National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

May 28, 2019


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The unlikely way e-bikes could transform how we age
Courtesy of Fast Company

By Eillie Anzilotti

Last year, Miryam Liberman retired from her internal medicine practice in Westlake Village, California, where she had worked for more than 30 years. But before she left, Liberman, 65, was issuing subtle prescriptions to her patients by example. Every day, she would commute back and forth to her office, over 12 miles away from where she lives, on an electric bicycle. Doing so improved her health and quality of life so much that she started to tell her older patients to do the same, and some of them now ride e-bikes, too.

Liberman is not alone. There’s growing interest among older Americans in cycling: Between 1995 and 2009, the number of people aged 60 to 79 who bike increased by 320%, and the recent boom in electric bicycle technology is creating more opportunities for older Americans to consider biking as a mode of transportation. E-bikes are especially capturing the older market, many of whom have found that e-bikes enable them to ride much later in life than they previously imagined. That’s because the extra push from the motor makes pedaling far less strenuous than traditional bikes. The Seattle-based e-bike company Rad Power Bikes has found that 82% of its customer base falls between the ages of 45 and 84.

A growing body of research actually suggests that biking could alleviate the symptoms of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as support overall health. E-bikes are a critical component of extending these benefits as they enable older people to ride longer and more regularly.

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2019 ParkScore Rankings Now Available
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

Washington, D.C. has the highest ParkScore among the 100 largest U.S. cities, according to an annual ranking announced today by the Trust for Public Land (TPL).

The rankings combine U.S. Census data with a TPL database of local parks and ESRI's 2018 Demographic forecasts to score cities, towns, and communities on how well they provide needed parks. The TPL website provides much more detail about the methodology of the rankings.

The complete top ten in the ParkScore rankings reads as follows:

1. Washington, D.C.
2. St. Paul, Minnesota
3. Minneapolis, Minnesota
4. Arlington, Virginia
5. Portland, Oregon
6. Irvine, California
7. San Francisco, California
8. Cincinnati, Ohio
9. New York, New York
10. Chicago, Illinois

For more information:


We Need Summer Camp More Than Ever Before
Courtesy of Outside Online

By Willy Blackmore

In Oregon, a ballot initiative known as Measure 99 was passed in 2016 that makes the state’s long-standing tradition of outdoor school free for all fifth- or sixth-grade students, regardless of family income, through the use of funds from the state lottery. While not explicitly summer camp, outdoor school involves traveling into nature for up to a week during the school year and staying at facilities that, more often than not, operate as sleepaway camps during the summertime. There, students learn a curriculum that functions as an extension of what they have been taught in the classroom.

Today’s kids grow up with little unstructured time, and their social and academic lives are built around digital devices and being online. “The biggest change today I’d say is, frankly, how essential outdoor-camp and camp-life experiences are for the postmillennial generation,” Rosenberg says. Whether that experience comes from a traditional outdoors camp or a more focused camp set in a similar environment, kids simply need more camp.

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Meeting Park Needs Through Mobile Recreation
Courtesy of

By Clement Lau

Have you heard of mobile recreation? Essentially, this is the idea of bringing recreational resources to communities, especially those that lack parks. UCLA professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris was perhaps ahead of her time when she said in 1995 that “the ever-changing urban form and social ecology of neighborhoods calls for a flexible rather than rigid park design and for spatial layouts that can be easily changed in response to future needs… One can even think of mobile parks-spaces whose equipment and furniture can be transported to other parts of the city if the need arises.”

As a park planner, I know firsthand how challenging, expensive, and time-consuming it is to acquire land and create new parks. It typically takes years before new parks can be provided due to bureaucratic, financial, political, and other constraints. Mobile recreation vehicles may sound strange at first, but they may be entirely appropriate given the urgent need for additional recreational opportunities in under-served neighborhoods and the high costs of developing new permanent parks.

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Mulling the Idea of Ending Right Turns on Red Lights
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

"Turning right on red in San Francisco may soon be a thing of the past in the name of safety," reports Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez.

"Transportation officials this week discussed exploring eliminating rights on red, citing The City’s 14th traffic fatality this year as a call to action," according to Fitzgerald.

The city has been acting quickly, of late, to correct traffic safety conditions when a fatality occurs. In March, the death of Teth Rothstein while riding a bike on the Howard Street bike lane led to the city removing parking on the street.

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Making Playgrounds a Little More Dangerous
Courtesy of the New York Times

By Richard Schiffman

“Oh my God, this is going to be amazing,” a preadolescent wearing a gray hoodie exclaimed as he dashed in to The Yard, a 50,000-square-foot adventure playground on Governors Island in New York Harbor.

The Yard, for kids 6 through 13, lacks the usual monkey bars, slides and swings. It is, however, well-stocked with dismembered store mannequins, wooden packing crates, tires, mattresses, an old piano and assorted other detritus of the modern world.

There were a few rules: no iPads or electronic devices, no flip flops and no adults. The painted wooden gate is low to discourage adults from inadvertently wandering in.

Children are watched by specially trained adult play workers, who teach them how to use the tools that are provided them, but otherwise intervene only when there is danger to the children, for example when a war between rival “forts” turns ugly, or rusty nails or sharp-edged objects pose a threat.

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The shared bike and scooter industry often leaves out people with disabilities — but Oakland is changing that
Courtesy of the Mercury News

By Erin Baldassari

CALIFORNIA — Bay Area Bike Share, now called Ford GoBike, got its start in 2017 with a smattering of bike share stations in Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, San Francisco and San Jose. Since then, though, it’s grown to 4,450 bikes across the five cities with plans to grow to 14,200 in the coming years. During the same time period, shared electric scooters and dockless electric bikes have entered the market.

But, what’s been missing in the meteoric rise of the shared bike and scooter industry are devices that people with disabilities can use.

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City Parks: America's New Infrastructure 
Courtesy of City Parks Alliance

An overview of the five-part series documenting the multi-functional benefits of urban parks. With growing urban populations and aging infrastructure, local governments and their city planners are taking a fresh look at parks as a wise investment of municipal resources to address our greatest urban challenges—from stormwater management and flood prevention to reducing public health costs to economic revitalization and job growth.

For more information:


Case Studies of Water Trail Impacts on Rural Communities
Courtesy of American Trails

Water trail development causes economic and social impacts on rural communities. Chronicles of water trail communities convey values influencing the sustainability of paddle trail projects. Water trails are not a panacea for rural development, however, water trail development can help achieve goals of economic diversification and improved quality of life in communities. Paddle trails are an effective approach to rural economic development and recreational access while enhancing natural and cultural qualities of a community.

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Multi-Use Trail Surface Study
Courtesy of American Trails

The Equine Advisory Council conducted research and interviews throughout Connecticut to determine project cost and general installation, maintenance, environmental impacts, and suitability for multiple user groups for various surface materials.

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Democrats In House Willing to Spend for Parks
Courtesy of National Parks Traveler

Though it's a long way before the dust settles in Washington, Democrats in the House of Representatives have rejected the Trump administration's budget for the National Park Service and kicked aside the reorganization of the Interior Department while calling for more oversight of the department.

The House Appropriations Committee has sent to the full House a funding bill that would deposit $523.9 million into the Land and Water Conservation Fund, including $244 million for the federal program and $280 million for state programs. The total is $85 million above the fiscal year 2019 funding levels and $491 million above the president’s budget request.

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Mining laws have long been used for recreation
Courtesy of High Country News

By Adam M. Sowards

IDAHO - Seventy-five twisting road miles northeast of Boise, Idaho, the South Fork Payette River bends through the tiny community of Lowman, lately a mecca for whitewater sports and other recreational escapes. Hemmed in by steep, pine-covered hillsides, the river has long attracted attention — as a site for a hydroelectric dam, a source of valuable minerals and a destination for outdoor recreation.

Those potential uses, however, cannot always peacefully coexist. In March, a federal administrative law judge for the Bureau of Land Management prohibited mining on 35 small claims along the stream. Judge Andrew S. Pearlstein relied on a little-known law that, paradoxically, was designed to open mining claims. He concluded that scouring the streambed for gold and other minerals would interfere with the activities already taking place — boating, camping and fishing, among others — and that those activities have a greater economic value than mining.

The judge’s decision seems surprising, given mining’s traditional dominance in the West. Yet it opens a window into the long-standing and complicated relationship between mining and recreation, showing how public-land users have often exploited mining laws for purposes far removed from prospecting. That trend may well continue, as Westerners increasingly choose recreation over extraction.

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Designing for access in outdoor spaces doesn’t mean paving pathways
Courtesy of High Country News

By Antonia Malchik

Chris Clasby is a lifelong Montana resident, former team roper and steer wrestler, and an avid angler and hunter. He also has quadriplegia, but that doesn’t mean he wants to be limited to paved pathways when he heads out into the woods. People without disabilities, he told me, tend to assume that he “wants to hunt from a warm vehicle, shoot at a perfect animal out the window, and be served a warm meal while watching TV as someone else field-dresses the animal.”

But Clasby isn’t just along for the ride. The experience of the hunt, which in his case includes taking along a companion who can field-dress Clasby’s quarry, is of paramount importance. “Hunters with disabilities, just like their non-disabled counterparts, have the same expectation — and desire — of strenuous preparation and planning, uncertain success, discomfort, and unfruitful time expended as any other hunter in the most remote backcountry,” Clasby said.

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How Chicago’s South Side Is Creating the ‘Un’ High Line
Courtesy of Nexy City

By Audrey F. Henderson

ILLINOIS - Englewood, in Chicago’s South Side, is only a few miles south of downtown, but in many ways, an entire world away. The city’s glittering skyscrapers are not to be found here. Large parcels of vacant land interspersed with residential, commercial and industrial buildings are indicative of the effects of decades of disinvestment and population loss.

“The recession of 2007-08 decimated many of the homeowners who were left here,” says Anton Seals, lead steward of Grow Greater Englewood, an organization that works with residents in Englewood to create and maintain green business enterprises and sustainable food economies.

But unlike the most famous linear park in the country — and unlike Chicago’s own 606 trail — Grow Greater Englewood plans to create the Englewood trail for and with existing residents.

“We’re … trying to … create spaces, a black space in particular where parents can bring their children to one, return and get closer to nature and learn about food. But [the trail would also include] places where they can have fun, where technology and energy are integrated into these spaces.” says Seals.

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Atlanta creates first food forest in Georgia, largest in U.S.
Courtesy of

By Raisa Habersham

GEORGIA - City Council, on a unanimous vote, approved the transformation of 7.1 acres of property near the Lakewood Fairgrounds and Browns Mill Golf Course into a public park and garden. The food forest is the first in Georgia and the largest in the United States.

The Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill has been in the works since November 2016 when the city accepted an $86,150 grant from the U.S. Forest Service Community Forest and Open Space Program. The federal agency has contributed a total of $164,000 to the project, which has additional support from non-profit groups Trees Atlanta and The Conservation Fund.

The green space, currently vacant property, will feature trees, shrubs and vines that produce fruit along with walking trails, a community garden and restored forest and stream-side areas by 2020, according to the legislation.

Smith said residents will be able to pick their produce from trees in the public park free of charge. “It’s just like going into a park and picking muscadines from a bush,” she said.

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New office created within Michigan DNR to oversee outdoor recreation economy
Courtesy of

By Devon Mahieu

MICHIGAN- A new office has been created within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

On Friday, the department announced the creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry to help build on the strength of the state's abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, natural spaces to enjoy them and entrepreneurial heritage.

The Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry will bring together the opportunities for business growth and attraction with the world-class natural environments to use them in.

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Apply for Community Engagement Training

Engaging all members of the community is an integral part of any planning process for park professionals. At the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, NRPA and the National Charrette Institute will host an interactive, all-day training to provide park professionals with evidence-based strategies, resources and best practices for strengthening their community engagement with underserved populations. Participants will get inspiration from other attendees' knowledge and experience and will develop tangible strategies to take home. Those selected to participate will receive a $400 scholarship to attend.

The deadline to apply is June 7.

Apply here:


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Webinar: National Public Lands Day
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: June 11, 2019
Time: 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET
Cost: Free
Organization: Partnership for the National Trails System

Learn how your organization can build local awareness and interest as you support National Public Lands Day. Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

For more information:

Greater & Greener: Parks As Infrastructure Track
Courtesy of the City Park Alliance

Park and recreation leaders, city planners, design professionals, urban park advocates, and funders from 200+ cities will gather in Denver, Colorado, July 20-24, 2019, for Greater & Greener 2019: Exploring Natural Connections. The highly curated sessions, workshops, and tours facilitate an honest dialogue around solutions, cross-sector and peer-to-peer networking, and tools for building successful park partnerships.

Sessions in this track explore strategies for funding, designing, building and managing parks as urban infrastructure for water management, flood mitigation, transportation and connectivity. To learn more, watch City Parks Alliance's recent video series City Parks: America's New Infrastructure.

Sessions Include:

- Resilient Cities: Park Planning for Resiliency
- Parks and Private Development: Designing Multi-functional Infrastructure
- Stormwater Infrastructure and Parks: Comparing Scaled Approaches with Non-traditional Partnerships

For more information:


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Deputy Director
MetroParks of Butler County, Ohio
Posted May 28, 2019. Closes June 21, 2019.

Parks Director
Tulsa County Parks, Oklahoma
Posted May 15, 2019. Open until filled.

Executive Director
Community Park District of La Grange Park, Illinois
Posted May 15, 2019. Closes June 7, 2019.

Chief Financial Officer
Great Parks of Hamilton County, Ohio
Posted May 9, 2019. Closes June 7, 2019.

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