February 4, 2020

In This Issue...

Welcome New Members
Best Practices Forum
Research and Resources
In the News
News from NRPA
News from NACo
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 February 18, 2020.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by February 17.

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

NACPRO's Sponsors

Pilot Rock logo

Taylor Studios Logo

oncell logo

Job Announcements

Parks and Recreation Director
City of Durham, NC
Salary: $100,561 - $160,894 Annually
Closing date: Feb 23, 2020

Asst. Director of Construction
BREC - Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, LA
Salary: $72,342 - $115,752 Annually
Closing date: Feb 29, 2020

Deputy Director
Johnson County Park and Recreation District
Shawnee Mission, KS
Salary: $108,472 - $135,574 Annually
Closing date: Feb 21, 2020

Asst. Director of Urban Trail Planning
BREC - Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, LA
Salary: $68,903 - $110,246 Annually
Closing date: Feb 20, 2020

Chief Executive Officer
New Orleans City Park
New Orleans, LA
Salary: Negotiable
Closing date: Feb 17, 2020

Director of Marketing & Public Engagement
Five Rivers MetroParks
Dayton, OH
Salary: $72,966 - $91,228 Annually
Closing Date: Open until filled

For more information:

2020 Award Nominations are Open

Nominations are now being accepted for the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO) 2020 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.

The presentation of awards will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday, May 18, during the Special Park District Forum.

Nominations are being accepted through February 21, 2020.

For more information:

Welcome New Members

Jimmy Gisi, Director
Cobb County Parks
Marietta, Georgia

Mario Henson, Services Division Manager
Cobb County Parks
Marietta, Georgia

Chris Bubenik, Planner
Buncombe County Recreation Services
Asheville, North Carolina

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.

Research and Resources

‘IKEA, but for Parks’ Project Streamlines Community Green Space Development
Courtesy of Next City

By Hannah Chinn

PENNSYLVANIA - “The idea grew out of frustration on my part,” Kim Douglas, director of Thomas Jefferson University’s landscape architecture program in Philadelphia, says, “because people say they want green space. They want places to meet their neighbors, drink coffee, play chess. [But] we could not get parks built, either because the city wouldn’t sign off on the lot, or because we didn’t have any money, or the community outreach is difficult to do… and I thought there had to be a better way to get these things done.”

Douglas wanted a quicker, simpler, more cost-effective way to build an urban park. So she and colleague Drew Harris, a professor of public health at Jefferson, began to brainstorm.

Approximately 40,000 vacant lots are scattered across the city of Philadelphia; averaged out, that’s more than 280 lots per square mile. Douglas and Harris reasoned: Why not use some of those lots? “That’s 40,000 opportunities for us to create new [green] spaces.”

In June 2018, Harris and Douglas published an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer detailing their findings. Within weeks, they’d received an avalanche of responses: City agencies, neighborhood organizations, real estate developers, and potential funders reached out with location suggestions and offers of support. In months, the two had developed Park in a Truck.

Read more:


Half of the US Population Does Not Participate In Outdoor Recreation At All
Courtesy of the Outdoor Industry Association

Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), released the latest Outdoor Participation Report, showing about half the U.S. population participated in outdoor recreation at least once in 2018, including hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing among many more outdoor activities. Unfortunately, the report highlights an alarming trend that just under half the U.S. population does not participate in outdoor recreation at all.

Here are some highlights:

- Less than 20 percent of Americans recreated outside at least once a week.
- Americans went on one billion fewer outdoor outings in 2018 than they did in 2008.
- Of the people who report they go outside, 63 percent report they go outside within 10 miles of their home.
- Kids went on 15 percent fewer annual outings in 2018 than they did in 2012.

For more information:


Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Case Studies and Recommendations
Courtesy of the City Park Alliance

Historic disinvestment has left many low-income urban communities without access to quality parks and recreation opportunities and with parks in need of significant upgrades. As cities look to address these challenges with limited resources, some are establishing data-driven equity criteria to guide park investment.

This new report from City Parks Alliance, Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Case Studies & Recommendations, highlights seven municipalities that are leading the way on equitable distribution of funding.

The report highlights recommendations and case studies from Detroit, MI; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; San Francisco, CA; Philadelphia, PA; and LA County, CA with longer case studies and supporting material on our website. This work is made possible with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For more information:


Augmenting Trails and Pathways to Encourage Active Communities
Courtesy of PlayCore

Communities looking to energize a space, but without room to do, so are turning to existing pathway and trail networks to create active living opportunities for families! There linear spaces provide ample opportunities for walking and running, and by adding a few interesting stops along the way, communities can increase usage, healthy behavior, and community capital.

The guidebook Pathways for Play is designed to help communities identify best locations for, and integrate playful interaction in walkable, bikeable, shared use community pathway networks. The term pathway covers all forms of network infrastructure, including greenways, trails and sidewalks that are used by pedestrians and cyclists to move around urban/suburban neighborhoods and mixed-use developments. Truly meaningful pathways delight users of all ages, and are intergenerational hubs to encourage movement and active living. Here are just a few ways to augment pathways.

Read more:


Playground Maintenance and Inspection: Natural Play Areas
Courtesy of PlayCore

Providing natural play areas for children is gaining popularity. Childcare centers, schools, and parks are recognizing the need for children to interact with the natural world. A comprehensive program of playground safety will also include inspection and management of natural play areas.

For the purposes of this blog, "Nature Play" is an environment that allows children to engage in unstructured play with natural materials in a natural setting. There are two distinct types of natural settings: undeveloped areas and man-made areas.

Read more:


Local Funding for Coastal Projects: An Overview of Practices, Policies, and Considerations
Courtesy of ASBPA

The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) has published a white paper explaining ways communities can fund coastal management projects.

This paper will aid local officials in identifying revenue options as well as potential cost-savings, partnerships, and finance instruments to leverage existing funds.

For more information:


Community Needs Assessments Resource
Courtesy of NRPA

Community needs assessments are surveys — their results can give you a sense of how your community currently engages with your agency, provide data on residents’ satisfaction with park and recreation agency offerings and identify community needs and priorities. This combination of a satisfaction survey plus a laying-out of priorities makes needs assessments uniquely powerful feedback mechanisms.

Needs assessments can be daunting undertakings — especially for park and recreation agencies that have limited resources. The NRPA Community Needs Assessment Resource will guide you through the entire community needs assessment lifecycle — from deciding on clear goals to eliciting a high response rate from your community. Most importantly, it will show you how to use the survey data to strengthen your agency in both the short- and long-term.

For more information:


FL, TX & CA Account for 41% of Cyclist Fatalities
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

Smart Cities Dive reported Florida, Texas and California are home to 13 of the 20 most dangerous US cities for cyclists, according to a new analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. Collectively, the three states accounted for 41% of all cyclist fatalities in the U.S. between 2014 and 2017. The analysis found that cyclist deaths increased 25% between 2010 and 2017, with 783 cyclist fatalities nationwide in 2017 alone. According to a NHTSA report released in October, the number of cyclist fatalities rose to 857 in 2018. Cities with above-average rates of cyclist fatalities per number of residents and communities were clustered in the Southeast, which also tended to have below-average rates of overall bike commuters.

Read more:


Florida Bill Proposes More Access for E-Bikes W/ Local Opt Out
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

Government Technology reported fast electric bicycles and e-bikes that propel without pedaling would be allowed the same access to sidewalks and bike paths as traditional bicycles and pedal-assist electric versions under a proposed new Florida law. (SB 1148: Electric Bicycles: But cities and counties would have the right to prohibit the fast and no-pedal versions from shared rights-of-way if deemed too dangerous to pedestrians, joggers and traditional bicyclists. Current Florida law considers electric bicycles as no different than traditional bicycles as long as they require riders to pedal them before the electric motor kicks in to help propel the bike. Also, to be regulated the same as a bicycle, the electric motor must stop operating when the bicycle achieves a speed of 20 mph.

Read more:

In the News

Weeding through the Thorny Debate on Glyphosate
Courtesy of NRPA

By Richard J. Dolesh

A year or so ago, few people in the field of parks and recreation had ever heard the word “glyphosate,” much less knew that it is the active ingredient in the most widely used, non-selective herbicide in the world- Roundup. Litigation, media attention and growing concerns for human safety have changed all that.

Until a very short time ago, most park agencies considered Roundup an effective, benign and even safe herbicide. That belief is changing rapidly in light of new evidence that GBHs may be unsafe for humans and may cause cancer.

The link to human health and cancer may not be conclusive, but California juries ruled in 2019 that Roundup did contribute to developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and awarded one couple $2 billion in damages. At this writing, there are more than 18,000 lawsuits filed against chemical giant Bayer, which bought Monsanto, the original developer of this herbicide.

These verdicts and publicity about glyphosate have awakened public concern about the safety of this widely used herbicide. More than 50 U.S. cities and individual park systems now have banned or restricted the use of herbicides containing glyphosate. It is likely that many other cities and counties will enact new bans in the coming year.

Read more:


How Dog Parks Took Over the Urban Landscape
Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

Alissa Greenberg writes about the origins of the dog park, a phenomenon that started in Berkeley, California, in the 1970s, as municipalities started implementing stricter leash laws. In 1979, activists from People’s Park took over an empty lot in Berkeley that had been cleared for subway construction.

"[Tom Nigman] was happy to see that, along with the demonstrations and bail fund drives for arrested protesters common at People’s Park, the new space was frequently full of dogs playing and socializing—especially during a period when they were increasingly hemmed in," says Greenberg.

The area eventually became the Ohlone Dog Park, and resident Doris Richards led much of the effort to circulate petitions in support of the dog park, organize residents, and deal with disputes around zoning and noise pollution. As interest in dog parks spread across the country and the world, Richards became an important source of information and guidance for communities wanting to establish their own pet playgrounds.

Greenberg also delves into the impact dog parks have had on the urban landscape and development, particularly in terms of gentrification, and the shift in the role of dogs in everyday life over recent decades.

"In envisioning and creating public space for dogs, [Julie] Urbanik adds, dog park proponents and designers are building on this private idea of a more-than-human family to envision a new kind of public city. A family with children believes they deserve a playground; a family with dogs believes the same," notes Greenberg.

Read more:


Developing a More Diverse Generation of Park Stewards
Courtesy of NRPA

By Hannah Traverse

Jasmine Poole had never considered a career in conservation. That all changed after she served in Limitless Vistas, a conservation corps in her native New Orleans, Louisiana. “My service made me realize everything and everyone has an impact on the earth, no matter how small or big,” says Poole. “I gained practical knowledge and developed skills that will benefit me throughout my life.”

In 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a federal jobs program that engaged 3 million unemployed young men in building America’s park infrastructure. The “CCC Boys” planted billions of trees, built campsites and constructed thousands of miles of trails.

Though the CCC disbanded at the start of World War II, the spirit of the program continues in modern service and conservation corps, like Limitless Vistas in New Orleans. In addition to developing park infrastructure, today’s corps intentionally focus on developing a new generation of conservation professionals in hardworking young people like Poole.

Read more:


White House Finalizes "Waters of the U.S." rule, removing protections for wetlands and streams
Courtesy of the Politico

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final definition of the "Waters of the U.S."(WOTUS), replacing the Obama administration's 2015 Clean Water Rule.

The final rule, named the "Navigable Waters Protection Rule," is largely similar to the proposed rule that the EPA released last year. The rule removes protections for ephemeral streams that are streams that are often dry. These streams account for more than 18% of waterways in the U.S., which are more commonly found in the arid parts of the country. The new regulation will also remove protections for wetlands that do not have surface connections to intermittent or perennial streams. More than half of the country's wetlands - 51% - fall into this category.

Read more:

News from NRPA

2020 NRPA Award Applications due March 27

NRPA now is accepting applications for the Innovation Awards, Spotlight Awards, scholarships, fellowships as well as the National Gold Medal Award Program.

For more information:

News from NACo

2020 NACo Achievement Awards

We encourage all counties, parishes and boroughs to submit noteworthy programs for Achievement Awards today. It's time to showcase your county's most innovative efforts!

A non-competitive program, the NACo Achievement Awards recognize outstanding county government programs and services in 18 categories covering a vast range of county responsibilities.

By participating, your county can earn national recognition. The "Best of Category" winners will be recognized on stage at the 2020 NACo Annual Conference in Orange County/Orlando, Fla., and all winners will be recognized in the program book and at

Early Bird Application Deadline: March 9th (Save $25 off your application fee)

Final Application Deadline: March 30th

For more information:


Webinar: How Are You Going to Kill Weeds in Parks Without Glyphosate?
Courtesy of NRPA

DATE: Thursday, February 13
TIME: 2 p.m. EST
COST: Free for Premier Members, $35 for all other members, $50 for non-members

Glyphosate is the primary weed-killing ingredient in the most widely used, non-selective herbicide in the world. It is the go-to herbicide for many park and recreation professionals, yet dozens — and perhaps soon, hundreds — of park agencies, cities and counties may ban its use due to human health and environmental concerns. Join us for a webinar as we tackle the tough questions about glyphosate, and what alternatives there are if you can no longer use it. If your agency presently uses Roundup or glyphosate-based herbicides, you will not want to miss this webinar.

For more information:


Walk/Bike/Places Early registration now open

Indianapolis - August 4-7, 2020

The premier conference in North America for walking, bicycling, and placemaking professionals from the public and private sectors.

Held every two years, Walk/Bike/Places is a unique conference experience that combines experiential learning from walking and biking the streets of the host city, and learning from its most vibrant places, with nearly 100 expert-led breakout sessions and locally-led workshops. The conference is produced by Project for Public Spaces.

2020's event will take place in downtown Indianapolis at the Indiana Convention Center, and the conference program will be available in late spring 2020.

For more information:

NACPRO | PO Box 74, Marienville, PA 16239 | (814) 927-8212