National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

August 6, 2019


The NACPRO office will be closed from August 7 through August 20 while we take some time off to recharge in the great outdoors. Please note that any job announcements submitted will not be posted during this period.


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Gayle Preston
Assistant Director
Broward County Parks & Recreation
Oakland Park, Florida


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Seeking policies and procedures for souvenir and gifts shops

Maricopa County Parks, and Recreation would like to improve upon our already successful souvenir and gift shop program in our parks. I would appreciate receiving other county/district park policies, procedures and/or program guidelines for souvenir and gifts shops. We want to standardize and streamline where appropriate so that this program will continue to improve the visitor experience and generate added revenues for park programs, without putting undue strain on park administration.

RJ Cardin, Director
Maricopa County Parks, and Recreation, Arizona
[email protected]


Seeking long-term funding strategies from consolidated city/county departments

Like most other park districts, consistent funding is a huge issue especially since we are a consolidated city/county parks and recreation department. All funding is based solely on a general fund - funds available each year. No long term planning can be done effectively. We have been unsuccessful in convincing the county commissioners to consider long term operational and capital improvements funding.

I am researching current practices of other consolidated city/county park departments. I am reaching out to NACPRO members to identify other consolidated park departments. We would like to talk with them, possibly visit them, and determine what methods might or might not be working for them.

James L. Martin
Shawnee County Parks and Recreation, Kansas
[email protected]

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.


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In an Era of Extreme Weather, Concerns Grow Over Dam Safety
Courtesy of Yale Environment 360

By Jacques Leslie

It is a telling illustration of the precarious state of United States dams that the near-collapse in February 2017 of Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest, occurred in California, considered one of the nation’s leading states in dam safety management.

The Oroville incident forced the evacuation of nearly 190,000 people and cost the state $1.1 billion in repairs. It took its place as a seminal event in the history of U.S. dam safety and ushered in the modern dam safety era.

The incident at the half-century-old, 770-foot-high Oroville Dam, which involved partial disintegration of its two spillways during a heavy but not unprecedented rainstorm, signaled the inadequacy of methods customarily used throughout the country to assess dam safety and carry out repairs. It occurred as federal dam safety officials have made substantial progress in updating methods of dam assessment, in the process propelling dam safety practices into the 21st century.

Largely as a result of the funding shortfall, in its latest infrastructure report card, in 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the nation’s 91,000-plus dams a D grade, the same grade they have received in every ASCE report card since the first one was issued in 1998. The ASCE estimated the cost of rehabilitating dams whose failure would threaten human life at nearly $45 billion, and the cost of fixing all dams in need of repair at more than $64 billion.

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Public Health Experts Pinpoint Which Type of Nature Is Best for the Brain
Courtesy of

By Sarah Sloat

While abundant green space has been repeatedly connected to all sorts of positive health and social impacts, the new study finds one kind of greenery the most beneficial of all: leafy green trees.

After describing the methodology of the study, Jacobs describes this key finding of the research: "The researchers report that living in areas where 30 percent or more of the outdoor space is dominated by tree canopy was associated with 31 percent lower odds of psychological distress, compared to people living in areas with 0 to 9 percent tree canopy."

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It's Getting Too Damn Hot to Have Fun in the Summer
Courtesy of City Lab

By Linda Poon

Global warming is making summers hotter—dangerously so, and at an unprecedented rate. Heat waves, which recently shattered heat records in Europe and the U.S., are becoming more frequent, as are flash floods and wildfires.

Continuing along this path would seem to threaten summer’s reputation as a time for being outside, affecting peoples’ favorite summertime leisure activities like riding bikes, attending festivals, or taking hiking trips.

Already, less predictable fluctuations in daily temperatures and precipitation are changing how people play outside, says Casey Wichman, an environmental economist at the research organization Resources for the Future. In 2017, he and another environmental economist, Nathan Chan at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studied how weather might affect our demand for leisure activities outdoors—things like running, hiking, or even visiting a local park. They started by looking at recreational cycling, using bike-share data from over 27 million weekend trips across North America.

We as humans are very good at adapting to new things, but that adaptation comes with a cost. Some of the results were expected: Rain and extreme cold kept people off bikes. To their surprise, though, people were overall just as willing to bike on extremely hot days. In fact, the pair did further analysis of how Americans spend their time and found that rising temperatures could actually add $20.7 billion per year to the outdoor recreation industry (today valued at nearly $900 billion) by 2060.

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Evaluating the Many Benefits of Green Infrastructure in Local Parks
Courtesy of NRPA

By Kevin Brady

Though Green Infrastructure (GI) in parks produces many powerful benefits, not many community-focused resources exist for local governments to efficiently collect beneficial data at their GI project sites. Seeing this need, NRPA launched the Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework to encourage the collection of environmental, social, economic and health data that can realistically be measured without a ton of time, money or experience.

The framework is a set of downloadable tools and research-informed text that give you a complete benefits measurement plan. It gives you a clear, resource-conscious way to collect data on how your project benefits your community. The framework has three simple steps that will guide you from defining your project’s goals, to collecting data, to using that data to improve future GI work and spreading the message about the impact of your project.

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100 Most Dangerous House Districts For People Walking
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

Smart Growth America reported their release of an addendum to Dangerous by Design 2019 that ranks the 100 most dangerous congressional districts in the country based on the rate of pedestrian fatalities.

Dangerous by Design showed how the risks are far greater for people walking in low-income communities, older adults, and people of color. This short addendum shows how 40% of all pedestrian fatalities from 2008-2017 occurred in just 22% of all congressional districts (100 of 435). Federal dollars and policies helped create these unsafe streets in the first place, and federal funds, policies, and guidance have a significant role to play in fixing our existing streets and in designing the streets we'll build tomorrow.

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Common Myths about Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse
Courtesy of RDG Planning and Design

Whether you’re a commercial developer, public entity or homeowner, it can be daunting to consider how to make your historic property work for your needs yet remain feasible for future generations. But let’s be clear – much of what you may have heard about restoration projects probably isn’t true.

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Do Strainer Removal Constraints Threaten Paddlers' Lives?
Courtesy of the River Management Society

The controversy around the removal of strainers on recreational rivers is not new, but it is likely to become more prominent as fires, beetle kill and milder climates lead to more wood in recreational rivers.

American Whitewater ranks strainers as contributing to 196 deaths on whitewater rivers since 1975, fifth among the leading causes. If all flatwater fatalities were included, the number would be significantly higher. So, you must ask why many state and federal agencies are creating permitting and management plan requirements governing the removal of strainers from popular paddling rivers.

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Park prescriptions hope to make TN people and parks healthier
Courtesy of News Channel 5, Nashville

By Kelsey Gibbs

TENNESSEE — Henry Horton State Park is one of 56 state parks across Tennessee, and on a nice summer day you can expect people getting in a quick run, walk or swim.

But Park Manager Ryan Jenkins wants to encourage more people to hit the great outdoors with some rewards.

"What we did was create a web app for the program just the draft of an app, a mobile app that gives people points for going outside to any park in Tennessee.

When you log into the app for Healthy Parks,Healthy Person, it records your physical activity. Those points could be redeemed for free camping, free cabin stays, even free gift shop items.

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William Perry Pendley, opponent of nation’s public lands, is picked to oversee them as acting head of BLM
Courtesy of the Salt Lake Tribune

By Ellen Knickmeyer and Brady McCombs

An ardent critic of the federal government who has argued for selling off almost all public lands has been named the Trump administration’s top steward over nearly a quarter-billion federally controlled acres, raising new questions about the administration’s intentions for vast Western ranges and other lands roamed by hunters, hikers and wildlife.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Monday signed an order making Wyoming native William Perry Pendley acting head of the Bureau of Land Management. The bureau's holdings are sweeping, with nearly one out of every 10 acres nationally, and 30% of minerals, under its dominion, mostly across the U.S. West.

Pendley, a former midlevel Interior appointee in the Reagan administration, for decades has championed ranchers and others in standoffs with the federal government over grazing and other uses of public lands. He has written books accusing federal authorities and environmental advocates of "tyranny" and "waging war on the West." He argued in a 2016 National Review article that the "Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold."

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Lake Michigan Wreaking Havoc on Chicago This Summer
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

For the second straight month, according to preliminary records, Lake Michigan has crested to its highest mark in over three decades — each time 1 inch shy of record highs set in 1986. It takes roughly 780 billion gallons of water to raise Lake Michigan 1 inch. Since 2013, the lake has risen nearly 6 feet from record lows. And in Chicago, no part of the shoreline has come away unscathed.

This year, the buoyant water has swallowed at least two Chicago beaches entirely and periodically closed others. It has swiped fishermen from piers, swimmers from beaches and submerged jetties, creating hazards for boaters. It has flooded heavily trafficked parts of lakefront bicycle and pedestrian pathways, leaving some stretches underwater and others crumbling.

And there are reasons to believe it's only going to get worse, according to Briscoe. All of those warning signs have come during the calm summer weather. Traditionally, the most powerful storms on the lake come in the fall.

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Trends in Community Park Landscape Design and Planning
Courtesy of Planetizen

By Claire Hempel

Our job as landscape architects and urban planners is to help cities and developers design parks that balance the best use of space with the diverse needs of the local community. Those who own a home with a backyard have significantly different needs of public outdoor spaces than those who live in an apartment. Balancing space constraints and community needs with the capital budget to build a park often requires creative problem solving. Often in urban contexts, space is at a premium, so careful consideration for how every square foot is used helps to make the most of construction and programming budgets. Similarly, construction budgets in which to build the park facilities must be spent judiciously, prioritizing what is necessary from a spatial planning perspective. This is where the community’s voice should help guide what is built within a park.

The recently opened Mary Elizabeth Branch Park (Branch Park) in the Mueller community, a mixed-income, mixed-use urban village located in Austin, Texas, is a testament to that delicate balancing act. The 3.5-acre park was designed to accommodate the various recreation needs of a multi-generational community. Opened in May 2019, Branch Park features a creative children’s playground, a dog run, a sand volleyball court, an interactive waterscape, and lawn space and shady areas for picnics.

Below are five trends landscape architects and designers are seeing across the United States that contributed to the final design of Branch Park.

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Unique Learning Opportunities for Directors

By Josh Yavelberg

Successful park and recreation department leaders are in tune with rising challenges and national trends. That’s why at the NRPA Annual Conference, we provide the Directors’ Corner, a unique learning space where leaders from across the country come together to collaborate on cutting-edge issues, learn from some of the top minds in the industry and beyond, and take home practical, achievable solutions.

The sessions offered in the Directors’ Corner have become some of the most popular at the conference not only because of the high-level speakers, but also for their level of interactivity. This year’s line-up includes topics, such as design thinking, homelessness, urban infrastructure, urban carbon credits, renewable energy, advocacy, capital investment strategies, among other timely topics and trends. Following are details about just a few of the sessions...

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The 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey

By Kevin Roth, Ph.D.

The job market is hot, with the unemployment rate at a multi-decade low. While labor market conditions can vary significantly by locale, park and recreation agencies must compete not only with neighboring agencies, but also with all other employers when staffing their teams. One competitive advantage park and recreation leaders have is access to comprehensive compensation data that highlight how agencies can attract and retain the best and brightest team members.

This is where the 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey report comes in. Based on the responses from 479 agencies to a 35-question survey, this report provides a snapshot of salary data for the following 10 park and recreation professions:

- Park and Recreation Agency Director
- Planning Director
- Director of Administrative
- Recreation Director
- Park Operations Director
- Park Operations Facilities Manager
- Athletics Supervisor
- Aquatics Supervisor
- Recreation Programs Coordinator

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NACo Annual Report

When counties are united at the national level, we are an immense force for the public good. Throughout the past year, NACo multiplied that force alongside our members.

We achieved significant victories on some of the most important issues counties, parishes and boroughs face. These included disaster preparedness and recovery; the opioid epidemic and other substance abuse; mental illness in jails; affordable housing; infrastructure; federal public lands and active forest management, to name a few.

Read more:


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Call for Presentations - River Management Society

The River Management Society (RMS) is proud to present the 2020 River Management Training Symposium: “Mountain Creeks to Metro Canals”, which will take place May 12-15, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. This event will be hosted by RMS in partnership with Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Symposium Program Committee is seeking proposals for presentations, panels and posters from river management professionals (e.g., managers, planners, academics, consultants, or students) that show how you, your organization, and/or the profession are protecting or enhancing river values. Help us learn about innovations, creative approaches, successes, and visions for the future of sustainable river management.

For more information:


Webinar: Introduction to Great Trails Workshops – What Makes a Great Trail Great?
Courtesy of NOHVCC

When: August 20, 2019
Time: 8:00 pm Eastern
Cost: Free

This webinar will provide information on what makes a great trail great and will serve as an introduction to Great Trails Workshops.

Topics covered during the webinar will include information on the Great Trails Continuum, the “wow” factor, safety, riders’ needs and more.


- Marc Hildesheim, Project Manager
- Jack Terrell, Senior Project Manager
- Geoff Chain, Project Coordinator & Communications Associate
- Laura Feist, Executive Assistant
- Duane Taylor, Executive Director, NOHVCC

For more information:


Webinar: Public Health Partnerships in Minnesota - Navigating the Land of 10,000 Opportunities
Courtesy of SORP

Date: August 21, 2019
Time: 2:00 pm EDT
Cost: Free to members and $45 for non-members

This webinar offers a Midwestern take on parks and public health partnerships. Speakers from Minnesota State Parks and Trails and HealthPartners will describe why Minnesota is fertile ground for parks and public health partnerships, research, and programs. Discussion will review important first steps for launching a new park prescription project, how to keep your partnerships alive post-pilot, and the importance of maintaining focus on your long-term goals despite competing priorities and organizational challenges.


Arielle Courtney, MS
Partnership Development Consultant, Parks and Trails Division
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Stephanie Kovarik, RDN, LD
PowerUp Program Coordinator, Stillwater Medical Groups and Lakeview Hospital

For more information:


Webinar: Equestrian Trail Design for Urban Multi-Use Trails
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

Date: August 22, 2019, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Presenter: Matthew Woodson (Okanogan Trail Construction)
Host: American Trails
Details: $19 for members, $39 for nonmembers

In partnership with Equine Land Conservation Resource, this webinar will address methods used in constructing equestrian trails for multi-use while also including ADA interface in an urban environment. It will highlight key materials and tread surfacing that are horse friendly from both a safety and best practices-sustainability perspective. The webinar will also explore wilderness design criteria used to build trails to provide maximum sustainability.

The webinar will focus on several trail corridors that include Mountain View Trail (Scottsdale, AZ), Via Dona Trail (Scottsdale, AZ), Murphy Bridle Path (Phoenix, AZ), and Cave Creek Town Trail (Cave Creek AZ). Topics of discussion also include alignment/design, signage, crossings/ADA access/materials, staging areas, and public involvement/notification.

For more information:


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Executive Director
Skokie Park District, Illinois
Posted July 18, 2019. Closes August 30, 2019.

Director of Library & Community Services
City of Sunnyvale, California
Posted July 15, 2019. Closes August 11, 2019.

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Director
City of Raleigh, North Carolina
Posted June 5, 2019. Open until filled.


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