National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

September 17, 2019


Mr. Chris Beaton
Horticultural Supervisor
Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, Kansas

Mr. Jeremy Myers
Park Operations Director
Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, Kansas


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Palm Beach County wins Environmental Sustainability Agency Excellence Award
Courtesy of Palm Beach County

The Florida Recreation and Park Association (FRPA) selected the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department (PBC Parks) as the recipient of the 2019 Agency Excellence Award in the Environmental Sustainability category. The award recognizes and honors the state’s most outstanding community Park, Recreation and/or Leisure Service agencies for excellence in Parks and Recreation management.

The Agency Excellence Award program focuses on agencies excelling at positioning themselves as key participants and providers in the categories of Economic Impact, Environmental Sustainability, Health, and Community Building.

PBC Parks’ environmental initiatives include environmental education at three nature centers and Riverbend Park; green infrastructure like green lighting systems, eco-friendly landscaping, irrigation and natural area land management best practices; and the Responsible Pier Initiative, which equips responders at Juno Beach Pier with tools and training to respond to turtle and seabird injuries. Environmental initiatives like these help keep beaches clean, reduce our carbon footprint, and allow wildlife to flourish at over 110 park properties.

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Baltimore Rec and Parks looks to develop five-year plan with public input
Courtesy of the Baltimore Fishbowl

By Brandon Weigel

MARYLAND - Days after the department reopened rec centers on Saturdays for the first time in decades, Recreation and Parks is seeking public input for a five-year plan on programming at the facilities and ways to modernize them.

“We want to continue to move our needle,” Director Reginald Moore said at a press conference this morning. “We want to continue to identify and understand what the community expects of Rec and Parks.”

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Parks and Recreation: Night Version
Courtesy of

By Clement Lau

CALIFORNIA - Los Angeles is often referred to as the entertainment capital of the world. However, this means little to residents in underserved communities where the options for safe and affordable play, fun, and entertainment have traditionally been limited or nonexistent, especially in the evenings. Also, since households in these areas generally have lower incomes, including some that are living below poverty levels, they lack the means with which to pay for relatively modest items like recreation classes and movies that many take for granted.

Parks After Dark (PAD) started in 2010 at three county parks and expanded to thirty-three parks in 2019. For an eight-week period each summer, PAD extends hours of park operation from 6:00 to 10:00 pm at participating parks. The program offers family entertainment, sports and recreational activities (like swimming and dance), cultural and educational programming, and employment and volunteer opportunities for youth and adults. PAD parks also host resource fairs through which public agencies and community-based organizations provide health, social, economic, and legal resources to participants.

The program outcomes and benefits of PAD are well-documented. In the most recent evaluation brief published in July 2018, researchers from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research reported that:

- PAD programming like guided walking clubs, group exercise, team sports, and other physical activities helped to reduce costs for both the County of Los Angeles and the participants by reducing expenditures for treating chronic diseases. The report estimated savings of $1.1 million for 2017.

- PAD’s safety efforts prevented 41 violent crimes and almost 480 nonviolent crimes in neighborhoods near County parks between 2010 and 2017. The reduction in crime saved the County about $2.2 million in criminal justice costs in 2017 alone.

- New initiatives added to the program in 2017 provided participants with easier ways to access mental health services, as well as valuable gang intervention and other activities for at-risk youth and young adults. In 2017, PAD employed about 50 youth and young adults, including teens for whom the experience was their first job, and over 300 youth volunteered through the program.

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Golfers decry loss of popular Mile Square Park course while others push for open space there
Courtesy of the

By Susan Christian Goulding

CALIFORNIA - About half of Orange County’s 640-acre Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley is dedicated to golf – for a total of 54 holes dimpling three courses.

Now one of those public courses is on the chopping block, and golfers aren’t pleased. The county wants to convert the Players Golf Course into a multi-use park by 2023.

“There are very few reasonably priced golf courses in Orange and Los Angeles counties,” said Costa Mesa resident Gary Bennett, a regular at Players. “Private courses cost triple the money.”

But Scott Thomas, planning and design manager for OC Parks, said the transformation would give residents 93 more acres of room to roam. “Orange County is deficient in open space that is not encumbered by a single use,” Thomas said. “We envision walking paths and picnic tables for this area.”

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Safety Improvements Limit Scooter Use on Parkland
Courtesy of City of Austin

TEXAS - The City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation and Transportation Departments are partnering with local scooter companies to protect parkland while providing access to park amenities.

Beginning on Sept. 6, 2019, a technology known as “geofencing” will discourage scooter usage on parkland. Scooters that attempt to ride on non-paved trails, such as the Butler Hike and Bike Trail, will enter GPS controlled zones that automatically slow riders down. In addition to slowing the device down, alerts will notify the rider that they’ve entered a non-authorized use area.

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How to Build a New Park So Its Neighbors Benefit
Courtesy of City Lab

By Laura Bliss

Cities that have followed the High Line’s example are grappling with the effects of gentrification. In Los Angeles, the promise of a revitalized river has put neighborhoods such as Elysian Valley—a diverse, historically working-class community—in the real estate spotlight. The median price of a house there jumped by more than 17 percent between 2017 and 2018, more than twice the countywide rate. In Chicago, property values in the relatively affordable, Latino neighborhoods traversed by a rail-to-trail project known as “the 606” nearly doubled in three years after its groundbreaking in 2013. In Atlanta, the BeltLine has been beset by criticisms that project leaders haven’t paid adequate attention to skyrocketing property values along the 22-mile rail corridor-turned-walking loop.

A new joint report by researchers at UCLA and the University of Utah examines this question, surveying “parks-related anti-displacement strategies” (or PRADS) undertaken by 19 U.S. cities where 27 major park developments are underway, including those in the “High Line Network,” a coalition of projects trying to learn from the namesake example.

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Americans' love of hiking has driven elk to the brink, scientists say
Courtesy of the Guardian

By Christine Peterson

COLORADO - Biologists used to count over 1,000 head of elk from the air near Vail, Colorado. The majestic brown animals, a symbol of the American west, dotted hundreds of square miles of slopes and valleys.

But when researchers flew the same area in February for an annual elk count, they saw only 53.

The surprising culprit isn’t expanding fossil-fuel development, herd mismanagement by state agencies or predators, wildlife managers say. It’s increasing numbers of outdoor recreationists – everything from hikers, mountain bikers and backcountry skiers to Jeep, all-terrain vehicle and motorcycle riders. Researchers are now starting to understand why.

Recreation continues nearly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, said Bill Andree, who retired as Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Vail district wildlife manager in 2018. Night trail use in some areas has also gone up 30% in the past decade. People are traveling even deeper into woods and higher up peaks in part because of improved technology, and in part to escape crowds.

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Sourcewell Awards Pre-Engineered Buildings Contract to BlueScope Construction
Courtesy of BlueScope Construction

BlueScope Construction announces a second consecutive Sourcewell contract in the pre-engineered building category. As the top-scoring respondent, BlueScope Construction earned the new four-year contract during a recent competitive solicitation process. BlueScope Construction’s response included considerations such as pricing, customer service and warranties.

Sourcewell, formerly National Joint Powers Association, is a leading government agency specializing in cooperative purchasing. As procurement experts, Sourcewell has awarded more than 325 competitively solicited contracts to companies on behalf of their 67,000 public-agency members, which include government, education and nonprofit entities.

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Restroom Design Elements
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Christine Schaffran

When it comes to park restrooms, two things are certain--they should be clean and safe. Although this may seem obvious, achieving that goal may not be easy. Start at the one place that can make a difference before the concrete slab is even poured--restroom design.

Bill Woolpert, architect and owner of Green Building Architects in Petaluma, Calif., recommends kicking off the design phase by talking with the maintenance personnel who will be tasked with keeping the restrooms clean. He explains that sometimes the method in which a facility is cleaned impacts the materials that are used in construction.

In 2005, the city of Denver’s Parks and Recreation Department commissioned a restroom master plan to evaluate its 46 restrooms throughout the system. Mark Upshaw, architect/planner for the city, says the study--the first of its kind--took nearly three years to complete. In a 67-page document, findings confirmed that “safety is one of the biggest concerns for users of … parks, especially when using the restrooms.”

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Crowdfunding - A New Way to Enhance Outdoor Amenities
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Pete Eshelman

VIRGINIA - Just as one might give online to a favorite charity or help someone in need, crowdfunding has played a key public role in the evolution of the Roanoke Region of Virginia as one of the East Coast’s top outdoor communities.

A decade after the Roanoke region rebranded itself as outdoor-oriented, residents and businesses in this Blue Ridge Mountain metro have become so inspired they’ve covered most of the cost of new kayak launches, a kayak/canoe dock, and the first phase of a bike skills park—with more projects planned.

The Roanoke Regional Partnership is an eight-locality, public-private partnership established in 1983 for traditional business attraction. The organization decided in 2008 to modernize its mission and use unconventional brand building to drive economic development and create a program that’s innovative, transferable, engaging, and results-oriented.

The region’s natural assets are extraordinary—the Appalachian Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, 600 miles of hiking and biking trails, Virginia’s largest lake, its two largest rivers, 35 miles of urban greenway, and more. Yet these assets were treated like wallpaper, not leveraged for economic growth in any way. The regional tourism agency didn’t even strongly focus on outdoor recreation.

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How Atlanta and Other Cities Can Become More Edible
Courtesy of Next City

By Adina Solomon

GEORGIA - People still remember when Ruby and Willie Morgan had a farm in southeast Atlanta. The couple left extra produce on fence posts for their neighbors in Lakewood and Browns Mill Park to take.

That farm ceased operations around 2000, and a few years later, developers bought the property for townhouses. When the recession hit, those plans came to a halt and the land lay abandoned.

Now, in a community designated as a food desert with few options for fresh produce, that property is becoming the largest food forest in the U.S. It was officially created in May. Once the seven-acre Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill is fully up and running, anyone will be able to pick produce including muscadines, walnuts, pecans, apples, corn, green beans, thyme, parsley, squash, okra and mushrooms.

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Planning Department Launches First Pedestrian Master Plan
Courtesy of Source of the Spring

By Mike Diegel

MARYLAND - The Montgomery County Planning Department launched the development of the county’s first pedestrian master plan at its Sept. 5 meeting, according to a department announcement.

The master plan “will address all reasons for walking – commuting to and from work or school, running errands, recreation, entertainment, exercise and everything in between,” the announcement reads.

The work will include compiling best practices, gathering and analyzing information from walkers, a pedestrian comfort analysis and a crash analysis, among other tools.

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For Veterans, Outdoor Therapy Could Become Law
Courtesy of Outside Online

On May 1, Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey introduced the Outdoor Recreation Therapy for Veterans Act. The bill, HR 2435, directs the secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a task force to study the implementation of a mental-health program on public lands for veterans. This group, which would be composed of five cabinet secretaries (from the VA, Interior, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Defense), plus the chief of the Army Corps of Engineers, would be charged with finding ways to better use public land in treatment and therapy for vets—and coming up with the policy recommendations to make it all happen.

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$170.6 Million to Support Outdoor Recreation through LWCF
Courtesy of NRPA

By Kyle Simpson

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently released the annual apportionment for the Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance Program. This year, the total apportionment was $170.6 million in grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia for outdoor recreation and conservation projects. Congress appropriated these funds in February for Fiscal Year2019, and the apportionment for each state is determined by a formula that places most of the emphasis on state population.

Read more:$170.6-million-to-support-outdoor-recreation-through-lwcf/


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NRPA's Dolesh a 2019 Pugsley Medals Recipient
Courtesy of NRPA

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration’s (AAPRA) Honorable Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medals are the most prestigious awards that recognize outstanding contributions by an individual to the promotion and development of public parks and conservation in the United States. NRPA’s Richard J. Dolesh joins the ranks of distinguished honorees, which include the likes of Stephen T. Mather, a key figure in the formation of the National Park Service and its first director.

Dolesh has worked tirelessly to advance parks and conservation at the local, state and national level. Moreover, he provides remarkable insight on a broad range of subjects, serving as a teacher, mentor, advocate, leader, author and conservationist. As both a devoted public servant and an advocate for conservation, he communicates a deeper understanding of issues and challenges that have far-reaching implications for individuals, communities and the nation.

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Webinar: Learn How to Host OHV Rides for Veterans
Courtesy of NOHVCC

DATE: October 1, 2019
TIME: 8:00 pm Eastern
COST: Free

What was intended to be a special, one-day event called the “Thank You For Your Service Ride,” has turned into so much more. NOHVCC Chairman and External Relations Director for the Iowa OHV Association, Dan Kleen, has now organized several veterans’ rides in Iowa. This webinar will highlight the rides for veterans in Iowa and provide participants with all the information and tools necessary for clubs to replicate Iowa’s success.

Dan summed it up best - “Thirty percent of vets have disabilities as a result of their service. That’s 3.8 million veterans. We challenge each of you to work with your organizations to host a ride. There are many programs out there, like Wounded Warriors, helping our veterans, but they are often limited on the number of vets they can help. Each of us can help by organizing small, local events.”

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Webinar: Active Parks, Healthy Cities: Increasing Physical Activity among Teen Girls and Seniors
Courtesy of the City Park Alliance

DATE: October 2, 2019
TIME: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Eastern
COST: Free

City Parks Alliance’s National Study of Neighborhood Parks found that teen girls and seniors are often underrepresented in parks. This webinar explores creative models and programs that have successfully engaged these underrepresented demographics in physical activity in their parks and community spaces.

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Deputy Director
Johnson County Park and Recreation District, Kansas
Posted September 13, 2019. Closes October 4, 2019.

Park Unit Manager
East Bay Regional Park District, California
Posted September 9, 2019. Closes October 11, 2019.

Director of Parks, Recreation & Community Services
City of Reno, Nevada
Posted August 28, 2019. Closes October 1, 2019.

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Director
City of Raleigh, North Carolina
Posted June 5, 2019. Open until filled. 

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