November 12, 2019

In This Issue...

Welcome New Members
Best Practices Forum
A Word from our Sponsors
Member News
Research and Resources
In the News
News from NRPA
Job Announcements


The National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials is a non-profit professional organization that advances official policies that promote county and regional park and recreation issues while providing members with opportunities to network, exchange ideas and best practices, and enhance professional development.

Learn more about us at:


The next issue of NACPRO News will be delivered on December 3.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by December 2.

Brenda Adams-Weyant
(814) 927-8212
[email protected]

NACPRO's Sponsors

Pilot Rock logo

Taylor Studios Logo

oncell logo

Job Announcements 

Center Supervisor
Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District
Beaverton, Oregon
Salary: $73,812 - $109,368 annually
Closing Date: Nov 17, 2019

District Superintendent II
California State Parks
Sacramento, California
Salary: $13,867 monthly
Closing Date: Dec 23, 2019

Executive Director
Calumet Memorial Park District
Calumet City, Illinois
Salary: $60,000 - $75,000 annually
Closing Date: Nov 15, 2019

NACPRO Survey on Campgrounds

NACPRO has had several inquiries from potential sponsors about campground facilities and trends within the NACPRO community. The following seven (7) question survey should take 2-3 minutes to complete. Results will be shared.

Please take a few moment now to complete the survey. Survey closes November 20.

Survey Link:

Welcome New Members

William Tschirhart, Chief of Administration
Five Rivers MetroParks
Dayton, Ohio

Jason Shamblin, Director
Ottawa County Parks
West Olive, Michigan

Best Practices Forum

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.

A Word from our Sponsors

Pilot Rock - Internet Specials

Have you browsed our Internet Specials section lately? If not, take a few minutes to check out our awesome deals on inventory overstocks and discontinued models. Remember, these items are not factory seconds, defective or reworked merchandise. That means you get a great quality Pilot Rock product at an awesome price.

For more information:

Member News

Play and learn about nature
Courtesy of the Progress-Index

By Kristi K. Higgins

VIRGINIA - Chesterfield County Parks & Recreation has opened a new nature-themed playground on the trails of R. Garland Dodd Park at Point of Rocks in the southern part of the county.

The play structure is designed for kids ages 2-12 and features elements that reflect fauna and flora from the natural environment, such as dragonflies, bees, ants, butterflies, frogs, mushrooms and turtles, as well as educational signage.

Funding for the playground came from Niagara Cares, the philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling, and the project was completed in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.

Read more: 


“Serve”-ing Two Masters Successfully
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Andrew Pack

NORTH CAROLINA - In Mecklenburg County residents enjoy multiple opportunities to be active and fit. This is thanks in large part to the county’s investment in public parks, recreation centers, greenways, and aquatic facilities.

Last fall, Queens University officially opened an additional facility that was made possible through a public-private partnership with Mecklenburg County. The $1.7-million, 6,200-square-foot Tennis Center at Marion Diehl Park blends the needs of student athletes with recreational tennis players in the community, and provides a shared, multi-functional event space for community meetings, gala events, and children’s camps.

“This design collaboration is an innovative integration between the public and private sectors within a set budget and through strong management,” says Architect Project Manager David Welling of Woolpert, the firm that has been guiding the design and construction of the project since 2016. “This building is designed to be a multi-functional workhorse that can be used for university gatherings and community meetings.”

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A Rising Tide: Social Equity in Baltimore's Parks
Courtesy of NRPA

By Zolna Russell, PLA, LEED AP, SITES AP; Kate Brower and Steven Preston

MARYLAND - Baltimore is a diverse, vibrant city, defined by many neighborhoods of distinct character and pride. More than 600,000 citizens are served by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks (BCRP), which is supported by a variety of friends groups and nonprofit organizations, such as the Parks & People Foundation.

The city’s park system provides residents with more than 4,600 acres of natural and recreational assets. 

Baltimore, like many cities, has a long history of inequitable distribution of resources. The park system is no exception. 

A map of the city depicts a ‘black butterfly’ and ‘white L,’ illustrating the distribution of the city’s racial composition. This racial distribution — overlaid with the city’s park system, walkability map, heat island, vacancies and crime rates — highlights the correlation between these data sets. The most vacant, violent areas and hottest temperatures are directly related to a lack of walkable, quality park space.

Today, BCRP and other city agencies are working to establish goals and metrics to ensure all neighborhoods receive equitable investment. 

Read more:

Research and Resources

Providing a setting for playful discovery
Courtesy of PlayCore

Although trails exist throughout our nation, it appears that a small minority of children and families are actually using them. Children need access to opportunities to activate, stimulate, and exercise their potential in the rich natural diversity of the outdoors. Today, many children have lost easy access to natural play spaces due to urban sprawl, parental apprehension, perceptions of crime, over-scheduled lifestyles, and heavy street traffic. Intentional design strategies to infuse nature back into the everyday play spaces of children can play a critical role in providing children the many developmental benefits of engaging with nature.

Our work with the Natural Learning Initiative around bringing nature to play created a foundation and helped us to understand the role of sinuous pathways in the overall playscape. When we had the opportunity to meet with the team from American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests, they shared what they would like to change about trails today - “We need more children and families using them.” This aligned with the NLI research, and encouraged us to embark on another nature research project. For while Naturegrounds brought nature to play, it appeared the latest research and inquiries supported an additional, complimentary model-bringing play to nature.

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Implementing a County-Wide Park Fee
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Jamie Ludovic, Deb Sielski, and Eric Hyde

WISCONSIN - From 2015 to 2018, the Washington County park and trail system budget, that supports roughly 1,000 acres, was reduced by more than $365,000, or 30 percent. As operating costs for the parks’ maintenance continue to rise, park fees offer an alternative to cutting expenses or raising taxes. Current annual fees per vehicle for park goers are set at $30 for a resident, $40 for a non-resident, $20 for a senior, and $5 for a daily pass. In 2018 (the first year of fees), the park and trail system netted $125,000 in new revenue. As a result of this initiative and the use of other revenues, the budget will increase in 2019, marking the first real accrual in more than five years.

For communities considering the use of fees to support their operation, here is some advice...

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The Fit2Lead Program
Courtesy of NRPA

By Emily M. D’Agostino, DrPH; Stacy Frazier, Ph.D.; Eric Hansen, MPA; and Sarah E. Messiah, Ph.D.

FLORIDA - The Fit2Lead park-based afterschool resilience program in Miami-Dade County (MDC), Florida, provides daily mental/emotional/physical health and wellness activities and communication/problem-solving skills training for at-risk youth ages 12–17. This program was initiated in 2016 by multiagency partners, including MDC Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (MDPROS), Juvenile Services Department, Public Schools, and Police Department as part of the Mayor’s Roundtable on Youth Community Safety and is central to the MDPROS continued effort to create a healthier, more livable and sustainable community.

The Fit2Lead program includes two arms: On weekdays September to June, youth ages 12–14 in high-need neighborhoods attend 12 MDC parks at no charge. During these hours, they receive daily academic support from a licensed MDC teacher and participate in workshops that provide them with opportunities to hone their communication/problem-solving/emotion regulation skills, and engage in sports, recreation and nature excursions. Transportation from the schools to the parks is provided at no cost to families. During the summers, youth can attend MDPROS summer camps at no charge.

At age 15, participants who are in good standing become eligible for the second arm of the program: a year-round paid internship for youth ages 15–17. Interns are paid $9.05 per hour and participate in a three-hour weekly resilience workshop, combined with daily on-site, practical work experience. The uniqueness of this program is that a park and recreation department provides at-risk youth with a job, where they support our park staff and receive a paycheck each week and where they learn communication, conflict resolution and problem-solving skills.

Intern assignments support MDPROS operations and recreation staff, and assignments rotate every eight weeks to increase exposure to a variety of job opportunities, mentors and supervisors.

Read more:


NOHVCC 2019 Annual Conference Presentations Available Online
Courtesy of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council

NOHVCC had a great slate of presenters at our 2019 Conference. If you missed the conference here is your chance to review the presentations.

For more information:

In the News

Why Everything Is Getting Louder
Courtesy of the Atlantic

By Bianca Bosker

Scientists have known for decades that noise—even at the seemingly innocuous volume of car traffic—is bad for us. “Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience,” former U.S. Surgeon General William Stewart said in 1978. In the years since, numerous studies have only underscored his assertion that noise “must be considered a hazard to the health of people everywhere.” Say you’re trying to fall asleep. You may think you’ve tuned out the grumble of trucks downshifting outside, but your body has not: Your adrenal glands are pumping stress hormones, your blood pressure and heart rate are rising, your digestion is slowing down. Your brain continues to process sounds while you snooze, and your blood pressure spikes in response to clatter as low as 33 decibels—slightly louder than a purring cat.

In the extreme, sound becomes a weapon. Since at least the 1960s, scientists have investigated sound’s potential to subdue hostage-takers, protesters, and enemy troops, against whom one expert proposed using low-frequency sound, because it apparently induces “disorientation, vomiting fits, bowel spasms, uncontrollable defecation.” The U.S. military, keenly aware of noise’s power to confuse and annoy, has wielded soundtracks as punishment.

The concentration of stress hormones in elk and wolf feces spikes when snowmobiles arrive, then returns to normal when the machines disappear; a similar pattern was observed for North Atlantic right whales subjected to the whine of ship traffic.

Read more:


Federal Lawmakers Push '.gov' Web Addresses For Local Governments
Courtesy of Route Fifty

By Bill Lucia

A new U.S. Senate bill comes amid concerns that online criminals can “spoof” the public with fake government websites.

Federal agencies and states tend to have website addresses that end in “.gov,” a signal to users that they’re clicking on official sources of government information.

But across local governments, domain names are more of a mixed bag and might end in “.com,” “.org,” or “.us.” While this may seem trivial, experts say it opens the door for “spoofing,” where criminals post imposter websites that can trick the public in a variety of ways.

With this as the backdrop, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate is supporting a bill aimed at increasing the number of local governments with .gov web addresses.

Read more:


Parks and Recreation as Community Health and Wellness Hubs
Courtesy of NRPA

By Lesha Spencer-Brown, MPH, CPH

The concept of a “community hub” is certainly not a new one! However, it has received attention and gained significant traction over the past several years, most notably, by several library systems across the country that are reinventing themselves to become social services hubs that offer a variety of social services to meet the needs of the community. Local parks and recreation, being the cornerstone of nearly every community — places where everyone can go to be active, healthier, connect with nature and the community as a whole — are also uniquely positioned to serve as health and wellness hubs in communities across the country.

A “hub” is defined as “the effective center of an activity, region network.” And by extension, a “community hub” is a central gathering place and access point for a variety of programs and services — such as wellness programs, healthcare, childcare, education, employment and other social services, cultural and recreation opportunities, among others. Typically, the majority of community hubs respond to the health and wellness needs of the community and can be established in many different settings, including healthcare, churches, libraries, schools and community centers.

Read more:


How Memphis transformed its parks named for Confederate generals into inclusive spaces
Courtesy of Fast Company

By Adele Peters

TENNESSEE - Two years ago, a crane arrived at a park in downtown Memphis and took down a statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, as a crowd watched and cheered. Now, after a two-year legal battle about the statue’s removal, the park, once known as Confederate Park, is being redesigned—this time, as a place that welcomes everyone.

Nearby, another park—also named after Davis—was redesigned and given a new name as well. Previously little used, it’s now filled with new play equipment—adult-sized, so everyone can play—and activities such as Friday-evening events around firepits, deliberately designed to bring people together who might not otherwise have interacted.

The parks were renamed in 2013, when the city council said that they evoked a racist past. A third downtown park, named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general who later became the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was renamed Health Sciences Park. “Memphis is a majority-black city in a majority-black county,” says Coletta. “So in a city like Memphis, I think sometimes your reality is out of phase with the way you present your city. This is certainly one of those ways.”

Read more:


Business, nonprofits create foundation to fund upkeep of strapped Milwaukee County
Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Lee Bergquist

WISCONSIN - Milwaukee County Parks is hoping to get a financial shot in the arm from a newly formed foundation that will raise money for the system’s cash-strapped infrastructure needs.

A group of largely private companies and nonprofits has formed the Milwaukee Parks Foundation to help finance projects and address a growing backlog of deferred maintenance.

The foundation is an outgrowth of a campaign that began a year ago through a fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation that was earmarked for parks operations and capital projects.

The campaign, which has raised $100,000, led to the launch of the foundation, which will raise money for an endowment for the park system.

Read more:


The spread of outdoor preschools raises questions about the purpose of education
Courtesy of Quartz

By Annabelle Timsit

Most toddlers don’t spend their days picking up sticks and chasing centipedes in the forest with their teacher. But for the first time this fall, some preschoolers in Washington state will.

In September, Washington became the first US state to license outdoor preschools, a program that promotes a connection with nature. Forest or nature preschools, as they are called, already exist, but now they will be able to offer full-day programs and financial assistance to families in need.

Washington’s decision is part of a growing movement in favor of outdoor learning. It began in Scandinavia and is now spreading around the world, especially in the US, where experts say preschoolers are increasingly stressed.

Read More:

News from NRPA

Introducing the Sustainability Institute

Join us February 2–7, 2020, in Wheeling, West Virginia, as NRPA introduces a new partner school in conjunction with Oglebay’s National Training Center and North Carolina State University, focusing on organizational sustainability.

This one-year school will engage participants in a process of planning and creative problem-solving, highlighting themes — such as reducing environmental impacts of utilities, understanding concepts of environmental and economic resilience, and focusing on the soft skills needed to implement and maintain the plan by engaging various stakeholders. The courses will introduce terminology and concepts, define metrics for tracking progress and develop an understanding for utility and other data in establishing baselines for success in relation to challenges that participants face at their agencies. When developing sustainability plans, participants will formulate a mission, vision and goals within various categories being explored, draft a plan outline for their individual agency and establish a plan for gaining stakeholder feedback and support.

Read more:


Scholarships Available for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Training

As part of our Great Urban Parks Campaign, NRPA is offering 25 training scholarships for the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP). This training -- which will take place May 11-14, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia -- provides the base-level skill set needed to properly construct, inspect and maintain green stormwater infrastructure projects in parks.

To learn more about how we're helping communities implement new green infrastructure projects, join our upcoming webinar that will walk you through how to use the Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework.

The deadline to apply is December 13, 2019.

Read more:


NRPA Park Metrics Replaces Areas and Facilities Standards

By Melissa May

“Standards” is a word we hear often at NRPA. More specifically, park and recreation professionals ask us about the “NRPA Standards” nearly once a week, and it also came up at the membership booth at this year’s conference. This is impressive because the NRPA Areas and Facilities Standards has not been updated in more than two decades and will never again be updated.

The reason for this is simple: There is not a single set of standards for parks and recreation that could possibly encompass the uniqueness found in every community across the country. Communities vary greatly by size, needs and desires; so too should their park and recreation agencies’ offerings. To think an agency in Alaska, one in Kansas and one in south Florida should hold themselves to the same standards is unrealistic, impractical and potentially detrimental.

Read more:


CAPRA Accreditation – The Power of Positive Perception

By Laura T. Wetherald, MS, CPRP

MARYLAND - Accreditation from NRPA’s Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) is a powerful stamp of approval and a great tool to help build a positive brand around the value of your agency. Howard County Recreation and Parks in Maryland achieved CAPRA accreditation in 2002. In the years preparing for our initial accreditation and then maintaining our continual five-year reaccreditation status (most recently in 2017), we developed the positive culture of a CAPRA agency. Every time I speak to the community, county administration or Maryland colleagues, I share with them the importance of accreditation and the benefits it provides to an agency and its community. Stating that our agency is one of the 165 accredited agencies out of 10,000 agencies in the United States gets the listeners’ attention.

CAPRA Accreditation recently helped us secure a $150,000 grant to increase the participation of low-income students and students of color in afterschool sports activities. The Horizon Foundation, Howard County’s (Maryland) community health foundation, sought out our agency and offered us the grant because our CAPRA accreditation gives us notoriety and recognition as experts in the field.

Among the requirements for maintaining CAPRA accreditation is an annual self-assessment report. This exercise is one of the most valuable parts of the entire process because through it, the agency comes to know itself better. This self-assessment also has the unexpected benefit of being a helpful tool for new staff orientations, as it provides an overview of the agency and allows them to easily digest the agency’s inner workings.

Read more:


Webinar: Making the Case
Courtesy of NRPA

Thursday, November 14 at 2 p.m. EST

The NRPA Research team provides data resources and insights that help park and recreation professionals be more productive and "make the case" for greater and more steady funding. Join us for a webinar as we review the key findings of NRPA's 2019 reports, including the NRPA Agency Performance Review, Engagement with Parks report and the Farmers Market report. This webinar will also highlight three new NRPA Research resources. This webinar is part of our Premier Webinar Series, which is free to Premier Members and $30 for all other member types and includes 0.1 continuing education units (CEUs).

For more information: 

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