National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

April 30, 2019

2019 NACPRO Summer Meeting - Hotel Reservations

I just learned yesterday that our hotel room block at the Hampton Inn is sold out. I am working to secure a small block of rooms at another hotel near the Hampton Inn.

I’ll share details once they are available.


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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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New E-Bike Resources Available
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are increasingly popular, as they open up bicycling to new users and enable people to make trips by bike that they might not have otherwise. At the same time, allowing e-bikes on trails often raises community concerns about safety—particularly related to speed.

Read our new Trail-Building Toolbox entry on e-bikes to learn more about the technology and see how other communities have managed e-bikes on their trails.

For more information:


Outdoor recreation along Arizona’s waterways a $13.5 billion industry, new report says
Courtesy of the Outdoor Industry Association

Arizona’s waterways, enjoyed by more than 1.5 million residents each year, contribute $13.5 billion to the state’s economy and support 114,000 jobs, according to a report released recently by Audubon Arizona.

The study was completed with guidance from business, civic, governmental, outdoor recreation, conservation and tourism representatives and conducted by economics research firm Southwick Associates, according to a release.

Water-based outdoor recreation as an industry ranks above mining and golf in terms of total economic output to the state. The industry contributes $7.1 billion to Arizona’s GDP, provides $4.5 billion in household income and generates $1.8 billion in tax revenues.

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Miami Innovation Lab
Courtesy of NRPA

By Richard J. Dolesh

If you were asked to identify one way that a changing climate was affecting your park and recreation system, what would you pick? Would it be sea-level rise, drought, coastal and river flooding, extreme heat, invasive species, ice storms, hurricanes, more frequent and intense thunderstorms or deluge rain events?

Making parks more climate resilient was the topic of NRPA’s latest Innovation Lab, held January 2019, in Miami in partnership with the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces department.

Key takeaways from this session highlighted the environmental and social injustices of vulnerable populations that often have the least means to deal with acute shocks from extreme events, such as hurricanes, storms and drought. Presenters agreed that parks play a vital role in developing resilient communities because they are so strategically located within communities. Osborne-Jelks noted that “process is as important as results.” To gain community buy-in, planners and implementers of resiliency solutions must have a community-centered approach and engagement at every level — in planning, preparing and implementing solutions.

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Making outdoor recreation accessible for Utahns with disabilities
Courtesy of

By Cara MacDonald

UTAH — A physical or mental disability may seem like a big roadblock to participating in outdoor recreation, but many organizations and gear companies in Utah are seeking to make adventuring outside more accessible.

The simple truth is outdoor recreation is a lot more difficult and expensive for individuals with disabilities, as it requires special equipment and is often a lot more challenging. In the Outdoor Foundation’s 2016 Outdoor Participation Report, they identified that 16 percent of Americans who don’t participate in outdoor activities say it’s due to a physically limiting disability, while an additional 3 percent don’t because they have a family member with a disability.

Just as there are numerous adaptive sports, there’s plenty of adaptive equipment as well. Most can be purchased directly or rented out from local adaptive recreation activists like the National Ability Center, Common Ground Outdoor Adventures and Wasatch Adaptive Sports.

For more information:


Scientists propose bird conservation plan based on eBird data
Courtesy of Cornell University

By Gustave Axelson

A blueprint for conserving enough habitat to protect the populations of almost one-third of the warblers, orioles, tanagers and other birds that migrate among the Americas throughout the year is detailed in research published April 15 in Nature Communications.

An international team of scientists used eBird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s global citizen science database, to calculate how to sufficiently conserve habitat across the Western Hemisphere for all the habitats these birds use throughout their annual cycle of breeding, migration and overwintering. The study provides planners with guidance on the locations and amounts of land that must be conserved for 30% of the global populations for each of 117 bird species that migrate to the Neotropics (Central and South America, the Caribbean and southern North America).

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Jefferson City Parks and Recreation installs solar-powered benches
Courtesy of

By Kyreon Lee

MISSOURI — Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Community Relations Manager Amy Schroeder said the department ordered five benches. She said the benches include LED lighting for safety and security, a solar panel that charges a battery, four USB ports and two wireless charging pads.

"Any opportunity that we as a parks and recreation department can combined the factors of environmental sustainability and conservation and safety and security, it's pretty cool," Schroeder said.

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FEMA Funding for Building Nature-Based Resilient Communities
Courtesy of NRPA

By Rowan Schmidt, Johnny Mojica and Jordan Wildish

Across the country, parks, open spaces and conservation lands help to buffer communities from some of the damages caused by these natural disasters. Riverfront trail systems can capture and store water during floods, areas managed for vegetation can serve as wildfire buffers, coastal wetlands can reduce coastal storm damage and urban trees can reduce the impacts of dangerous heatwaves. Economic studies have shown that these “nature-based solutions” can be more cost-effective than traditional man-made solutions, like levees or seawalls, while providing multiple community benefits. Put simply, parks and open spaces are an important component of resilience planning.

Increasingly, FEMA has begun to recognize the role of nature-based solutions for building community resilience and mitigating the impacts of floods, wildfires and drought. These advances are reflected in recent policy updates that recognize the economic value of these kinds of investments and have made it easier to access FEMA mitigation funding for land conservation (especially in floodplains) and other nature-based solutions, such as post-wildfire restoration of forested lands, aquifer storage and recovery, wetland and riparian restoration, and green infrastructure. Furthermore, cities, park agencies and private nonprofit land trusts are eligible to apply for these funds.

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BUILD Your Trail
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is now accepting applications for BUILD Transportation Grants. BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) prioritizes projects that will have a significant local or regional impact, and the current round of funding will issue $900 million in grants.

Applications are due by July 15. Visit U.S. DOT’s website for complete information, and consider viewing a webinar to help inform and improve your application.

For more information:


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FY20 Presidential Budget Request: Year Three of Eliminations and Deep Cuts to Park and Rec Priorities
Courtesy of NRPA

The White House released its FY20 budget request this week, kicking off debate for the next budget cycle. Although Congress passed a final budget agreement for FY19, ending the long government shutdown just weeks before, the release of the President’s budget is traditionally intended to set the tone for budget negotiations by Congress for the next fiscal year. Much like President Trump’s budget proposal last year, which was largely ignored by Congress, this budget request is assumed to be “dead on arrival.”

Department of Interior: Proposed elimination of the state assistance program of the Land and Water Conversation Fund (LWCF). The Department of Interior argues that the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act funds can be used to supplant this cut. With a growing backlog of need and deferred maintenance at all levels of parks, NRPA opposes such cuts.

NRPA members have been fighting for years to get permanent authorization of LWCF, and the bill to make that happen was just signed, but we will still need to work to make sure that these cuts to the State Assistance program aren’t made.

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Celebrate the Great American Rail-Trail
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

On May 8, 2019, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and our partners across the country are celebrating the Great American Rail-Trail—and you’re invited to celebrate with us! We’ll reveal the preferred route that the Great American Rail-Trail will take from Washington, D.C., to Washington State at four trailside events, and we’ll be broadcasting it all live on our website and our Facebook Page from 1-2 p.m. Eastern.

Help us get the word out about the "Great American" before the big day using our handy promotional toolkit.

We hope you’ll be part of this moment with us as we unveil the details of this incredible trail, where it will go and what it will take to bring it to life!

For more information:


Senate Takes Action on Trail Funding
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

Two recent proposals in the United States Senate seek to make more and better trail funding a reality. Sens. Cardin (D-Md.) and Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced S. 1098, a bill to help restore the integrity of the Transportation Alternatives program—a critical funding source for trails—and make it function better.

In addition, Sens. Merkley (D-Ore.) and Van Hollen (D-Md.) have requested to the staff writing the next transportation bill that funding for trail networks and spines be added to the bill.

Read more:


Colorado senators join others to fully fund LWCF
Courtesy of

By Charles Ashby

U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet were part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers Tuesday who introduced a bill to fully fund the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The bill calls for permanently funding the program to the $900 million level that was originally planned when the law was enacted more than 50 years ago. Congress, however, has rarely funded it to that level.

Even though President Donald Trump signed the bill last month to reauthorize the program, he did not include any funding for it in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

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How wildlife bridges over highways make animals—and people—safer
Courtesy of National Geographic

By Starre Vartan

There’s one solution that’s been remarkably effective around the world in decreasing collisions between cars and animals crossing the road: wildlife under- and overpasses. Studies that looked at a cross-section of native species' deaths on highways in Florida, bandicoots and wallabies in Australia, and jaguars in Mexico, just to name a few, all show that wildlife crossings save money and lives, both human and animal.

One of the most looked-to examples of successful wildlife overpasses is in Banff, over the Trans-Canada Highway. A study there shows that in just one two-mile stretch, wildlife-vehicle crashes reduced from an average of 12 a year to 2.5, reducing costs of crashes by 90 percent—over $100,000. It’s statistics like these that have led to the addition of crossings there over the last two decades.

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America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2019
Courtesy of American Rivers

The 2019 list of "America's Most Endangered Rivers" raises alarms and calls for actions about the threats facing ten rivers, including some of the most famous and picturesque rivers in the country.

Here is the complete list:

1. Gila River, New Mexico
2. Hudson River, New York
3. The Upper Mississippi River (multiple states)
4. Green-Duwamish River, Washington
5. Willamette River, Oregon
6. Chilkat River, Alaska
7. South Fork Salmon River, Idaho
8. Buffalo National River, Arkansas
9. Big Darby Creek, Ohio
10. Stikine River, Alaska

Risks facing rivers are numerous, ranging between climate change, environmentally insensitive infrastructure development, illegal levees, mines, and water pollution from industrial and agriculture operations.

Read more:


The new Best Restored Shores award spotlights shoreline restoration successes
Courtesy of the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association

ASBPA is dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing our coast, both shores and beaches, so now ASBPA is seeking nominations for shoreline restoration projects. This year ASBPA has introduced the Best Restored Shores award, which will focus on projects that enhance the environment of low-energy or moderate-energy shorelines.

The award-winning projects could include:

• Back bay projects
• Living shoreline projects (including large freshwater lakes)
• Beneficial use of dredge material for environmental projects
• Seagrass, shellfish, reef, and other submerged habitat projects
• Wetlands, mangroves, and other intertidal habitat and shoreline enhancement, restoration or creation

Please submit nominations to [email protected] for suitable projects by July 12. We’re looking for geographic variety, with projects from the Great Lakes to the Gulf and from Alaska to Puerto Rico. We’re looking for habitat diversity, from shallow water embayments, wetlands to tropical reefs. We’re looking for myriad creative solutions that can include restoration of mangrove forests, oyster reefs, coral reefs, wetlands, and maritime forests.

The winning projects will be awarded at the upcoming national conference in Myrtle Beach, SC.

For more information:


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Highlight Your Kids to Parks Day Event by Inviting Elected Officials

Kids to Parks Day is coming up! May 18 is a national day of play that connects kids and families with their local, state and national parks. The National Park Trust has partnered with NRPA to make it easy to invite your elected officials to your Kids to Parks Day event. We've put together this free toolkit to make your event double as a Park Champion event so your members of Congress can join the celebration and see firsthand the importance of connecting kids to parks.

For more information:


Safe Places to Play Grants

The U.S. Soccer Foundation has announced upcoming grant cycles for the Safe Places to Play Grant program to support initiatives nationwide to build soccer fields. Funds are available for field space that will primarily be used for soccer. Funds may support irrigation, lighting, synthetic turf and modular athletic flooring material costs. The 2019 Letter of Interest (LOI) deadlines are May 24 and September 27.

For more information:


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NACo's 84TH Annual Conference & Exposition

July 12–15, 2019 | Clark County/Las Vegas, Nevada

The NACo Annual Conference is the largest meeting of county elected and appointed officials from across the country. Participants from counties of all sizes come together to shape NACo's federal policy agenda, share proven practices and strengthen knowledge networks to help improve residents' lives and the efficiency of county government.

NACo conferences are key opportunities to exchange cutting-edge best practices and shape NACo's federal policy agenda for the year ahead. Click here for a template letter to tell your story and show how attendance benefits your county.

For more information:


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Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services Director
City of San Jose, California
Posted April 24, 2019. Closes May 13, 2019.

Administrative Supervisor, Conservation
Polk County Conservation Board, Iowa
Posted April 22, 2019. Closes May 5, 2019.

Conservation Construction Maintenance Manager
Polk County Conservation Board, Iowa
Posted April 22, 2019. Closes May 12, 2019.

District Administrator
Carmichael Recreation & Park District, California
Posted April 11, 2019. Closes May 10, 2019.


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