National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

February 19, 2019

2019 Award Nominations Close Next Week

Nominations are now being accepted for the NACPRO 2019 awards program. The annual NACPRO Awards Banquet recognizes and honors excellence in parks and recreation at the county, regional, special district level throughout the nation.

Nominations are being accepted through February 28, 2019.

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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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2019 NACo Legislative Conference - New Keynotes Just Announced

March 2–6, 2019 | Washington, D.C.

Join the largest convening of county officials in the nation's capital, and advocate for counties' federal policy priorities.


Hon. Ben Carson - Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., was sworn in as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on March 2, 2017.

Hon. Joni Ernst - In November 2014, Senator Joni Ernst was elected as the first woman to serve in federal elected office from the State of Iowa and also became the first female combat veteran elected to serve in the United States Senate. In Washington, she serves on five Senate committees: Armed Services; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Environment and Public Works; Judiciary; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Steve Case - Steve Case is one of America's best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs, and a pioneer in making the Internet part of everyday life. He is also the author of The New York Times bestselling book, The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future.

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Make Inclusion Part of the Policy

A year ago, NRPA released the Park and Recreation Inclusion Report — demonstrating how park and recreation agencies are implementing inclusive practices in their communities, and where gaps and challenges exist across the field. The report identified that only 2 in 5 agencies have a formal inclusion policy.

In response to that report, we created a resource guide, Guidelines for Developing an Inclusion Policy to help you serve all members of your community. This guide includes policies and instructions that will help your agency understand why inclusion in parks and recreation matters, how to engage staff and the community in developing a policy, and more.

These resources are part of NRPA's Parks for Inclusion initiative that works to ensure all people — regardless of race, age, ability or background — have access to the benefits of local parks and recreation.

We've also created resources for using personal gender pronouns, increasing access for marginalized groups and increasing park access through equity practices.

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Report finds recreation options help counties grow their populations and economy
Courtesy of the Idaho State Journal

By Brennen Kauffman

Montana-based nonprofit research group Headwaters Economics released a report last week looking at the relationship between recreation and growth in counties across the United States. Looking at the 333 counties that were defined as recreation-dependent by the United States Department of Agriculture, the study compared the number of people moving into the counties between 2010 and 2016 and the economic impact that movement has caused.

The clearest conclusion of the report is that those recreation-dependent areas are growing. Counties that rely on recreation have seen the number of incoming residents increase across the board, regardless of size. Megan Lawson, Ph.D., wrote the economic report and said the difference is especially stark for rural counties.

“On average, the only rural places that are growing are the ones that have these recreation economies” Lawson said.

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How to Coexist with Urban Coyotes
Courtesy of Cincinnati Public Radio

By Tana Weingartner

OHIO - The Great Parks of Hamilton County district is holding public forums to educate the public about coyotes. "Our purpose in doing these programs is not only to tell people how to coexist with them, but to help build appreciation for this unique and adaptable animal," says Angela Marczi of the park district.

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The Digital Transformation of Parks and Rec
Courtesy of NRPA

By Brian Stapleton

Today’s park and recreation leaders are embracing roles beyond traditional facility management and activity execution. They are expected to be agents of change in the era of digital transformation and be as adept at leading the implementation and management of digital systems as they are knowledgeable about local parks and trail maintenance. Park and rec directors also have more visibility into program utilization statistics than ever before, which means they are expected to be able to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of core programs and services and use data to make informed decisions regarding programing and facility budget allocations.

New expectations for park and rec directors are not only coming from within municipalities. Citizens are raising the bar on their expectations as well. In an era of smartphones and digital proliferation, citizens want multichannel, digital two-way communications with their municipal leaders to ask questions, make requests and provide feedback. Over the next five years, park and rec directors who embrace the access that modern tech provides between municipalities and the people they serve will be best positioned to build successful, future-proofed strategies for innovative and desirable community offerings.

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Must Defensive Design Be Hostile?
Courtesy of

By Kara Mavros

As long as we’ve had cities, we’ve built ways to keep people out of them. In early times, guard towers and pointed palisades kept wanderers away and enemies at bay. Today, urban designers employ similarly defensive measures throughout the public realm, in subtler and more nuanced ways.

Increasingly, elements of “hostile architecture” are found in places meant to be accessible and inclusive, such as public parks, city streets, and hospitals. While the intention of these features is often rooted in durability and safety, the effects can be more wide-reaching, says Cara Chellew, a research administrator at York University in Toronto and an advocate for public spaces.

For instance, benches divided by armrests not only make it more difficult for people (homeless or otherwise) to lie down and rest, they present a challenge for people who need more room to sit. Humans don’t naturally sit in a tight row like pigeons on a wire; we congregate, spread out, or stagger, and need space to do so. Metal studs on curbs meant to deter skateboarders are just as likely to trip pedestrians or block passage of those in wheelchairs.

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The Senate just passed the decade’s biggest public lands package
Courtesy of the Washington Post

By Juliet Eilperin and Dino Grandoni

The Senate on Tuesday passed the most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting millions of acres of land and hundreds of miles of wild rivers across the country and establishing four new national monuments honoring heroes including Civil War soldiers and a civil rights icon.

The 662-page measure, which passed 92 to 8, represented an old-fashioned approach to dealmaking that has largely disappeared on Capitol Hill. Senators from across the ideological spectrum celebrated home-state gains and congratulated each other for bridging the partisan divide.

Perhaps the most significant change the legislation would make is permanently authorizing a federal program that funnels offshore drilling revenue to conserve a spread of sites that includes major national parks and wildlife preserves, as well as local baseball diamonds and basketball courts. Authorization for the popular program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), lapsed months ago due to the partial government shutdown and other disputes. Liberals like the fact that the money allows agencies to set aside land for wildlife habitat. Conservatives like the fact that taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill for it.

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Conversations about Confederate Monuments in the Former Confederate Capital
Courtesy of Next City

By Emily Nonko

VIRGINIA - In Aug. 2017, a town hall forum took place to discuss the future of Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. The thoroughfare was conceived during a site search for a memorial to Robert E. Lee after his death in 1870. Today it is a tree-lined mall, dividing east and westbound traffic, lined with the Virginian Confederate veterans Lee, J.E.B Stuart, Jefferson Davis, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Matthew Fontaine Maury. In 1996 Richmond integrated its most famous street, erecting a monument to Richmond native and African-American tennis champion Arthur Ashe.

A group behind a Richmond design collective was paying close attention. mObstudiO is a partnership of three design departments of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. Storefront for Community Design is a local nonprofit design assistance center. Working together as mOb+Storefront, the two organizations share studio space and often collaborate.

Monument Avenue has long been of interest to mOb+Storefront. On Thursday, Feb. 14, the collaborative unveiled one result of its sustained conversation around the thoroughfare. An exhibit will display proposals from around the world that re-imagine Monument Avenue, exploring “its role as an historic urban boulevard, its viability as a 5.4 mile interurban connector, its presence in Richmond given the city’s emergence as a diverse and progressive city, its significance in the history of the United States and in the current debate about Confederate statues in public spaces,” as the collaborative puts it.

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Is benefit of having trees 'oversold' in Twin Cities green space planning?
Courtesy of the Star Tribune

By Josephine Marcotty

MINNESOTA - Often “trees are oversold” as a natural solution for environmental problems in cities, according to Bonnie Keeler, a University of Minnesota professor who studies ways of valuing nature. In fact, she reviewed 1,200 scientific studies on increasingly popular green infrastructures such as urban forests, parks, rain gardens, and wetlands and found in a recent paper that it’s unclear how well any of them stack up against “gray” solutions like concrete storm sewers and air conditioning.

It’s an increasingly urgent question for the Twin Cities. At projects such as the Ford site in St. Paul, the Mississippi River Upper Harbor in Minneapolis and a redesign for sections of Minnehaha Creek, planners face complex choices for managing stormwater and air pollution.

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Border wall threatens nature tourism industry in South Texas
Courtesy of

By Patrick Timmons

The $463 million-a-year ecotourism industry in South Texas -- a top birding destination -- is bracing for the arrival of border wall construction crews in mid-February.

The workers are set to begin bulldozing a swath of land 150 feet wide to construct 33 miles of wall near the Mexico border in Texas' Hidalgo and Starr counties. The work was funded last year to supplement the existing 22 miles of wall in Hidalgo County.

To build this section of the border wall, the U.S. government has suspended 28 environmental protection laws, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, using an obscure section of the Real ID Act of 2005, which allows the homeland security secretary to suspend any law to facilitate building border barriers.

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The Annual Monarch Counts Are In...And It's Not Looking Good
Courtesy of NRPA

By Michele White, CAE, IOM

Many of you know that monarch counts occur across the country to try and get a handle on the health of this threatened species. But to understand what these numbers really mean, you should know there are three different monarch populations in the United States; western, eastern and a small population in southern Florida. While they are still the same species, they are separate populations with little or no overlap. Their population dynamics are entirely separate, too — western monarchs do not migrate and overwinter in Mexico like the eastern monarchs, but they go through a type of modified migration, overwintering on the California coast line. And, the southern Florida population does not migrate at all.

The recently announced winter count of the eastern monarchs was truly good news — it showed a 144 percent increase in monarchs that winter in southern Mexico, the highest number recorded since 2006. However, the count of western population monarchs was shockingly low — an 86 percent decline since 2017, and a 99.4 percent decline in numbers in the 1980s.

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Nature for Neighborhoods
Courtesy of UrbDeZine

By Clement Lau

For those of us who may feel quite disconnected from nature or need some “Vitamin N” as Louv calls it, what should we do? One answer may be to just find the nearest park to you and spend some quality moments there. But this may not be the best solution if your neighborhood park is too well used and overly built up with amenities, leaving little space for trees and areas for quiet enjoyment. How about state and national parks? Of course, those are great, but many of us, especially urban dwellers, do not live in close proximity to such parks and may even find these vast recreation areas intimidating. So what is the happy medium? If you live in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend starting with nature centers and botanical gardens which are wonderful places for all, especially children, to learn more about, gain an appreciation for, and be with nature.

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Fans of costly winter sports try to level the playing field
Courtesy of the Star Tribune

By Kelly Smith

MINNESOTA - In a state known for its snowy, cold months, more Twin Cities nonprofits are stepping up to diversify winter activities and make them more accessible to people who wouldn’t normally try them.

“I think diversifying snowboarding is something we can do,” said Taylor, the adventures director for the foundation who’s been teaching snowboarding to north Minneapolis students for a few years. “Equity in the outdoors is really critically important. We’re really trying to break that barrier, that perception of who does this and who this is for.”

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City Parks Alliance Presents Greater & Greener 2019: Exploring Natural Connections

July 20-24, 2018 - Denver, Colorado

Park and recreation leaders, city planners, design professionals, urban park advocates, and funders from 200+ cities will gather in Denver, Colorado July 20-24, 2019, for Greater & Greener 2019: Exploring Natural Connections. This five-day indoor and outdoor conference will focus on the role of urban parks in creating healthy, resilient, equitable, and economically competitive cities. Greater & Greener 2019 is presented by City Parks Alliance in partnership with Denver Parks and Recreation.

Greater & Greener 2019 Conference Tracks include:
- Activating Urban Parks through Recreation
- City Parks Essentials
- Equity
- Funding
- Parks as Infrastructure
- Urban Greening and Biodiversity

Registration is open.

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Webinar: Trail Towns - Leveraging Trails for Community and Economic Development
Courtesy of American Trails

Date: March 21, 2019, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Presenter(s): Harry Burkholder (Land Information Access Assn.), Russell Clark (National Park Service), Helen Siewers (Cave Country Trails) & Seth Wheat (State of KY)
Host: American Trails
Details: $19 for members, $39 for nonmembers; closed captioning available

This webinar will take an in depth look at Trail Towns through programs in Kentucky and Michigan. Learn how community partners work to implement economic development, recreation and quality of life planning through Trail Towns. State tourism, regional non-profit organizations, and local communities will discuss the role they have in creating on the ground success.

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2019 National Coastal Conference - Call for Abstracts

The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA), in cooperation with the Coastal Zone Foundation, announces the Call for Abstracts for its 2019 National Coastal Conference, October 22- October 25 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina.

ASBPA is the nation’s first organization to promote science-based policies for the preservation of coastal areas. The theme of the 2019 conference, “Where Coasts & Rivers Meet” continues to broaden our focus across the entire physical coastal and estuarine system. The National Coastal Conference provides an opportunity for coastal stakeholders and managers to develop collaborative networks to promote best management practices, while learning the latest science, engineering and policy needed to maintain and improve the health of our beachfront and estuarine shorelines and ecosystems.

Abstracts are due by May 4, 2019.

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Regional Parks Operation Chief
County of San Bernardino Regional Parks, California
Posted February 13, 2019. Closes February 22, 2019.

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

Parks and Recreation Director
City of Las Vegas, Nevada
Posted January 24, 2019. Closes February 22, 2019.

Assistant Park Manager
Ingham County, Michigan
Posted January 18, 2019. Closes March 3, 2019.

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


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