National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

March 5, 2019


Brandon Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Recreation
East Baton Rouge Parks & Recreation, Louisiana

John Boyd, Planning and Development Director
Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, Kansas

Tim Laurent, Deputy Director
Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, Kansas

Randy Luebbe, Park Services Director
Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, Kansas

Olivia Mayer, Professional Development and Services Superintendent
Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, Kansas


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Welcome new NACPRO Sponsor - OnCell

Connecting People, Places & Stories

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. Our 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.

Our team has worked on over thousands of projects locally and internationally since its inception in 2006. Recently OnCell acquired Authentic, a New Zealand-based industry-leading mobile technology company, showing our passion to continue to deliver cutting-edge mobile tour experiences worldwide. We look forward to hearing about your project.

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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Protecting and Managing Parklands to Reduce Wildfire Risks
Courtesy of NRPA

By Robert Doyle

CALIFORNIA - The face of wildfire fuel management is shifting rapidly in the western United States. Large public landowners, such as park districts and forest agencies, play an important role in meeting this new challenge. By protecting fire-prone wildland areas from new development and carefully managing those public wildlands, park agencies can help protect lives, property and natural resources.

The East Bay Hills, a ridgeline on the east side of the San Francisco Bay that stretches from the city of Richmond to Castro Valley, California, includes 3,000 acres of wildland-urban interface that is owned and managed by the East Bay Regional Park District.

The Park District’s wildland forest reduction team coordinates with dozens of partners, including environmental consultants, contractors, regulatory agencies, academia from nearby U.C. Berkeley, utility companies with easements through parkland, community organizations and federal, state and local government agencies, in accordance with permitting and funding conditions.

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Proposed mega-park in Horizon West could be Orange County's version of Central Park
Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

FLORIDA - Orange County is considering a mega-park in Horizon West, the fast-growing community near Walt Disney World that could feature an outdoor amphitheater for major concerts, botanical gardens and an aquatics center.

“Think of it like New York’s Central Park Orange County-style,” said Orange County Commissioner Betsy VanderLey, whose district spans the county’s booming southwestern sector, including the villages that make up Horizon West.

VanderLey discussed ideas for the 220-acre parcel earlier this month in a public meeting with Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who described the property as having potential to be “one of our crown jewels.”

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No more unleashed dogs in El Paso County Parks
Courtesy of

By Andrew McMillan

COLORADO - The board of county commissioners approved new regulations Thursday effectively ending a pilot program that allowed unleashed dogs in county parks and cutting back the hours that county parks are open.

In 2017, the county began a pilot program allowing dogs to be "off leash, but in control." However, the parks department says "park patrons have found the current 'control' rule challenging to interpret. It can be subjective and difficult to enforce."

That's a polite way of saying too many dog owners weren't keeping good control of their dogs.

Read more:


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Is This the End of Recycling?

On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we're talking about one of NRPA's more controversial top trend predictions for parks and recreation in 2019, namely that park and rec recycling programs may soon end. Tune in to the show as we chat with Rich Dolesh, NRPA's Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, and Brendan Daley, the Director of Strategy and Sustainability for the Chicago Park District, about how we got into this mess in the first place and what we can do to keep agencies involved and keep public support for recycling.

Listen here:


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OHV Economic Impact Studies Available
Courtesy of NOHVCC

Last year NOHVCC asked for Partners and others to share recent OHV economic impact studies so NOHVCC could make them available to the OHV community. As usual our Partners responded. In addition, staff has collected various other economic impact studies that we were aware of.

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The growing evidence that living near green space helps kids grow up to be happier
Courtesy of Quartz

By Jenny Anderson

The great outdoors may be one of the cheapest therapies for kids, a new study from Denmark shows. Kids who grow up surrounded by nature have up to 55% less risk of developing various mental disorders later in life, according to the paper from Aarhus University in Denmark, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America.

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Public comment period opens for new drone regulations
Courtesy of NACo

By Jessica Jennings 

On February 13, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced proposed rulemakings regarding the operation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, and their integration into the national airspace. The public comment period for the two rules, Safe and Secure Operations of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems over People, will be open through April 15, 2019.

Through the rulemaking process, the FAA is seeking input on new regulations related to “stand-off distances, additional operating and performance restrictions, the use of UAS Traffic Management (UTM), and additional payload restrictions.” Additionally, the FAA is considering whether it should prescribe drone design requirements and require that unmanned aircraft be equipped with critical safety systems.

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Historic win: House passes the biggest public lands package in decades
Courtesy of SNEWS

By Amelia Arvesen

One-hundred fifty days ago, a conservation and recreation program that protected public lands and water expired—a devastation to the future of public lands. But after months of buildup, hope was restored today when the U.S. House passed the Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47), including the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) that died on Sept. 30.

Written in 662 pages, the act creates six new National Parks Service units, expands some parks, establishes new protections for wildlife habitats, blocks mining near some national parks, designates 1.3 million acres of wilderness, among many other positive things.

Jonathan Asher, government relations manager with The Wilderness Society, spent most of his day waiting for this moment from the gallery about the House floor. He said it's "pretty rare" to see this level of bipartisanship.

The act's passage through the Senate and now the House comes at a time when politics are particularly contentious and split. But because it touches on all 50 states and appeases environmentalists, anglers, sportsmen, and every other variety of recreationists, the legislation received support from both sides of the aisle, with a 363-62 vote and little debate on the House floor. Now, President Donald Trump has 10 days to sign off on it.

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Los Angeles wants its River Back from the Feds
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

CALIFORNIA - "Los Angeles County officials are proposing to take ownership of 40 miles of flood-control channels along the Los Angeles River from the federal government in order to expedite maintenance and water conservation improvements as climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather," reports Louis Sahagun.

The announcement brings into focus the conflicting missions of regional flood control regulators and the federal government. The mission of the Army Corps of Engineers, according to a source from the County Department of Public Works cited in the article, "does not include myriad issues his agency’s County Flood Control District regards as essential: water conservation, movement of sediment, graffiti removal, ecosystem friendly vegetation, homeless encampments and recreational opportunities."

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Lake Erie Bill of Rights gets approval from Toledo voters
Courtesy of the Toledo Blade

By Tom Henry

OHIO - Toledo voters have reached a consensus: Lake Erie — the world’s 11th largest lake and one that provides drinking water to 12 million U.S. and Canadian citizens — deserves to have its own bill of rights.

Toledo represents only a fraction of the entire Lake Erie basin, but it lies along the heart of the western Lake Erie shoreline — the most ecologically fragile and most biologically dynamic part of the Great Lakes basin because of its shallowness and relative warmth.

Supporters — frustrated by the seemingly endless political machinations of lobbying groups — have claimed progress has been incremental at best in reducing Lake Erie’s pollution since the metro region got a major wake-up call in August of 2014. That’s when 500,000 Metro Toledo residents were told for nearly three days to stay away from their tap water because it had been poisoned by an algal toxin that had been drawn into the city’s distribution system.

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Are Dog Parks Exclusionary?
Courtesy of City Lab

By Kriston Capps

ILLINOIS - This is what a park for very good doggos looks like. When it’s completed over the next decade or so, the dog park nestled inside Lincoln Yards, a much-discussed $6 billion mega-development now taking shape on Chicago’s waterfront, could be the toniest pet playground in the nation.

Almost all of Chicago’s dog parks fall in areas that are majority white, though such neighborhoods make up a relatively small part of Chicago’s geography.

In no small part, white neighborhoods are rich in dog parks because they are rich, period. A spokesperson for the Chicago Park District noted that the city’s parks department doesn’t fund dog-friendly areas: “These facilities are funded through Aldermanic menu, Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Open Space Impact Fees (OSIF) and community fundraising or a combination of these sources.” South Side areas that lack the resources to establish formal dog parks go without them.

Officials in Raleigh, North Carolina, have taken a first step toward measuring the city’s canine needs with quantifiable precision. In January, Raleigh dropped what may be the nation’s first comprehensive report on dog parks. Some of the report’s recommendations, from establishing dog parks through public-private partnerships or studying a membership-fee model for using them, could even inhibit access for African-American pet owners. And the data-driven report doesn’t invite residents of predominantly black areas into the planning process.

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Call of the Wild: More States Are Embracing Outdoor Recreation
Courtesy of Route 50

By Bill Lucia

State governments around the U.S. are devoting increased attention to the outdoor recreation industry, a segment of the economy that generates billions of dollars each year.

At least 11 states have created offices or other entities to oversee economic development and policy issues that involve outdoor recreation. Another eight could take similar steps with bills that are either pending or expected to be introduced soon.

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Got Those Recreation.Gov Blues?
Courtesy of National Parks Traveler

By Kurt Repanshek

Securing a campsite in a national park is not always an easy endeavor, and, unfortunately, does not always help.

The other day I searched for an available site at the Needles Campground in Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah. Using to get a site was akin to hitting a moving target. First there were available sites, then there weren't. When I saw three consecutive dates in early April I wanted to go after, I tried to log into the site to snag them. It didn't like my email or password, so I created a new account. Sadly, it didn't like that new account it even after it verified it.

I tried calling the folks at the recorded voice told there as a 43-minute wait time. So I tried the "chat" option. After a short wait, an agent chimed in to inquire what I needed. After I explained my dilemma, I was told my log-in issues could be solved by one of their agents ... if I called the reservations number.

Is this the best way to run a reservation system for a sprawling system of some 100,000 campsites spread across the National Park System, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Bureau of Land Management?

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Premier Webinar: The Day after Tomorrow — Making Parks Climate Resilient
Courtesy of NRPA

Thursday, March 14 at 2 p.m. ET

Join us for a provocative webinar with NRPA's conservation leaders and nationally-recognized experts who are on the front lines of implementing actions to enable parks and public lands to adapt to acute and chronic stresses of a climate-changing world. You will learn where your vulnerabilities are and how you can make your parks and facilities more resilient to meet the climate challenges that face us all. This is a Premier Webinar Series event which is free to Premier Members and $30 for all other member types.

For more information:


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

Program Coordinator
Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois
Posted February 6, 2019. Closes March 7, 2019.

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


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