April 14, 2020

In This Issue...

Best Practices Forum
Welcome New Member
A Word from our Sponsors
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 April 28, 2020.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by April 27.

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

NACPRO's Sponsors

Pilot Rock logo

oncell logo


Job Announcements

Park Ranger
Ingham County
Lansing, MI
Salary: $40,629-$50,646 Annually
Closing Date: May 15, 2020

Director- Quality of Life
City of Panama City, FL
Salary: $82,907.41 Annually
Closing Date: May 4, 2020

Director of Parks & Recreation
Hamilton County
Noblesville, IN
Salary: $44.82 Hourly
Closing Date: Apr 23, 2020

For more information:

2020 NACPRO Awards Program - Update

NACPRO will be holding our annual awards ceremony on Sunday, October 25 during the NRPA Conference in Orlando, Florida. More information will be available soon.

The Awards Committee is wrapping up their evaluation of the 99 nominations we received this year. Watch your email inbox next week for an email on the outcome of your nominations.

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.

Welcome New Member

Kyle Thornton, Parks and Green Space Coordinator
Clinton County, Michigan

A Word from our Sponsors

Welcome New NACPRO Sponsor - BeachTech

BeachTech means increased recreational value for your guests. For satisfied tourists who look back on their holiday with pleasure and cherish the memories of their days on the beach. Because we are dedicated to this task: Cleaner beaches and satisfied guests through cost-effectiveness and efficiency in beach cleaning.

Cigarette butts, pieces of glass, plastic bottles, flotsam or seaweed – thanks to the patented BeachTech raking, screening and combined cleaning technology, nothing is left behind. The raking technology means that damp sand can be cleaned to the optimum and dry sand can be processed with high speed.

For more information:

Research and Resources

Trail Use up Nearly 200% Since COVID-19
Courtesy of the Rails to Trails Conservancy

By Amy Kapp

Trails and outdoor spaces are seeing major spikes in usage across the country, as individuals and families look to these assets for daily physical activity and mental respite in the wake of COVID-19. As America’s business, social and cultural hubs shutter their doors to weather the coronavirus pandemic, many public health experts have discussed the importance of being active in the outdoors—as long as we maintain a safe social distance.

Dramatic increases in visitation are being recorded across the United States; an analysis of 31 trail counters for the week of March 16–22 by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) found a nationwide trail usage increase of nearly 200% from that same week in 2019. This surge in trail use is forcing trail managers to take fast action to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among their constituents while encouraging careful and conscientious trail use.

Read more:


National Park Service Working To Envision The 21st Century Campground
Courtesy of the National Parks Traveler

[Editor’s note: If you participated in the “NACPRO Survey on Campgrounds” last November, your responses helped inform the report referenced in this article.]

By Kurt Repanshek

Certainly, it can quickly be said that some campgrounds need to be reconfigured to provide for more space between individual sites. Privacy is a good thing to have. Restrooms with hot-and-cold running water are nice, as are those campgrounds that offer sink basins where you can clean your dishes. But is WiFi needed? Should every campground offer a camp store? Would it be nice to have cabins for rent for those who don't like to sleep on the ground, or pull-through sites that will accommodate a 40-foot Class A motorhome towing a Jeep? Are bigger sites needed, to accommodate larger or extended families?

These are some of the questions the National Park Service is digging into with the help of outside consultants that took an inventory of NPS campgrounds, looked at the groups that are using them, and tried to list the demands today’s campers want. The consultants -- CBRE and CHM Government Services -- came away with one big positive: "Overall, the camping industry is strong. Long-term demand appears robust, and growth is driven primarily through the increase in annual camping households and their higher frequency to camp."

The Park Service plans to move forward with evolving its campgrounds by turning to six parks -- Big Bend, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Olympic National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area -- to develop pilot projects for campground designs.

Read more:


CDC Releases Guidance for Parks and Recreation
Courtesy of NRPA

This weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance specific to parks and recreation that includes information about restrooms, sports courts, pools and more. It also offers recommendations for park visitors and suggests that park and recreation administrators post signage about using facilities safely at this time. The CDC's guidance is in alignment with the information NRPA has been sharing and provides some additional recommendations.

For more information:


Aquatic Audit - Are your facilities keeping up with residents' needs and expectations?
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Becky Rader

Aquatic activities are a key component of a park programming playbook. Today, there is emphasized recognition of the need for developing a healthy lifestyle with exercise as a necessity. Swimming provides exercise that is low impact and can be continued throughout a person’s life. In the news recently, a woman in her 90s was still competing in senior-swimming competitions. Parks can provide part of that lifelong experience through aquatic programming.

A first step is to inventory pools and aquatic centers to determine what types of facilities are needed to pair them with appropriate programming. Questions to ask regarding facilities are the following:

- When were the facilities constructed?
- What are the maintenance expenses to keep them functioning?
- Do the fees for tickets/passes each season pay enough of a percentage to maintain and keep the pools functioning properly?
- Do the current pools meet the needs of the residents?
- How much has the residential population increased or decreased since a given pool was built?
- Is recreation, such as a lazy river or children’s shallow-entry play area, a higher priority than a standard lap pool, or are they equally important?

Read more:


Going To The Ballot
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Paul Hanley

With construction costs continuing to increase and borrowing costs near historic lows, more and more park and recreation districts are returning to the ballot in search of voter-approved funding. Many of these measures are focused on addressing deferred maintenance, while others include new trails, parks, and recreation facilities.

Some tax-related referenda have been extremely successful, while others have not been remotely close to getting across the finish line. Any idea why certain park and recreation districts are so effective in building public support for a new tax? Here’s a hint—districts that win at the polls understand the funding proposal on the ballot needs to be derived from the community’s planning efforts.

If a plan is developed solely from a district’s or board’s input, the chances of success dramatically decrease. Therefore, efforts need to be made to engage as many stakeholders as possible throughout the planning process. This includes going “beyond your base” to engage all local taxpayers--including those who might be opposed to additional taxes—during the development of a master plan and throughout a pre-referendum program.

Read more:


Igniting Research for Outdoor Recreation: Linking Science, Policy, and Action
Courtesy of SORP

Public lands provide opportunities and settings for people to experience nature and the outdoors. These outdoor experiences are important for human health and well-being and result in visitor spending that benefits local communities. This report shows that new research, tools, and frameworks are needed to help us find new ways to conceptualize outdoor recreation and enhance the ability of public land managers to provide outdoor experiences while protecting natural and cultural resources.

The report originated from a set of 17 working papers that were developed as part of an initiative among researchers, managers, and policymakers to “ignite the science of outdoor recreation.” These papers were presented at a 2018 science workshop in Golden, Colorado, that convened 88 outdoor recreation professionals to explore high-priority issues, information needs, and research directions. Their intent was to stimulate further questions, catalyze new thinking about recreation, and prompt institutional changes in how outdoor recreation and tourism are planned and managed on public lands.

Read more:


A Case Study: Senior Services Strategic Plan for the City of Ventura, California
Courtesy of GreenPlay

By John Rainey and Teresa Penbrooke, PhD, MAOM, CPRE

In 2019, GreenPlay developed a Senior Services Strategic Plan for the City of Ventura to assess how well services and programs are meeting the needs of seniors within their service area and develop strategies for filling identified gaps. Beyond the usual processes of a strategic plan, GreenPlay employed several unique approaches to evaluating how Quality of Life factors are provided, including psychological, social, and physical functions. The plan involved input from many seniors and those who work with them, which resulted in specific goals and recommendations.

The plan’s findings suggested addressing this more like a marketing issue of how people find and register for things. A recommendation was made for combining offerings on the website (and their catalog) in the same place under a Senior Services Section. They can communicate all of the services in one section including support services like housing, transportation, active and passive activities, and all of the services that they offer to meet the social, cognitive and physical needs of their older adult population. It’s really looking at the reach, how you get those active older adults who are looking for options. This age group is really 50+, so they’re trying to serve basically four decades of people with very different needs. You may have a 75 year old who is incredibly active, and you may have a 55 year old that is needing all kinds of support services.

Read more:


Partners in Recreation How Parks and Recreation Agencies are Partnering with Libraries to Enhance Service Delivery
Courtesy of GreenPlay

By Alaina Brandenburger

As technology increasingly permeates every area of our lives, some have speculated that print media, which includes books, may be dying. However, libraries are stronger than ever, as many of them have begun offering programs and services other than loaning books, videos and other media to the public. While public libraries partnering with recreation agencies to offer programs to the community is not a new concept, it has been gaining traction in the past decade. As reported in GreenPlay’s May 2019 newsletter in an article by Noah Lenstra, PhD, more communities throughout the United States are beginning to see shared facilities and programs with libraries and recreation. Certain factors might make a partnership more beneficial, including the following considerations.

Read more:

In the News

A Park Planner’s Perspective on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Courtesy of NRPA

By Clement Lau

CALIFORNIA - On November 18, 2019, the brand new Woodcrest Play Park opened to the public. This innovative project involved the transformation of previously underutilized space at Woodcrest Library to a vibrant public park, and is the result of a collaboration between the Los Angeles County Library and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

Sadly, just a few months after its opening, the park would be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While its closure is necessary as a precautionary measure, it is still disheartening to know that the park and those wonderful amenities are not accessible to residents who need them the most, even if it is on a temporary basis.

We all need parks. Not only was this the tag line for the Parks Needs Assessment, but it is also a statement that has been validated repeatedly during the COVID-19 pandemic. With privately operated destinations like shopping centers, movie theaters and theme parks closed, people naturally started turning to the public spaces that remained open. At a time of need, our parks, beaches and trails revealed themselves as the essential civic infrastructure they are.

It is very unfortunate that it took a pandemic for many to realize what park and recreation professionals have known and argued for a long time: we must invest in parks because they are critical to our quality of life and offer multiple vital benefits that are quantifiable. For example, the physical and mental health benefits that parks provide are well-documented in numerous studies (see these fact sheets). Here in Los Angeles County, thanks to our Department of Public Health, we even have a report that specifically addresses how parks promote public health and support and supplement the Parks Needs Assessment.

Read more:


Portland parks will deploy ‘park greeters’ to educate visitors about social distancing, closures
Courtesy of Oregon Live

By Jamie Hale

OREGON - Following reports of large crowds at local parks over the weekend, the Portland Parks and Recreation department has announced it will deploy “park greeters” to help enforce social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“Park greeters will educate the public about how to use their parks system safely and to explain what facilities are open or closed,” while maintaining proper social distance themselves, Portland park officials said in a news release.

Read more:


Chicago, IL Closes Parks & Trails Indefinitely
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

Streetsblog Chicago expressed its disappointment when the Chicago, IL Mayor announced that all lakefront parks, the Lakefront Trail, The 606 elevated greenway, and the Chicago Riverwalk will be indefinitely closed as a safety measure during the IL "Stay at Home" order. Police will be issuing warnings and tickets to people who ignore the closures, making arrests if deemed necessary. Posting signs about the Stay at Home social distancing guidelines would help people use trails and parks safely. Banning their use disproportionately harms communities of color, where residents already have few options to safely go for a walk or ride a bike. Rather than reducing opportunities for walking and biking, the city should be temporarily opening up streets for car-free recreation, which would provide more space for social distancing.

Read more:


'Not fair.’ Coronavirus stops cars at parks but most in Mecklenburg can’t walk there
Courtesy of the Charlotte Observer

By Rick Bonnell and Alison Kuznitz

NORTH CAROLINA - Mecklenburg County’s latest restrictions for its parks during the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated problems of access to a system that’s long lagged in amenities compared to other major metro areas.

Park gates were ordered closed to cars Tuesday, with access limited to pedestrians and cyclists. Only 36% of county residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, according to an analysis from the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit organization.

That means the latest measure to disperse crowds and enforce the stay-at-home order during the pandemic could potentially hinder two-thirds of Mecklenburg residents from enjoying those public spaces.

Read more:


COTREX App: discover local trails and closures
Courtesy of Colorado Outdoors

By Bridget Kochel

COLORADO - Colorado Parks and Wildlife has launched a new trail closure tracking feature on the Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX) app to enhance the outdoor recreation planning experience for our community. With help from our local, state, and federal partners COTREX is now monitoring trail-related COVID-19 closures across Colorado on a daily basis. For the first time, closures and alerts are now visually represented with symbols on the COTREX map when viewing details about a trail, trailhead or visitor center.

CPW understands how important outdoor recreation is to your physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, staying close to home and limiting travel for recreation is essential to prevent the spread of the virus in our state. At this time, we encourage all Coloradans to stay close to your home and use local trails and parks for outdoor recreation. Limiting travel for recreation helps minimize the strain of visitors on small mountain communities and creates less burden for our search and rescue and emergency responders.

Read more:

News from NRPA

NRPA Parks Snapshot

The NRPA Parks Snapshot provides the latest data on how park and recreation leaders from across the country are confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope you find this information helpful as you make decisions at your agency during this uncertain time, while continuing to follow the guidance provided by your local and state governments and health officials, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We will continue to provide weekly data from the NRPA Parks Snapshot survey, as state and local guidance and ordinances regarding COVID-19 are changing rapidly.

What’s Open/What’s Closed

Most park and recreation agencies continue to keep open all of their trails (90 percent), parks (local parks: 75 percent; regional parks: 67 percent) and community gardens (64 percent).

Most agencies have closed all of their:

- Playgrounds (95 percent)
- Permanent restrooms (77 percent)
- Beaches (75 percent)
- Skateparks (73 percent)
- Golf courses (63 percent)
- Temporary restrooms (57 percent)
- Outdoor sports fields and courts (54 percent)
- Dog parks (54 percent)

Read more:


2020 National Coastal Conference - Call for abstracts on beach O&M
Courtesy of the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association

October 13-16, 2020 - Long Beach, California

This year, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association’s (ASBPA) annual National Coastal Conference will again expand beyond the traditional science and policy topics and will include a dedicated track on operations and maintenance (O&M). We are soliciting abstracts and presentation proposals related to O&M of beaches. Abstracts for presentations will be accepted online through May 1, 2020.

For more information:


Webinar: Considerations for Selecting Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Locations
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

DATE: April 22, 2020
TIME: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
COST: Free
ORGANIZATION: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) 

The pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB) is one of several countermeasures available to improve safety for pedestrians or bicyclists crossing busy and/or wide streets at uncontrolled crossing locations. While agencies have been using this countermeasure for over a decade, transportation professionals still have questions about when and where they should install PHBs. Webinar panelists will share new research that evaluated safety and driver yielding at PHB locations on higher speed roads (among other findings) and discuss how this research and other factors have influenced their guidelines for installing PHBs.

Panelists include: Bill Stone (Arizona Department of Transportation), Mike Cynecki (Lee Engineering), and Mailén Pankiewicz (City of Phoenix).

This webinar is supported by FHWA's Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program which promotes proven, cost-effective countermeasures to improve pedestrian safety.

For more information:


Upcoming Webinars from PlayCore
Courtesy of PlayCore

We understand this is a difficult time to stay on top of educational opportunities, so we wanted to make it easy as possible. New this year, the Center for Outreach, Research & Education (CORE) is offering on-demand webinars in addition to our regular live webinars. With a variety of topics, there are learning opportunities for all.

We invite you to participate in one of these great complimentary events, and don't forget to complete the assessment to earn your CEU!

Natural harmony - An instrumental guide to blending music and community
Prerecorded webinar available from Monday, April 13 at 8:00 am to Friday, April 17 at 11:59 pm EDT

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs
Thursday, April 16; 2:00 - 3:15 pm EDT
Live webinar

Strong Foundations®: Planning, Purchasing, and Protecting Play and Recreational Surfacing
Prerecorded webinar available from Monday, April 20, 2020, 8:00 am to Friday, April 24, 2020 at 11:30 pm

Unleashed®: Off-Leash Dog Park Design Trends and Planning Tips
Prerecorded webinar available from Monday, April 27, 2020, 8:00 am to Friday, May 1, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT

Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks: Best Practices for Promoting Community Health by Increasing Physical Activity
Prerecorded webinar available from Monday, May 4, 2020, 8:00 am to Friday, May 8, 2020 at 11:30 pm

Bike Parking Standards & Installation
Thursday, May 21, 2:00 - 3:15 pm EDT
Live Webinar

Register here:

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