National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials

October 1, 2019


OnCell Acquires US based Competitor – Tour Buddy
Courtesy of OnCell

OnCell announced today it has acquired the Tour Buddy platform from Savannah, Georgia based company Tour Buddy Apps, a respected competitor in the mobile tour app technology space. OnCell pioneered the first self-guided mobile tour platform for cultural sites and historic destinations and allows organizations to offer their visitors immersive educational experiences using their smartphones and tablets.

“This is an exciting time for OnCell. We are thrilled to add the Tour Buddy brand to our portfolio and welcome both their team and clients,” said Thomas Dunne. “Together, our innovative technologies will keep us ahead in the market, offering an unrivalled product and feature set.”

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Picnic Table Frame Kits Sale
Courtesy of Pilot Rock

Don’t miss out on the BOGOHOP (buy one get one half off price) deal for galvanized UT and XT Picnic Table frame kits through October 31st.

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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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Newly Remodeled ‘ABC Park’ Reopens In West Baltimore
Courtesy of CBS Baltimore

By Ava-joye Burnett

MARYLAND - Baltimore’s Recreation and Parks and the National Recreation and Park Association lead the way to rebuild the park. The association is in Baltimore this week for an annual conference and it was part of their initiative to sponsor a park in the city.

Council President Brandon Scott said the city is committed to reinvesting into activities for the young people- an example of that is extended hours at rec centers around Baltimore.

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Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account, US and Prototype for States
Courtesy of Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent ($427.2 billion) of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. The Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) also shows that inflation-adjusted (real) GDP for the outdoor recreation economy grew by 3.9 percent in 2017, faster than the 2.4 percent growth of the overall U.S. economy. Real gross output, compensation, and employment all grew faster in outdoor recreation than for the economy as a whole.

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Colorado’s Crowded Trails Mean Crowded Parking Lots. JeffCo Thinks It Has a Fix
Courtesy of CPR News

By Grace Hood

COLORADO - With an estimated 7 million annual visits, Jefferson County has one of the most popular open space programs in the state. That means regular parking headaches for rangers. Visitors’ cars block fire lanes, trail access and others’ ability to exit the lot. So the county has turned to a high-tech solution to ease overcrowding and nip the illegal parking problem in the bud.

The City of Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park have both instituted shuttles to popular destinations. Some federal and local land managers are considering paid permits for high-traffic trailheads.

JeffCo’s fix is a first in the state, Bonnell said. The county is working with Colorado Springs-based Lot Spot to provide real-time parking data to visitors. The pilot project, where cameras in seven Jefferson County open space lots feed data into a smartphone app, is currently beta-testing.

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U.S. Coast Guard’s 2018 Recreational Boating Statistics Report - Includes Stats on Human-Propelled Crafting
Courtesy of the River Management Society

The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2018 Recreational Boating Statistics Report reveals that there were 633 boating fatalities nationwide in 2018, a 3.8 percent decrease from 2017. From 2017 to 2018, overall recreational boating injuries also decreased 4.5 percent (2,629 to 2,511), and the total number of accidents decreased 3.4 percent (4,291 to 4,145). Alcohol continued to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2018, accounting for 100 deaths, or 19 percent of total fatalities.

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2019 Special Report on Paddlesports and Safety
Courtesy of the River Management Society

Paddlesports offer Americans unique ways to enjoy the nation’s landscape and connect with its expansive waterways. Paddling activities are remarkably accessible, as they can accommodate a wide range of paddlers’ interests, locations, and skill levels.

In 2018, 22.9 million Americans, or 7.6 percent of the U.S. population, took to rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans to participate in at least one paddling activity. This participation rate is a slight decrease from 7.7 percent in 2017 and 7.8 percent in 2016.

In terms of specific paddlesports, recreational kayaking continues to grow in popularity and seems to be replacing many Americans’ desires to canoe. Stand up paddling, on the other hand, doesn’t have nearly as high a participation rate as either canoeing or recreational kayaking, but its popularity has soared in recent years, gaining 1.5 million participants since 2013.

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Report: Shared Bikes and Scooters Could Reduce Car Trips By 50 Percent in Downtowns
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

"Electric scooters and bikes have a 'universal potential' to provide more efficient, cheaper ways to get around U.S. cities than driving a car," reports Andrew Theen.

Theen is sharing news of a report prepared by Washington-based Inrix Research and released on September 9, 2019.

According to the report, the number of short trips taken by car enables the potential of shared bikes and scooters in dense urban areas. Theen explains: "Inrix analyzed more than 50 million car trips in cities across the U.S. and determined 48% in the most traffic-clogged urban centers are less than 3 miles. In Portland, 51% of car trips are less than 3 miles long, according to the analysis."

"According to its analysis, half of those trips less than 3 miles could be easily replaced by e-scooters, e-bikes or bike rental programs like Biketown."

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Guidance for Managing Informal Trails
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

A detailed American Trails article provides guidance for developing educational programs and plans for managing, maintaining, and improving informal trails. (i.e. those created by visitors) Management experience reveals that informal trail systems are frequently poorly designed, including "shortest distance" routing with steep grades and alignments parallel to the slope. Such routes are rarely sustainable under heavy traffic and subsequent resource degradation is often severe. Creation of multiple routes to common destinations is another frequent problem, resulting in "avoidable" impacts such as unnecessary vegetation/soil loss and fragmentation of flora/fauna habitats. This guidance helps evaluate the acceptability of informal trail impacts and the selection of the most appropriate and effective management responses.

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City Parks: A Smart Investment for America's Health, Economy & Environment
Courtesy of City Parks Alliance

City parks play a vital role in the social, economic, and physical well-being of their cities. See how 11 large and mid-sized cities are leveraging the power of parks to provide access to recreational opportunities, spur local economies, combat crime, and protect cities from environmental impacts.

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Udall Leads Bipartisan Group in Calling on Congressional Leadership to Enact Full, Permanent Funding for LWCF
Courtesy of

WASHINGTON – On September 17, 2019, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (N.M.) ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) ranking member of the Senator Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) are calling on the leaders of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to include full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the fiscal year 2020 funding agreement. This letter follows Congress’ successful passage of permanent reauthorization for the LWCF in February, and the subsequent introduction of bipartisan legislation in the Senate to permanently fund the LWCF at a level of $900 million.

“As you work to enact legislation that will address Federal funding needs for fiscal year 2020 and beyond, we urge you to seize the opportunity for including a bipartisan win for future generations—full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (‘LWCF’). This investment would protect and conserve our national parks and public lands, support the nation’s $887 billion outdoor recreation economy, and finally fulfill the original promise of the LWCF,” wrote the senators.

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The League of Conservation Voters is infusing $1 million into its media campaign urging Congress to permanently fund the LWCF
Courtesy of the League of Conservation Voters

"LCV is doubling down on our efforts to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund because it is critical that we preserve more natural places and share their benefits equitably with all communities," said President Gene Karpinski in a statement.

Legislation to provide full, permanent funding for LWCF is pending in both chambers. The bills, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), would make funding mandatory for LWCF at its current authorized annual level of $900 million.

Congress permanently reauthorized LWCF earlier this year but did not mandate funding.

LCV's focus on LWCF is the latest move by conservation groups to pressure Congress to take up the funding bills. The National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates yesterday sent a letter to House and Senate leadership calling for action on the legislation, saying it would help address access to landlocked public areas.

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Parks for All
Courtesy of

By Graham Vyse

Five years ago, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department acquired a 5-acre brownfield property at India Basin, the city’s easternmost point abutting the bay. It’s a dusty, vacant strip of land, where the rusting remnants of a derelict boat yard protrude out onto scenic waterfront alongside warehouses and fields of yellowed grass. By 2025, however, that space will undergo a $125 million renovation, becoming—in the words of the department’s General Manager Phil Ginsburg—“an equitable, culturally relevant and beautiful waterfront park” connecting nearly 2 miles of shoreline near a low-income black neighborhood.

Ginsburg calls India Basin “one of the most important park projects in modern San Francisco history.” It’s part of a growing national movement for “park equity” or “reasonably equal access to quality parks,” as described in a July report from City Parks Alliance and the Urban Institute. The idea is getting a renewed focus as equity in general moves to the forefront of most cities’ agendas. Many are recognizing that poor and minority communities often lack parks, especially ones that are well-maintained with quality amenities and programming. The report notes that parks in high-poverty neighborhoods tend to be smaller and have more litter.

To address this inequity, several municipal governments are using public data to identify where parks need to be built or improved, all while endeavoring to let neighborhoods take the lead in creating these green spaces.

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Why Boulder Blocked Electric Scooters
Courtesy of City Lab

By Molly McCluskey

COLORADO - When micro-mobility companies dumped hundreds of scooters and e-bikes in cities around the country seemingly overnight, city officials in Boulder, Colorado, watched warily, expecting their famously bike-friendly city to be a target.

In nearby Denver, for example, city officials swiftly ordered Lime and Bird scooters off the streets after hundreds of the tiny shared vehicles showed up last year. Then they crafted a series of regulations determining where and how the scooters could be used, parked, and collected. “The experience from the other cities where companies just dumped e-scooters overnight—we didn’t want to be faced with that dilemma,” said Dave “DK” Kemp, Boulder’s senior transportation planner. “We’ve seen the horror stories, and we’ve seen the success stories too.”

So when the state passed legislation in May, 2019 that gave e-scooters permission to ride on the streets (removing them from the “toy vehicle” category), Kemp and others in Boulder leaped into action. Although commercial scooters weren’t yet operating in the city, the city council passed an emergency ordinance the same day that banned the issuance of commercial scooter permits within city limits. Over the next several months, the city will host a series of public forums to determine how, and if, commercial scooter-sharing should be allowed.

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Transit to the Trailhead: Bus Service in a Recreation Corridor Takes Off
Courtesy of Route Fifty

Oregon’s Department of Transportation has seen strong demand among riders for buses that run between Portland and the Columbia River Gorge.

The scenic area is a magnet for people looking to spend time in the outdoors, but it’s also an important conduit for east and west bound trucks carrying freight.

Aiming to help reduce the number of cars passing through, Oregon’s transportation department about three years ago worked with the U.S. Forest Service to launch a bus line that now runs between a transit center in Portland and various destinations in the gorge.

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Senate, House to consider grant program for green space and public lands funding
Courtesy of Transportation Today News

By Chris Galford

A new bill introduced to the Senate last week — with a companion in the House — proposes equitable access to parks, green spaces and public lands and waters in the United States through a grant funding program.

The program as established under the Transit to Trails Act would work especially for critically underserved communities, to guarantee them greater access. This would take the form of better transportation options, especially.

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Administration releases final rule to repeal the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule
Courtesy of NACo

By Zach George, Julie Ufner

On September 12, the Trump Administration released a final rule to repeal the 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) definition and reinstate the pre-2015 WOTUS definition from 1986. The rule will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register, which is expected in the coming weeks. The announcement marks the first step of a two-step process to repeal and replace 2015 WOTUS with a revised rule, which is expected to be finalized in 2020.

Counties had consistently advocated for the 2015 WOTUS rule to be withdrawn and rewritten. In a press release, NACo CEO/Executive Director Matthew Chase said: “We appreciate the administration’s efforts to clarify the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ definition. Over the years, an unclear definition has resulted in confusion, inconsistencies and costs, inhibiting essential infrastructure upgrades and causing delays, unnecessary red tape and lawsuits.”

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Engagement with Parks Report

The reasons that draw people to their local parks demonstrate park and recreation agencies’ broad mission to be the centerpiece of healthy, thriving, connected-to-nature communities. Whether spending time with friends and family, improving their health or reconnecting with nature after a hectic week, the reasons people visit their local park and recreation facilities are as diverse as they are.

In 2016, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) launched an annual survey that investigates how people engage with their local park and recreation agencies. Each year, the study examines the importance of public parks in people's lives, including how parks compare to other local government services and offerings. Now in its fourth year, the 2019 Engagement with Parks Report looks at how people interact with parks, the key reasons driving this interaction and the greatest challenges that prevent increased usage. Additionally, this year’s study takes a closer look at people’s favorite outdoor activities as well as their support of local governments expanding open space in their jurisdictions for the protection of natural resources in the community.

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2020 NORC Request for Presentations
Courtesy of SORP

The 2020 National Outdoor Recreation Conference will be held in Knoxville, Tennessee April 27 - 30.

The theme of the 2020 NORC is "Outdoors for All: Advancing Stewardship, Equity, and Wellness in Outdoor Recreation". The conference program will focus on efforts that demonstrate how connecting people with the outdoors instills a life-long commitment to the environment, creates diverse and inclusive experiences, and improves public health.

We are seeking presentations that provide tangible examples of stewardship, equity, and public health being incorporated into successful outdoor recreation research, planning, policy development, and/or management.

Presentation proposals will be accepted through November 8, 2019.

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Deputy Directors
Metro Parks Tacoma, Washington
Posted September 26, 2019. Closes November 4, 2019.

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.

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