National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

January 8, 2019


Edward Matthews, Director
St. Lucie County Parks & Recreation, Florida


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2019 Award Nominations are Open

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.

For more information:


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The Best Charcoal Grill Sale of the Year!
Courtesy of Pilot Rock

Stock up on charcoal grills in January with our BOGOHOP sale! Enter the code BOGOHOP in the RFQ promo code box to buy one get one half off price through January 31, 2019.

For more information:


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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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Palm Beach County Golf Facilities Receive National Recognitions
Courtesy of Palm Beach County

FLORIDA - John Prince Golf Learning Center, Osprey Point Golf Course, Okeeheelee Golf Course and Park Ridge Golf Course have all been awarded Top 50 honors by the Golf Range Association of America (GRAA) in its yearly ranking for best practice ranges in the United States.

In order to receive recognition by the GRAA, golf facilities must present an application that highlights not only a wide range of amenities, but one that also shows a wide variety of available programming that benefits all levels of skill and promotes the growth of the game of golf. The GRAA recognizes the top 50 facilities in three categories – Stand-Alone, Public and Private – with the winners being listed in the December issue of Golf Range Magazine.



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Your Voice in Washington: 2018 Year in Review
Courtesy of NACo

In 2018, with your help, NACo achieved several significant federal policy wins, including the five-year reauthorization of the farm bill, record funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program, comprehensive legislation to fight the opioid epidemic and much more.

Public Lands
2018 saw record funding funding levels for the Payments In-Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and a two-year reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools (SRS). Also included in the FY 2018 omnibus bill was a long-term wildfire funding fix and new active forest management provisions.

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NACo is Now Accepting Policy Resolutions

In preparation for the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., March 2–6, NACo members are invited to submit interim policy resolutions. All resolutions must be submitted electronically (preferably as a Word document) via email to [email protected] by Feb 1, 2019.

For more information: Policy Process 2017-2018.pdf


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Partners for Places General Grants Program Request for Proposals

Partners for Places is a respected and established matching grant program hosted by The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN). In partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), this fund creates opportunities for cities and counties in the United States and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government leaders and local place-based foundations. Through these partnerships, national funders invest in sustainable projects through a one-to-one match developed to promote social equity, a healthy environment, and a strong economy for all residents.

Through these bi-annual investments, Partners for Places fosters the creation and maintenance of long-term local government and philanthropic relationships that can work to advance urban sustainability in North American communities over time. Since 2012, the Partners for Places program has funded 111 projects.

Proposals are due January 31, 2019.

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Addressing Homelessness in Public Parks
Courtesy of NRPA

By Milo Neild, M.S., and Jeff Rose, Ph.D.

Public parks are designed to provide aesthetically pleasing green spaces where communities can gather for recreation, rest and leisure. Given that communities are not homogenous, user conflict between groups might seem inevitable. The growing concern with homelessness in parks serves as a strong and timely example of these conflicts. Park managers are tasked not only with mitigating social conflicts between traditionally housed park users and those facing homelessness, but also a variety of safety, health, experiential and environmental concerns related to homelessness in parks.

The National Park and Recreation Association (NRPA) has recently devoted increased attention to homelessness in parks, hosting and attending national conference sessions and innovation labs, surveying park and recreation departments and local government agencies and openly sharing the outcomes. To better understand the complexity of homelessness within municipal public parks and people’s concerns, challenges, successes and hopes from a wide array of perspectives, we conducted a series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews (n = 19) with park managers, maintenance crews, people experiencing homelessness, police departments, health departments and social service providers. One of the themes that resonated across the research, from an overwhelming portion of those interviewed, was that they clearly expressed a need for public education to better address homelessness in our public parks.

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Infographic: Safe Routes to Parks
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

Safe Routes to School National Partnership reports Safe Routes to Parks are of particular concern in communities lacking sidewalks, crosswalks, and speed humps to support safe walking and bicycling; where violence and crime are prevalent; and where there are high rates of weight-related diseases or conditions. Their infographic highlights the features and steps to creating Safe Routes to Parks, and the many benefits of increasing access to nature and physical activity.

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New Trail Technology
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

The City of Santa Clarita, California—home to an impressive trail network—recently announced the deployment of a pilot program to improve bicycle detection at signalized intersections in the city. While a radar sensor detects bicycles at a stop bar, those traveling with a new, free mobile app are also detected automatically up to 300 feet before an intersection—potentially improving safety, reducing wait times and easing travel by bicycle.

For more information:


America’s State Park Systems
Courtesy of SORP

Each year, we release a report presenting the ‘vital statistics’ that characterize the operation and use of the nation’s 50 state park systems. In the report, we detail historical trends relevant to state park system management. The Outlook and Analysis Letter illustrates annual values aggregated across the 50 state park systems between the years of 1984 and 2017 for each of the following measures:

- Attendance;
- Operating Expenditures;
- Capital Expenditures;
- Revenues;
- Labor; and
- Acreage.

In addition to the historical trends, we also present projected values for each measure into the near future (2018, 2019, and 2020). These projections are provided to give state park managers a better understanding of how park usage and management are likely to change in the years to come.

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Campground Usage Study Suggests National Park Service Alter Fee Structure
Courtesy of National Parks Traveler

National park campgrounds could be managed more profitably, according to a nonprofit research organization, which suggests the National Park Service raise cancellation fees and possibly consider a surge pricing system during the busy seasons.

The report by Resources for the Future says the Park Service in general doesn't have clear information on who is using the parks, how long they stay, "and other information that would help in devising solutions to park overcrowding."

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Trails and Underserved Youth
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

Do you know of any trail programs that are focused on underserved youth and that show promising evidence of success? RTC is working with The City Project to identify trail programs around the country that are engaged in working to serve underserved youth, to increase their involvement and ensure greater equity in active transportation.

Please contact Torsha Bhattacharya ([email protected]), RTC’s director of research, if you or someone you know would like to share stories of trail programs that have succeeded in identifying underserved youth, their needs and barriers to trail use, and a measure of success for your program. Your stories will help funders and agencies support such trail programs throughout the country and, most importantly, help spread the word to attract more young people to these programs.


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The Future Begins Now: An Update on the Chattahoochee River Master Planning Process
Courtesy of Planetizen

GEORGIA - A joint planning effort by the city of Atlanta, Cobb County, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) is exploring ways to make the land along the Chattahoochee River more livable, workable, and playable for Atlanta and beyond. In SaportaReport, Walt Ray with TPL and Byron Rushing with ARC detail the intentions guiding the process.

The $1.5 million study deals with the length of the river from Buford Dam to Chattahoochee Bend State Park. That 100-mile stretch, divided among many jurisdictions, includes: city and county parks, state conservation lands, federal property, a sundry mix of trail authorities, and more. It's also governed by a variety of planning frameworks, including ARC's 2016 regional trails plan, Cobb County's 2017 trails plan, and Tim Keane's Atlanta City Design, adopted by the city in 2017.

The aim of the RiverLands project is to stitch all of those elements together to create what Rushing calls "a seamless public realm along the Chattahoochee River." One goal is to connect existing and new trails to the Silver Comet Trail, suburban communities, and MARTA stations. Others include driving economic development, restoring ecological habitat, and increasing public access to open green space.

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Top Planner Completes Yearlong Tour of 421 Parks
Courtesy of Bethesda Magazine

By Caitlynn Peetz

MARYLAND - At the beginning of last year, county Planning Board Chairman Casey Anderson set out on a mission to visit all 421 parks in Montgomery County.

“You always hear people in areas of the county saying they don’t have enough parks or the right kind of parks, so I wanted to see for myself and get a comprehensive look at the park system’s strengths and weaknesses,” Anderson said. “I think I can tell anyone in any part of the county authoritatively we have excellent parks everywhere. There’s nowhere you can go and be far from parks with a range of experiences.”

Overall, Anderson said he was pleased with the county parks, and his tour reaffirmed that all of the public parks, not just the well-known, are operated at a “high level of quality,” which translates to improved quality of life for residents across Montgomery County, he said.

Anderson is also chair of the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission, responsible for regulating real estate development planning transportation and infrastructure and manages the park systems in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

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Congress Recognizes Outdoor Recreation in Farm Bill
Courtesy of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

Outdoor recreation received a significant boost in the Farm Bill, which passed the United States Senate December 11, the U.S. House of Representatives December 12 and signed by the President December 20.

Opening the door for outdoor recreation projects and programs in rural communities to access the rural economic development grants, new language in the Rural Development Title expects Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to “identify and support opportunities for outdoor recreation-related investments that result in rural economic growth, including outdoor recreation businesses, facilities, infrastructure, planning, and marketing.” It also asks the Secretary to “encourage coordination between Rural Development and U.S. Forest Service staff to identify opportunities to cooperate and leverage resources and investments.”

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The Bronx City Park that is Making Public Land Forage-Friendly
Courtesy of Civil Eats

By Danielle Beurteaux

NEW YORK - Amidst the sounds of the city, tall red metal sculptures, once part of a concrete manufacturing facility, mark a thin green oasis known as Concrete Plant Park. Since 2017, a pilot project called the Bronx River Foodway has run a public forage garden out of this small waterfront plot.

The Foodway differs from a community garden in that the plants are part of the decorative landscaping—there are no separate plots with veggies in rows. Instead, visitors can follow the garden’s meandering path through medicinal plants, pollinator-friendly plants, fruit trees, nut trees, and berries—and they can harvest as they go.

Integrating gardening into public park design, the experiment offers fresh food to communities that lack it. The neighborhood surrounding the park has one of the highest rates of asthma in the country and is also considered a “food desert,” where fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables are hard to come by.

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Piñon Project offers free rentals of outdoor gear
Courtesy of the Durango Herald

By Jim Mimiaga

COLORADO - Local businesses and a grant have helped the Piñon Project set up an outdoor-gear library to serve local school programs, youth groups and other organizations.

The inventory of gear is funded by a Great Outdoors Colorado grant, awarded to the Montezuma Land Conservancy in 2017 to promote outdoor recreation. The $1.8 million grant is being distributed by the Conservancy to support local nonprofits.

A storage room at Piñon is stocked with mountain bikes, backpacks, snowshoes, tents, sleeping bags, boating equipment, helmets, first-aid kits, sports equipment and more.

The goal of the program is to “break down barriers” that stand in the way of people getting outdoors, Coyote said. “People may not have the right gear to go camping, biking or kayaking and this fills that need,” she said. “We are providing an opportunity for the community.”

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How Philly is using city jobs to tackle poverty
Courtesy of

By Juliana Feliciano Reyes

PENNSYLVANIA - Though they’re not what they once were, government jobs are still very much the elusive good job: predictable hours, solid pay and benefits, job security. And the City of Philadelphia is the second-biggest employer in the city.

It’s a natural solution to Philly’s persistent poverty rate, especially since the city needs new workers, too: The average age of a Philadelphia city employee is 45.

But there’s one big problem: Those who stand to benefit the most from a city job are often the ones who have the hardest time getting one. They don’t know how to navigate the city’s civil service hiring process, which a recent report called “cumbersome, inflexible, and slow.”

It’s why the Kenney administration, as part of its workforce plan, has made it a priority to develop what it’s calling “career pathways" for city jobs, apprenticeship-like training programs that cater to those who might find it hard to get employed by the city.

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation has one of the biggest seasonal work forces, so the department developed a two-year “community apprenticeship” to get seasonal workers on track to become full-time. These jobs include tree maintenance helpers and recreation center outreach workers. It was launched with 40 participants in June 2017, and 21 apprentices are still part of the program. Those who have dropped out wanted to stick with seasonal work, some got jobs with private employers, and others weren’t ready yet for a full-time job and were encouraged to stick with the seasonal job and try again, Ali said.

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How to Build Fireproof Towns
Courtesy of Outside Online

By Marc Peruzzi

There's one realistic thing we can do to survive the new era of giant blazes: build smarter communities that can take the heat.

Climate change is killing us. The Houston floods of 2017 were intensified by warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico and stagnant upper-level winds too weak to blow Hurricane Harvey east. California’s recent Camp Fire raged with such fury in large part because of dry fuels that were made drier by rising temperatures and delays in seasonal rains. These compounding factors have been attributed—by our own government agencies—to human-caused climate change.

If anything, Americans are moving to more inhospitable country—in droves. According to researchers at Bozeman Montana’s Headwaters Economics, the fastest-growing residential areas in the country are in the wildland-urban interface in the West. The WUI, areas where flammable landscapes come into contact with residential communities, subdivisions, and towns, is now home to one-third of U.S. homes and roughly half of all western residents.

We need large-scale manipulation of human settlements to better adapt to a more destructive climate. Remarkably, at least when it comes to wildfires, this is both feasible and relatively affordable. To be clear, “there’s no silver bullet,” says Headwaters Economics’ Kimiko Barrett. But by updating building codes, thinning the woods around communities, and being smarter about which places we let burn and which we burn prescriptively, we can dramatically reduce the impact of wildfires across the West.

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8 Michigan waterways designated as state water trails
Courtesy of Click on Detroit

MICHIGAN - Eight waterways totaling 540-plus miles that flow through more than a dozen counties have been selected as the first state-designated water trails in Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources announced today.

The DNR and the Office of the Great Lakes partnered on the effort to finalize this first round of designations, which includes:

- Central River Raisin Water Trail, 11 miles in Monroe County.
- Chain of Lakes Water Trail, more than 80 miles in Antrim and Kalkaska counties.
- Huron River Water Trail, 104 miles in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
- Island Loop Route, 10 miles in St. Clair County.
- Flint River Trail, 72 miles in Genesee and Lapeer counties.
- Middle Grand River Water Trail, 87 miles in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham and Ionia counties.
- Shiawassee River Trail, 88 miles in Genesee, Oakland, Saginaw and Shiawassee counties.
- Upper Grand River Water Trail, 91 miles in Eaton, Ingham and Jackson counties.

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A Look Back on What Ryan Zinke Is Leaving Behind
Courtesy of Planetizen

By Camille Fink

Sarah Greenberger, a former Department of the Interior employee, considers Secretary Ryan Zinke’s time as the head of the agency as the beleaguered cabinet member prepares to depart at the end of the year.

The role of the secretary is to manage national parks, wildlife refuges, and almost 250 million acres of public land used for a variety of recreational, grazing, and energy development purposes. "The secretary of the interior shoulders an awesome responsibility to steward much of what most defines us as Americans: our iconic landscapes, treasured wildlife, abundant resources, historic landmarks, and sacred obligations to our nation’s first peoples," notes Greenberger.

But, Greenberger says, Zinke has betrayed the mission of the Interior Department by rolling back environmental protection statutes, gutting conservation agreements, and promoting oil drilling and mining on public land.

"For those of us charged with protecting wildlife and nature, it has been a harrowing 21 months. For those of us who know the devoted professionals who make the department work, it’s been heartbreaking. Under the guise of 'efficiency,' Zinke took systematic steps to dismantle the agency — stripping it of leadership and creating a culture of fear," writes Greenberger.

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Proposed Rule Threatens Railbanking
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

In early October, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) began considering a rule proposed by opponents of railbanking that would restrict railbanking negotiations to essentially three years—except under “extraordinary circumstances.” Armed with the knowledge that negotiations often extend beyond this time period for a variety of legitimate reasons, and supported by data collected by RTC over several decades, our legal team submitted formal comments in opposition to the proposed rule.

We also mobilized our members, supporters and this network of trail professionals to register their opposition. Ultimately, more than 160 comments and an RTC petition with nearly 15,000 signatures were submitted to the STB in opposition to the rule—dwarfing the fewer than 30 comments filed in support. We sincerely thank those of you who took the time to let the STB know how you stand on this ill-advised and damaging rule.

The STB has not yet indicated when they will make a final decision on the proposed rule—it could be days, weeks or months. RTC will continue to monitor the situation, and we’ll be sure to let you know of any developments as soon as we find out.


Jessica Wahl Named Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable
Courtesy of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

Washington, D.C. (December 19, 2018) – The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) Board of Directors announced the appointment of Jessica Wahl as executive director following an extensive national search. Jessica brings a decade of experience navigating the halls of The White House, Department of the Interior (DOI), Capitol Hill, state recreation offices and outdoor lifestyle businesses.

Wahl joins ORR on January 7th and will succeed Derrick Crandall, the long-time president of American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and current ORR president. Since the April 2018 announced merger between ARC and the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable that formed ORR, Crandall has led the successful integration of the two entities. After a short leadership transition, Crandall will step down from ORR but continue to consult on ORR’s Partners Outdoors and Great Outdoors Month programs as well as continue his distinguished career as the ORR board representative for the National Park Hospitality Association.

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Webinar: Investment Opportunity: How to Make Your Trail Irresistible to Private Funders
Courtesy of American Trails

Date: January 17, 2019
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET
Cost: $19 members/$39 non-members

As public funding becomes less reliable, the success of your project may depend on developing creative funding solutions with the private sector. Ever wonder how trail projects get access to hundreds of thousands, or in some cases, millions of dollars in private money? This webinar includes presenters that have successfully courted private foundations to give you a holistic view of how projects can be pushed to the next level by engaging the private sector. To demonstrate these best practices, panelists will share their success stories in Akron, OH and Philadelphia, PA.

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Trail Planning for Local Governments
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: February 21, 2019
Location: Wentworth, NC
Organization: Duke Energy, Rockingham Community College

Participants will learn the basics of large-scale trail planning. Topics include conceptual trail planning, connectivity, landowner outreach, and grants. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss current and future trail projects within their jurisdictions.

For more information:

2019 Sustainable Trails Conference
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: March 17-23, 2019
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Organization: Professional Trail Builders Association (PTBA)

The Sustainable Trails Conference is heading to Grand Junction, CO, to offer the absolute must attend conference for anyone involved in trails construction, maintenance, design, development and use.

For more information:


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Aquatics and Safety Coordinator
St. Lucie County, Florida
Posted January 7, 2019. Open until filled.

Parks and Recreation Supervisor
Douglas County Forestry Department, Wisconsin
Posted January 4, 2019. Closes January 27, 2019.

Director of Parks and Recreation
Town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Posted January 4, 2019. Closes February 3, 2019.

District Superintendent II – San Diego Coast
California State Parks, California
Posted January 2, 2019. Closes January 16, 2019.

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

Natural Resource Manager – Restoration Ecologist
Forest Preserve District of Will County, Illinois
Posted December 17, 2018. Closes January 11, 2019.

Cultural and Community Services Director
City of Oxnard, California
Posted December 17, 2018. Closes January 25, 2019.

Director of Recreation, Parks and Forestry
University City, Missouri
Posted December 6, 2018. Closes January 14, 2019.


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