National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

April 16, 2019

2019 NACPRO Summer Meeting - Join us in Colorado!

The 2019 NACPRO Meeting will be in Douglas County, Colorado - voted America's Healthiest Community by US News and World Report in March 2019.

Our county park tour will feature a cookout lunch at the Sandstone Ranch, a stunning new open space property.

The awards banquet will recognize 36 projects, organizations and individuals for excellence in parks and recreation.

And our educational workshop will host a roundtable discussion on managing e-bikes and drones, led by local park managers.

Best of all are the ample opportunities to talk with your peers about common issues and challenges.

Registration deadline: June 4, 2019.

For more information:

HEADS-UP: Many of the airlines have canceled flights due to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8/9 jets. If you are planning to attend the summer meeting in Castle Rock, Colorado, I recommend booking your flight soon because fewer planes means fewer seats, which means more planes will be full and prices will likely increase.


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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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Parks and rec director emotionally announces he is leaving his job
Courtesy of

KANSAS - Longtime Shawnee County Parks and Recreation director John Knight said Thursday his decision to leave that job was voluntary, though his words and emotions suggested that wasn’t entirely the case.

An employee since 1987 of the county’s parks and recreation department, Knight became its interim director in 1999 and has been its director since 2000.

Knight added that as parks and recreation director, at times he has worked as many as 12 hours a day and seven days a week.

“Maybe it’s time for me to slow down a little bit,” he said.

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America’s Healthiest Community: Douglas County
Courtesy of US News and World Report

By Rachel Cernansky

Colorado is home to Douglas County, the No. 1 community in the second annual U.S. News rankings of the Healthiest Communities in America. Created in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, the project assessed nearly 3,000 U.S. counties and county equivalents on 81 metrics in 10 categories that shape the core of a community's well-being, from traditional health indicators like cancer prevalence and obesity to social determinants such as crime rates, housing quality and the share of a population living in poverty.

Bolstered by high average scores across its counties in categories like food and nutrition and community vitality, Colorado boasts seven of America's top 25 Healthiest Communities and 28 of the top 500 overall. Yet it's Douglas County – which came in second in last year's inaugural Healthiest Communities rankings to then-No. 1 Falls Church, Virginia – that's the bellwether.

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The Field Guide for Parks and Creative Placemaking
Courtesy of the City Parks Alliance

The Trust for Public Land and City Parks Alliance are excited to announce the launch of The Field Guide for Creative Placemaking and Parks, funded in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. We define creative placemaking as a cooperative, community-based process using arts and cultural expression to create or rejuvenate parks and open spaces, thus deepening a sense of place and inspiring community pride.

The Field Guide is intended to connect creative placemaking with parks and open spaces. It answers two important questions: first, “What is creative placemaking?” and second, “How does creative placemaking make for better parks and stronger communities?”

For more information:


Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is officially sensory inclusive
Courtesy of

By Camryn Justice

OHIO — Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is now officially certified as a sensory inclusive zoo after a new initiative launched on Friday.

The zoo and all of the events and programs offered by the zoo will now offer additional tools and information for guests with sensory needs.

The initiative is aimed to help the zoo in assisting guests who may have a sensitivity to over-stimulation and noise. These sensitivities are common in people with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions.

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Esri App Makes Data Visualization Easy
Courtesy of Planetizen

By Camille Fink

The Esri Maps for Public Policy app allows users to quickly and easily put together maps by customizing existing Esri maps. "The app gives users ready-to-use location intelligence and express access to policy maps, so they can skip the steps of obtaining and preparing the data," writes Karisa Schroeder.

The app maps are based on the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World collection of data, which is constantly updated. Esri Maps for Public Policy users select a location at the local, state, or national level and a topic and then have the option to add data from any of 400 available maps.

For more information:


Trails Benefits Library
Courtesy of Headwaters Economics

This Trails Benefits Library is a collection of studies on the positive impacts of trails on businesses, public health, and quality of life. Use this form to search by type of benefit, use, year, and region.

For more information:


OHV Economic Impact Studies Available
Courtesy of NOHVCC

Last year NOHVCC asked for partners o share recent OHV economic impact studies so NOHVCC could make them available to the OHV community. In addition, staff has collected various other economic impact studies.

These studies can be used to show the dramatic positive impact of OHV recreation (and, in some cases, all recreation) can have on communities. They can also serve as inspiration for those who are seeking to quantify the impact of OHV use in their area.

For more information:


Land conservation helps local economies grow
Courtesy of

By Harvard University

Land conservation modestly increases employment rates, a traditional indicator of economic growth, according to an analysis of New England cities and towns, led by scientists at Amherst College, Harvard Forest, the Highstead Foundation, and Boston University.

The study, published today in Conservation Biology, is the first of its kind, estimating the local net impacts of both private and public land conservation over 25 years (1990-2015) across 1500 cities and towns that are home to 99.97% of New England's population.

The study shows that when land protection increased, employment increased over the next five-year period, even when controlling rigorously for other associated factors. "Employment gains were modest but significant across the region, and the effect was amplified in more rural areas," says Kate Sims, Chair of the Economics Department at Amherst College and a co-lead author of the study. To illustrate the study's results, she explained that if a town with 50,000 people employed increased its land protection by 50%, it saw, on average, 750 additional people employed in the next five years.

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‘Protectors of the Coast’ — What the Northward March of Mangroves Means for Fishing, Flooding and Carbon
Courtesy of Climate Central

By Ayurella Horn-Muller

Ranges of mangroves have naturally waxed and waned over the years, influenced by the weather, but with climate change has come a crucial reduction in crop- and tree-killing freeze events.

The last freeze strong enough to wipe out mangroves took place in 1989. This decline in the number of frosts, coupled with intensifying storms spreading seed-like propagules, is causing the trees to push poleward.

Florida legislators regard the trees as storm buffers and coastal habitat, and the Mangrove Preservation and Trimming Act safeguards mangroves and forbids their trimming by anyone lacking arborist certification. On average, researchers have estimated mangroves protect $13 billion worth of property in the U.S. annually from storm and flood damage.

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2019 Recreational Trails Program Annual Report
Courtesy of American Trails

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The RTP provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

This Annual Report describes RTP funding and administration, with examples of the variety of projects that States have funded to build and enhance recreational trails across America. Tables show the annual levels of funding since 1993, and each State’s share of RTP funds in the most recent Fiscal Year, 2018.

Download here:


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Academy Externships

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration Externship Program enables outstanding young professionals 35 years of age and younger in the parks and recreation field to interact with and learn from members of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, and other individuals who attend the NRPA Congress and its associated meetings. Up to four Externs are selected each year, of which two are Ernest T. Atwell diversity externships.

Selected externs each receive:
1) Reimbursement for the NRPA Congress registration;
2) Up to $1,000 in reimbursement for conference expenses and travel;
3) A ticket for the Academy’s Annual Banquet.

Eligible applicants should submit the application form and supporting materials no later than Friday, April 26, 2019. Applications must be submitted with two (2) letters of recommendation via e-mail as a PDF.

For more information:


SORP Announces the Second Round of Jarvi Scholarships

The Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals will be opening the second round of the Christopher K. Jarvi Scholarship to Advance Partnerships on May 1, 2019. This scholarship fund was created to help dedicated professionals explore ways to integrate more partnerships into their work to benefit and bring value to parks, public lands and the communities that host them.

In 2018, SORP awarded 13 scholarship totaling $15,000 dollars to public and nonprofit professionals. Scholarships range from $500-$1,500 and may be used over the 18 months following the award. The scholarship period closes in July 31, 2019.

For more information:


City and Atlanta Public Schools launching a pilot program to turn school lands into public parks
Courtesy of

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta can greatly add to public green space and parks by partnering with the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to open up school property to the public.

The idea is getting traction in Atlanta. The city of Atlanta, the Trust for Public Land, Park Pride, the Urban Land Institute-Atlanta and the Atlanta Public Schools are about to launch a pilot program that would welcome the public to use school grounds after hours and on weekends.

Rachel Sprecher, executive director in the Office of Partnerships and Development for the Atlanta Public Schools, said APS is the largest landowner in the city. She said there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before opening up all of the city’s schools to the public. Will there be fences? Who is going to do security? Who is going to maintain it? What about liability? Who will be responsible for programming?

Another key issue is equity. Some communities in Atlanta are park rich and other are park poor. Incorporating the grounds of public schools would provide public green space in areas throughout the city.

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Westerners cannot afford 2 more years of “energy dominance” — our leaders must protect public lands
Courtesy of the Colorado Sun

By Layne Rigney

Two years ago, President Donald Trump signed the executive order on “energy dominance,” setting forth his administration’s priorities when it comes to the production of energy resources on our public lands.

The executive order mandated a review of all actions that could “burden” the development of energy resources; it also immediately revoked a host of Obama-era policies. While on its face the energy dominance agenda is ostensibly aimed at energy independence (a goal of U.S. presidents for decades), the new policies place a heavy emphasis on producing and exporting fossil fuels at the expense of everything else.

The solution to these imbalances is simple: the administration, and by extension the BLM, should consider outdoor recreation uses and concerns on equal footing with extractive uses in their planning processes.

By diversifying their economic drivers away from the boom-and-bust cycle of resource extraction, communities are able to attract not only tourists and recreation enthusiasts, but businesses and professionals who are searching for the quality of life outdoor recreation provides.

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Role of Parks and Rec during Natural Disaster Response
Courtesy of NRPA

Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. In this month’s poll we asked the public, which roles are most important for local park and recreation agencies to play in disaster response and recovery, such as wildfires, hurricanes and floods?

From the study, there were two key findings: Americans feel it’s most important for their local park and recreation agency to serve as an emergency distribution center (66 percent) and to provide shelter during an emergency (62 percent).

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New Secretary Confirmed at the U.S. Department of the Interior
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

"The Senate on Thursday afternoon voted to confirm David Bernhardt to lead the Department of the Interior," reports Umair Irfan.

"Bernhardt has been serving as acting secretary since January after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned late last year. He was nominated to be the permanent secretary in February."

Irfain lists three ket things to know about the new Secretary of the Interior: 1) Bernhardt has many potential conflicts of interest, 2) Bernhardt is likely to continue former Secretary Ryan Zinke's agenda of reduced federal land protections and environmental regulations, and 3) Democrats are likely to keep a very close eye on Bernhardt should the new Interior Secretary run afoul of the law or ethics rules.

Read more:


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Kristine Stratton Selected as New President and CEO of NRPA

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) today announced the selection of Kristine Stratton as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the organization. Stratton, who currently serves as senior vice president of operations at Earthjustice, will begin her new role as NRPA president and CEO June 5.

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2019 Agency Performance Review

Are you looking for data and insights to help gain more funding support, improve operations and better serve your community? The recently released 2019 NRPA Agency Performance Review presents Park Metrics data from more than a thousand park and recreation agencies to provide guidance on the steps you should take and the resources you need to improve your agency's performance. It also examines present-day uncertainties and future trends affecting the field. Read the report and compare your agency to its peers.

For more information:


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Webinar: Partnering with Universities for Internships, Seasonal Employment, and Research
Courtesy of SORP

Date: April 24, 2019
Time: 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET
Cost: Free members/$45 non-members
Organization: Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP)

We will discuss best practices in reaching mutually beneficial outcomes and discuss lessons learned from 12+ years of partnering through the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative.

- Briget Eastep, of Southern Utah University
- Ken Watson, Superintendent at Cedar Breaks National Monument

For more information:

Webinar: Funding Parks through Institutional Health Partnerships
Courtesy of City Parks Alliance

Wednesday, May 15 | 2:00-3:00pm EDT

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. Learn strategies to improve access to parks and recreational opportunities, nutrition education, job training, affordable housing, and more.

For more information:


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Ranger- Commissioned
Larimer County Natural Resources, Colorado
Posted March 12, 2019. Open until filled.

Prince George’s County Dept of Parks and Recreation, Maryland
Posted February 26, 2019. Open until filled.

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


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