National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

March 19, 2019


John Kremer, Director of Operations and Public Safety
McHenry County Conservation District, Illinois


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New Membership Benefit from OnCell

OnCell is providing NACPRO members a 20% discount on set up and subscription fees - just tell them NACPRO sent you.

OnCell offers a suite of mobile technology solutions that provides parks, museums and cultural destinations with complete flexibility and control over how to approach their mobile strategy. The easy to use DIY online app builder allows you to create new ways for visitors explore, engage, and discover your destination. Choose from a wide range of amazing features including audio tours, location-based mapping, native and web apps, gaming, and beacons to share your stories.

The OnCell subscription includes:

  • A beautiful interactive app that works on your Apple® iOS® or Android® smart phones and tablets either via download from the app stores, or click through a unique URL to access your app when WiFi or cell phone reception is available.
  • You get 24/7 your own account on the OnCell content management system, which gives you complete flexibility on how to you create your app.
  • Plus unlimited updates, multi-language support, and robust analytics.
  • There is no limit to the number of people that can use your app.

OnCell even offers a free 60 day trial. You can build your mobile tour app and do real-world testing on a limited number of smartphones to ensure it looks and functions exactly as you wish.

In June, OnCell will host a webinar for NACPRO members so you can learn more about the service and its capabilities.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact:

Thomas Rapp
[email protected]
(585) 419-9844 x107


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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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Fighting Invasive Species? There's an App for That
Courtesy of WVXU

By Bill Rinehart

OHIO - As spring approaches, Great Parks of Hamilton County is hoping for a little help in stopping the spread of a perennial problem. Natural Resources Director Jessica Spencer is asking park visitors to keep an eye out for invasive species.

"Some of them are easier to find than others, and that's why we're hoping to get the public involved, because we have over 17,600 acres, 80 percent of which is natural area," she says. "Obviously, it's difficult to monitor all of that all of the time. The more people who know what these invasive species look like the better chances we have of finding them early."

When an invasive species is discovered, Spencer's team makes plans to deal with it for the long run. "We take note of the location and we gather our thoughts, because it might not be the right time of the year to do anything about it. We come up with a game plan. Lately we've been prioritizing areas by quality and then treating in those areas first."

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Parks Build Community Project 2019: The Renovation of Baltimore’s ABC Park
Courtesy of NRPA

By Suzanne Nathan

MARYLAND - Each year since 2008, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) organizes a complete park makeover in partnership with a local park agency, park equipment manufacturers and community organizations within the city hosting the NRPA Annual Conference. This annual project, Parks Build Community (PBC), represents the transformative power of parks in communities.

When Baltimore was announced as the location for the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, NRPA reached out to the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks (BCRP) to determine the best location for the 2019 PBC project. BCRP currently manages 4,600+ acres of parkland and 262 parks, 170 athletic fields and more than 120 playgrounds. BCRP’s renovation plans included a handful of projects to consider for the PBC project and site tours were conducted. Catherine ABC Park (ABC Park) quickly rose to the top of the list. It had a park renovation plan in place, which would promote health and wellness-related activities and a concept design that integrated conservation interests. It also has a very active community that had been waiting a long time for an investment in the park, which addressed social equity in the area.

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2019 “Our Winning Green Space” Contest Now Open
Courtesy of Project EverGreen

Cleveland, Ohio — Project EverGreen, in partnership with Exmark Manufacturing, the Sports Turf Managers Association and The Foundation for Safer Athletic Fields for Everyone, join forces for the third annual “Our Winning Green Space” contest.

Municipal parks and recreation departments, public works departments, and non-profit agencies may enter the contest for a chance at winning a top-of-the-line Exmark commercial mower package – valued at approximately $15,000 – as well as a “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.”™ playing field or park renovation project.

The entry process requires an essay and photos explaining why the city deserves the new equipment and renovated playing field. Entrants must explain how the prize will assist the community in maintaining a healthier, safer area for kids to play. Submissions may be entered at ProjectEverGreen from through April 26, 2019.

For more information:


A Walk to the Park
Courtesy of

By Clement Lau

“That’s a walk in the park!” Most of us are familiar with this expression which is used to describe something that is very easy to do. Ironically, a walk to a park may actually not be a walk in the park for a variety of reasons. For example, there may not be a park within walking distance (typically defined as a half-mile) from one’s home. There may also be physical and social barriers that often make walking to parks challenging and undesirable, such as a lack of infrastructure like sidewalks and crosswalks, traffic safety concerns like speeding vehicles, and crime issue like the presence of gangs. These barriers are a result of engineering, zoning, land use, design, social, and other conditions that may have existed for years. However, given the well-documented benefits of walking and spending time at parks, there are noteworthy efforts to address these barriers to encourage and make it easier and safer for all of us to walk to our neighborhood parks. Highlighted below are four such endeavors.

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States May Forfeit $1 Billion in Biking and Walking Funds
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

Streetsblog USA reported that States across the country are at risk of forfeiting up to $1 billion in funding for sidewalk construction, bike trails or other important safety projects -- if they don't use all the federal cash by September, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

States face a looming deadline for "rescissions," a routine budgetary practice where unspent portions of transportation funding must be returned to the federal government. Right now states have about $1 billion in unobligated biking and walking funds. The federal government only hands down about $800 million a year for walking and biking through its Transportation Alternatives program. A $1-billion rescission from walking and biking programs would amount to about a quarter of all the available funding over the last five years.

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Trying to move past pesticides? Parks have 2 main paths.
Courtesy of NRPA

There are two methods of managing organic parks, with each seeking to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, with integrated pest management more commonly used by parks and recreation agencies than organic land management, write Alexandra Hiple of the Center for City Park Excellence at The Trust for Public Land and Derek Bolivar. "While many people are aware of the threats posed by synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, a lack of significant regulations at a federal level means there is often no impetus for change," they write.

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Forests are becoming less able to bounce back from wildfires
Courtesy of the New Scientist

By Adam Vaughan

Forests around the world face being permanently wiped out because climate change is making them unable to recover from devastating wildfires.

Solomon Dobrowski at the University of Montana and his colleagues painstakingly dug up approximately 3000 small trees from 90 burn sites across the western US to look at the ability of forests to regenerate after a wild fire.

They found that before the 1990s, low-lying forests could grow back after being burned, but between the early 1990s and 2015 there was a sharp drop in the ability of seeds to regenerate a forest at most sites.

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9 Ways to Stop Using So Much Plastic
Courtesy of Outside Online

By AC Shilton

America has a huge waste problem, and municipalities are now burning recyclables. Why? Because in 2017, China, which used to buy most of America’s discarded recycling, decided it was tired of being the world’s garbage bin. Unfortunately, the U.S. wasn’t totally equipped to do its own recycling.

Even more astonishing is that 91 percent of U.S. plastic doesn’t even go into the recycling pool. Americans just throw it away.

Here are some easy ways to get through a day without plastic...

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Trump signs major public lands, conservation bill into law
Courtesy of the AP

By Darlene Superville

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed a wide-ranging public lands bill Tuesday that creates five new national monuments and expands several national parks.

The new law also adds 1.3 million acres of new wilderness and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects nationwide. It’s the largest public lands bill Congress has considered in a decade, and it won large bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate.

More than 100 land and water conservation bills were combined to designate more than 350 miles of river as wild and scenic, and to create nearly 700,000 acres of new recreation and conservation areas.

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Congress Passes Public Lands Bill, Ducks Harder Questions
Courtesy of High Country News

By Carl Segerstrom

A fresh wilderness designation in southern New Mexico. A new national monument in Los Angeles. Hundreds of miles of river protected in Oregon. A ban on new mining projects on Yellowstone National Park’s doorstep. These were a few of the crowd-pleasers the Senate tossed, with Oprah-esque glee, into a bipartisan public-lands bill that passed on Feb. 12.

The bill’s passage set off a barrage of praise from many corners of the outdoor community, as groups like Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, The Wilderness Society and the Outdoor Industry Association applauded the legislation. The Natural Resources Management Act, which passed 92-8 in the Senate — Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, was the only Western senator to vote no — is expected to pass the House of Representatives by the end of February.

Given the bipartisan brinksmanship of the current Congress, the passage of such a far-reaching public lands bill seemed like an amazing feat of détente. But underlying the expanded land protections is an issue Congress refused to take up: updating public-lands laws for the 21st century.

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Preventing Crime, One Park at a Time
Courtesy of Planetizen

By Deborah Marton

The cool shade of a tree-covered garden is the only respite from summer heat in many urban areas. In New York City, it's also an important tool for reducing crime rates. Increasing green space can drive down crime by more than 200 felonies per year in a single urban neighborhood. That's one finding from a study that found transforming New York City derelict lots into vibrant green space significantly improved public safety.

It's not just grass and trees. People who embrace parks—who garden and have picnics and play dominos—drive down crime by creating the "social capital" that builds community. It's people like 65-year-old Jose Reyes, a retired mechanic who can almost always be found in El Cataño Garden in East Harlem, tending his plants, sweeping the paths in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter.

The study, commissioned by New York Restoration Project, examined the impact of turning abandoned lots into small, beautiful parks in low-income neighborhoods. They compared crime rates in communities that benefited from green investment with demographically similar areas that were starved for it. The results were dramatic.

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To bring in new blood, historic cemeteries get creative with yoga, dog walks, and picnics
Courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

By Bethany Ao

Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery was blanketed by snow on a recent Friday afternoon, but executive director Nick McAllister could already envision the events that would take place among the mossy headstones in the coming months: outdoor movies, group dog walks, stargazing, yoga. All in front of the crypts of some of the city’s wealthiest families of the last century.

It’s not that McAllister and his team don’t respect the dead. The bustling events calendar is an effort to draw new visitors, especially younger ones, to Laurel Hill’s expansive grounds. And while this programming may seem trendy — like the wave of boozy museum events — the underlying thinking actually aligns with Victorian beliefs held when the cemetery was built in 1836.

“People used this place as an escape from the city and as a park before the park system existed,” McAllister says. “They came to look at the trees, to look at the art, visit famous people and their loved ones. It was a tourist destination.”

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Need land for parks and housing? There are plenty of useless golf courses to repurpose
Courtesy of Fast Company

By Adele Peters

In Akron, Ohio, a former golf course is turning into a park and being replanted with native trees. In Kent, Washington, a new mixed-use apartment complex is under construction on another former golf course. Near Palm Springs, a golf course is becoming a mixed-use “agrihood” with 75 acres of olive groves that will be used to produce olive oil.

“I think that there is an opportunity given the fact that we have land shortages in lots of our fast-growth cities and suburbs and we have an overabundance of golf courses,” says Ed McMahon, a senior resident fellow at the nonprofit research and education organization the Urban Land Institute. “I think you’re going to see in the future an even greater push to redevelop some of this land into other things.”

More than 200 golf courses closed in the U.S. in 2017, according to a report last year from the National Golf Foundation. After a rush to build courses before the recession–thousands opened between 1998 and 2006, in many areas alongside new housing development–the current trend of closures began. More than 1,200 have closed since 2005. Demand from golfers didn’t keep up with the supply of facilities.

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Hey, Congress — If the Budget Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It!

The White House recently released its FY20 budget request, but unfortunately, it once again included several unnecessary, deep cuts to (or complete elimination of) federal programs that are critical in making local park and recreation projects possible. These cuts will only serve to hurt local communities, leaving park and recreation agencies without critical federal funding to leverage in providing services. We need your help in urging Congress to ensure that these critical programs are funded and protected.

Act now:


Meet Me at the Park Play Spaces Grants Now Available

We're excited to team up with The Walt Disney Company to offer the 2019 Meet Me at the Park Play Spaces grants. Grant funding is available to support projects that show innovative ways to increase physical activity in underserved areas. Over the last three years, this grant program has helped create some amazing inclusive play spaces, like bike courses, nature trails, sport court refurbishments and this traveling tiny house! Grant applications are due April 12.

For more information:


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NACo Board of Directors approves 2019 Interim Policy Resolutions

By Valerie Brankovic

On March 4, the NACo Board of Directors approved 26 interim policy resolutions at NACo’s Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. These interim policy resolutions will supplement existing NACo policy until NACo’s 2019 Annual Conference, at which point all policy resolutions expire and must be renewed. NACo’s 2019 Annual Conference will be held July 12-15 in Clark County/Las Vegas, Nev.

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Webinar: Partnering to Enhance Diversity in Outdoor Recreation Participation
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: March 20, 2019
Time: 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET
Cost: Free members/$45 non-members
Organization: Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP)

This webinar provides an overview of partnership development for enhanced relevance of parks and outdoor recreation. Practical guidance in this webinar will include how to evaluate your partnership landscape, encourage collaborative mindsets, and adaptively manage ongoing partnerships.

For more information:


Webinar: E-Bikes for Everyone: Electrifying Communities in New Ways
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: March 21, 2019
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET
Cost: Free
Organization: National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC)

Electric bicycle (e-bike) use is a rising phenomenon in North America. In 2018, John MacArthur of Portland State University conducted a national survey to understand issues facing e-bike owners. Reducing physical exertion, conquering challenging topography and replacing car trips are a few of the most important reasons for buying an e-bike. The electric assist of the e-bike helps to generate more trips, longer trips and different types of bicycle trips. Through analysis it also became evident that e-bikes are making it possible for more people to ride a bicycle, many of whom are incapable of riding a standard bicycle or don't feel safe doing so.

In 2017, Forth launched the Community Electric Bike Project, which was designed to test the benefits of e-bikes for individuals who live in underserved communities and lack access to frequent transit services in Portland, Oregon. In partnership with the Community Cycling Center and GenZe, the project aimed to serve individuals who sought another mode of transportation. Forth hoped that this project would bring more light mobility transportation options into underserved neighborhoods. Sergio Lopez of Forth will share the full report of what the project achieved within the Portland community.

For more information:


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Director of Recreation & Community Services
City of Santa Clarita, California
Posted March 19, 2019. Closes April 15, 2019.

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

Parks and Recreation Director
Ottawa County, Michigan
Posted March 7, 2019. Closes March 29, 2019.

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

Director of Outdoor Experiences & Education
Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio
Posted December 20, 2018. Open until filled.


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