annually
Application Deadline: Open until filled

Head, Marketing and Communications
County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation
Alhambra, California
$110,892 - $149,425 Annually
Application Deadline: Open until filled

Supervising Park Ranger
City of San Jose, California
$103,326 - $125,886 Annually
Application Deadline: Oct 30, 2023

Community Services Environmental Specialist
Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners
Port Charlotte, Florida
$24.70 Hourly
Application Deadline: Oct 24, 2023

Director of Parks and Recreation
City of Durango, Colorado
$135,000 - $150,000 Annually
Application Deadline: Oct 23, 2023

For more information:

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.