National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

May 14, 2019


Pilot Rock celebrates 60th Anniversary

We can't believe it has already been 60 years! Since May 1959, our product lines, customer base, group of employees and building sizes have expanded beyond expectations. We would not be where we are today without the support of our customers, employees and the community.

Learn more about our history:


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Seeking your System Management Plans

Maricopa County, Arizona is in the development stages of updating our 10 Year System Master Plan. I would like to ask NACPRO Members to send me a link to their most recent System Master Plan. I know members of this organization have some of the best county systems in the country!

Lauren Bromley
Park and Open Space Planner
[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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What a Landmark Scooter Safety Study Says About Head Injuries
Courtesy of City Lab

By Sarah Holder

At the annual Epidemic Intelligence Service conference in Atlanta this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented findings from research on several public health scourges: Legionella, drug-resistant bacterial infections, the dreaded norovirus, and electric scooters.

The dangers posed by each of these threats varied widely. But they do have something in common: They’re mostly preventable. Avoid poorly maintained hot tubs. Don’t get weight loss surgery in Mexico. Wash your hands a lot. And, the CDC stresses, please wear a helmet.

The CDC began studying the public health impacts of dockless electric scooters soon after the tiny contraptions arrived on the streets of Austin, Texas, in April of 2018. The city’s transportation and public health agencies quickly noticed that a lot of people seemed to be falling off the vehicles, so they requested support to study the problem.

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Kansas City's Park System Is 125 Years Old — How Do We Make It Last Another 125?
Courtesy of

By Luke X. Martin

MISSOURI - When George Kessler drafted plans in 1893 for a parks and boulevard system in Kansas City, he created a model for cities throughout the world. From Mexico City to Denver and Indianapolis, Kessler had a hand in hundreds of projects.

"I mean, it's the backbone of the city," says Leon Younger, who headed up Jackson County's Parks and Recreation Department from 1983 to 1988. "Across the country that's always been how people talk about the system."

More than 125 years later, Kansas City residents and visitors are still enjoying Kessler's vision. Not only did his framework take advantage of existing stream corridors to help deal with flooding, but it connected neighborhoods, business centers and parks in a way they hadn't been before.

But keeping that system healthy for another 125 isn't a given, says Younger, who has since founded a consulting and planning firm that works with governments and non-profits around the world.

"It takes a really strong commitment by the leadership in the community to want to make parks that special place," he says.

So how best to ensure our parks and boulevards can be enjoyed for years to come?

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The Best Places for Bikes in the United States
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

PeopleForBikes released this week the 2019 PlacesForBikes City Ratings, reporting a much higher participation rate and, thus, "better data and have an improved picture of bicycling in the United States."

A blog post announcing the new rankings reports a diverse mix of cities in the top 20 list, "which signals that progress is being made across the board."

The rankings are built on a scoring system that rates five key areas: "Ridership (how many people ride bikes?), Safety (how safe is it to ride bikes?), Network (how easy is it for people to get where they need to go?), Acceleration (how fast is the bike network expanding?) and Reach (how well the network serves all neighborhoods in the community)." In all, the rankings make 184 calculations per city, and draw data from six sources.

A new city took over the top spot this year: Boulder, Colorado, bumping Fort Collins, Colorado from the top spot. Fort Collins fell to #2. Rounding out the top five are Eugene, Oregon; Manhattan, New York, and Arlington, Virginia. A note on each of the places is included in the blog post.

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Medford, MA installs '3D' crosswalk to increase safety
Courtesy of

By Katie Pyzyk

MASSACHUSETTS - Cities often use creative crosswalks to engage citizens, as they can liven streets and represent a city's history or culture. City staff also note creative crosswalks' safety effect because vehicles often slow when drivers see the images on the ground ahead of them.

In some instances, creative crosswalks primarily serve as a traffic calming function instead of an aesthetic one. That's exactly what Medford intended with its 3D crosswalk. A similar floating crosswalk was installed in London earlier this year.

While vehicles are legally required to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, drivers don't always comply. Some drivers fall into complacency and become oblivious to signals they encounter daily. 3D crosswalks are a tool to assist cities with their Vision Zero goals by bringing drivers back to attention and watching out for pedestrians. Some drivers don't like the crosswalks because they believe they're going to hit something in the road and become startled, but pedestrian safety advocates say that's the intended effect.

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Some ADA-Compliance Strategies and Enforcement Trends
Courtesy of NRPA

By John N. McGovern, J.D.

It is always busy season in parks and recreation. Half of us are working on budgets for the coming year, and half of us are reviewing our first-quarter numbers, but all of us are focused on improving the quality of life in our communities. However, a constant challenge for all is continuing our work on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

One of the last things a park and recreation professional wants to hear is: “We had an ADA complaint yesterday.” Following is some advice about compliance strategies and some trends regarding ADA enforcement...

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Conservation groups looking to calculate return on years of local investments
Courtesy of

By David Hurst

PENNSYLVANIA – There’s no doubt that efforts to preserve or revive the Laurel Highlands’ watersheds have created a steady stream of tourism opportunities in recent years, Somerset Conservation District Manager Len Lichvar said.

Whether it’s an angler pulling a brown trout from a pristine stream, a kayaker paddling down the Stonycreek River or bikers pedaling through, “we know people are coming here to utilize our resources,” he said.

Area conservation groups are trying to quantify the impact of conservation efforts, spearheading a study to calculate the economic return from their collective decades of environmental improvement efforts.

Virginia-based environmental consulting firm Key-Log Economics is gathering data to conduct the work in an attempt to calculate the eco-tourism dollars that have been generated from areas where acid mine discharge remediation, stream habitat restoration work and other conservation cleanup efforts have created new outdoor opportunities.

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What Will It Take to Finish This Bike Trail Across the U.S.?
Courtesy of City Lab

By Andrew Small

The vision for a complete cross-country route was one of the founding dreams for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, an organization hatched in 1986 to help convert former rail corridors into public trails for bikers, strollers, and other active transportation types. Founders David Burwell and Peter Harnik were railroad history buffs, and a coast-to-coast backbone was always part their vision. Not coincidentally, this week marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869.

After a 12-month assessment of route options using 34,000 miles of existing bike trails nationwide, RTC has identified the remaining 90 trail gaps to be filled. (The complete GIS route for the trail is available on their website.) Connecting these trails could put an estimated 50 million Americans within 50 miles of the route.

One big incentive to fund the trail for state and local leaders along the route: economic development potential from tourism. A study conducted by RTC in 2014 found that visitors to Pennsylvania’s Three Rivers Heritage Trail generated an estimated $8.3 million for nearby towns each year.

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For Veterans, Outdoor Therapy Could Become Law
Courtesy of Outside Online

By Wes Siler

On May 1, Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey introduced the Outdoor Recreation Therapy for Veterans Act. The bill, HR 2435, directs the secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a task force to study the implementation of a mental-health program on public lands for veterans. This group, which would be composed of five cabinet secretaries (from the VA, Interior, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Defense), plus the chief of the Army Corps of Engineers, would be charged with finding ways to better use public land in treatment and therapy for vets—and coming up with the policy recommendations to make it all happen.

"Studies have shown—and veterans organizations strongly concur—that outdoor recreational activities can provide powerful therapeutic and healing benefits as well as camaraderie for veterans struggling with combat-related injuries or post-traumatic stress," said Smith in a statement. "We should be thinking outside-the-box to discover as many ways as possible to help veterans, and opening up federal lands and removing barriers to access for remedial outdoor recreation is a no-brainer. My legislation would help increase access to this treatment option."

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River Falls plans to remove dams and restore its rapids. Will Minneapolis and St. Paul be next?
Courtesy of

By Bob Shaw

In Wisconsin, the city of River Falls is planning to remove two dams in the Kinnickinnic River, similar to a proposal to remove Mississippi River dams in Minneapolis.

The planned dam removal — and the proposed dam removal — reflects a drive to return rivers to their natural, free-flowing state.

In 2018, a record of 88 dams were removed nationwide, according to the river-advocacy group American Rivers.

“Locks and dams are artifacts of the 20th century,” said Whitney Clark, president of the Friends of the Mississippi River. Clark said the dams — many built for milling flour — have outlived their usefulness.

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The Insurers That Pay You for Time Spent Outside
Courtesy of Outside Online

By Kate Siber

Insurance providers offer all kinds of incentives to get us to make better choices. Anyone on an employee medical plan has gotten used to prods from HR to take advantage of gym discounts or earn a goodie bag by getting an annual checkup.

But more recently, a handful of health companies have begun investing in efforts to get us to spend more time outdoors. Kaiser Permanente, based in Northern California, has been helping to upgrade parks and improve parks access on the West Coast, particularly in low-income areas. Since 2015, the company has spent more than $7 million on 25 local park and open-space projects in Northern California alone, building new playgrounds and a fitness court, launching a mobile van that supports urban gardening and farming in the city of San Francisco, and funding programs that introduce people to parks and train park staff.

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New Florida task force to study blue-green algae solutions
Courtesy of the River Management Society

HOBE SOUND, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s governor has created a new task force to help clean up the state’s lakes and rivers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the formation of the Blue-green Algae Task Force during a news conference Monday at the Nathaniel P. Reed Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge.

“It’s one thing to go and get the resources, but I want to make sure when we’re applying those, we’re applying it the best possible way,” DeSantis said. “That we’re prioritizing the projects that are the most urgent and that we’re doing what we can to effectively deal with the nutrients, to deal with the algae, to deal with the red tide.”

The five-member group will make recommendations to reduce nutrients in Lake Okeechobee and downstream estuaries as well as look at connections to the red tide algal blooms that have affected Florida’s coasts, DeSantis said.

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Democratic Presidential Candidates Staking out Their Environmental Positions
Courtesy of the National Parks Traveler

By Kurt Repanshek

In what almost assuredly will become a plank in the Democratic Party's platform heading into the 2020 president election, those seeking the party's nomination are speaking about the need to rein in climate change, with many endorsing the "Green New Deal" that calls for an economy powered entirely by renewable energy.

Some are offering plums for national park lovers, with Elizabeth Warren pledging to make parks free to enter and Beto O'Rourke promising to add more parks and monuments to the National Park System.

Positions held by politicians constantly evolve, and as the months, and primaries, slip by, we'll likely see movement in the candidates' stances as they jockey for support. Key among the issues facing the Democrats is whether they support the Green New Deal, a proposal to both address climate change drivers and reduce economic inequality across America.

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Barbara Tulipane: Over a Decade in Service to Parks and Recreation

By Richard J. Dolesh

Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA’s president & chief executive officer, will leave NRPA June 1, 2019, after 11 years of remarkable and productive service to the association. Her time at NRPA has been marked by so many significant changes and milestones that it is difficult to pinpoint which have been the most important.

Barbara took the helm of NRPA in August 2008, at the height of the Great Recession, a time of profound financial turmoil in our nation. In fact, the depth of the effects of the recession had not yet been felt by parks and recreation at that point, but they reverberated in the budgets of park and rec agencies for years to come.

Despite that daunting outlook, NRPA not only returned to financial health under Barbara’s leadership, but grew significantly and exceeded all financial expectations in gaining new revenues, adding new members and becoming the highly respected association that it is today.

I worked with Barbara during her entire time at NRPA, so it was a privilege to sit down with her for this farewell interview. She is self-deprecating beyond words and very humble when it comes to talking about herself and her accomplishments. Barbara brought much to the success of NRPA over the past 11 years, and we will miss her greatly.

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2019 NACo Achievement Award Winners Announced

By Lindsey Maggard

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is pleased to announce the winners for the 2019 Achievement Awards. NACo recognized 616 entries from counties and state associations in 32 states. All winners are available in our searchable awards database, where winning programs are searchable by year, category and state dating back to 2007.

For more information:


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Webinar: Funding Parks Through Institutional Health Partnerships
Courtesy of the City Park Alliance

When: May 15, 2019
Time: 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern

Join us to explore different models for partnering with health institutions to fund, program, and activate parks and green spaces in the communities where they are located. Strategies include improving access to parks and recreational opportunities, nutrition education, job training, affordable housing, and others. Presenters will discuss specific examples of these partnerships in action.

For more information:


Webinar: Effective OHV Economic Impact Studies
Courtesy of NOHVCC

When: May 22, 2019
Time: 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm Eastern
Cost: Free

Mark Imerman from Regional Strategic, Ltd. will make a presentation on economic impact modeling for the off-highway vehicle recreation industry. The presentation will provide an overview of how economic impact modeling works, the information needed, and how to ensure you get accurate results from your effort. It will also include highlights from a recently completed survey and impact modeling effort in Iowa.

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Webinar: Improve Your Volunteer Stewardship Toolbox
Courtesy of American Trails

When: May 30, 2019
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm Eastern
Cost: Free

Managing volunteers to achieve high quality trail stewardship work for land managers is not easy. Learn from three organizations about the tools and resources available to you that will help you start, expand or enhance your outdoor stewardship volunteer program, achieving your goals, and providing exceptional service to land managers.

For more information:

Webinar: Designing Near Wetlands, Streams, Forests, and Other Environmental Resources
Courtesy of American Trails

When: June 20, 2019
Time: 10:00 am Pacific
Cost: $19 for members, $39 for non-members

This presentation will discuss the seven biggest considerations for planners and designers when designing near wetlands, streams, forests, and other environmental resources.

Presented by:

Daniel Biggs, Landscape Architect, Weston & Sampson
Jason Philbin, President, PermaTrak

For more information:


2019 Classes - Crime Prevention through Environmental Design
Courtesy of NICP

5 Day Basic CPTED Course
- Greenville, SC, May 20 - 24, 2019
- Jefferson City, MO, June 10 -14, 2019
- Pico Rivera, CA, June 16-18, 2019
- Ft. Collins, CO, July 8 - 12, 2019
- Phoenix, AZ, July 22-26, 2019
- Las Vegas, NV, Sept. 16- 10, 2019
- Rancho Cordova, CA, Oct. 21-25, 2019

3 Day Advanced CPTED
- Jefferson City, MO, July 16 - 18, 2019
- Greenville, SC, Oct. 7 -9, 2019
- Las Vegas, NV, Nov. 4-6, 2019
- Charlotte, NC, Dec. 10-12, 2019

3 Day Basic CPTED Course
- Mountain View, CA, Aug. 20-22, 2019
- Las Vegas, NV, Nov. 7-8, 2019

2 Day CPTED Specialized Topics
- Greenville, SC, Oct. 10-11, 2019

For more information:


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

Landscape Architect
Forest Preserve District of Will County, Illinois
Posted May 7, 2019. Closes May 24, 2019.

Chief Animal Services Officer
City of Austin, Texas
Posted April 23, 2019. Closes May 17, 2019.


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