June 23, 2020

In This Issue...

Best Practices Forum
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 July 7, 2020.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by July 6.

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

NACPRO's Sponsors

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Job Announcements

Director of Community Services / Parks & Recreation
City of Carson, California
Salary: $137,176 - $175,073/year
Closing Date: July 6, 2020

Got a vacancy to fill? NACPRO will post your vacancy on our website and email a copy to our mailing list of over 1100 parks and recreation professionals for a fee of $100 for NACPRO members and $200 for non-members. NACPRO membership is $90/person.

For more information:

2020 NACPRO Awards Program - Update

We have just about completed our award presentation video to share with our 2020 awardees and members. Congratulatory letters and awards should be shipping within the next 3-4 weeks. We will be in touch before then with a more definitive date.

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.

Member News

Parks and Recreation Director Receives National Award
Courtesy of Chesterfield County

Dr. James Worsley, Director of Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation, was recently selected to receive the National Distinguished Professional Award by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The award will be presented during the 2020 NRPA Virtual Annual Conference in October.

The National Distinguished Professional Award is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field through their leadership, research, advocacy, community outreach and program development.

Read more:


Metroparks will propose a 2-mill tax increase to voters this fall
Courtesy of the Toledo Blade

By Tom Henry

OHIO - Saying it is time to begin the next chapter of its agency and that of the greater Toledo area, Metroparks Toledo officials announced Wednesday they intend to place a 2-mill levy on the November ballot to help raise money for future operations and greater expansion of services.

Board President Scott Savage and Executive Director Dave Zenk said during the board’s monthly meeting that discussion began about a year ago, but intensified after seeing the need for park services during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the park district’s recent emphasis on the Maumee River waterfront is no coincidence. Cities such as Columbus, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Grand Rapids, Mich., and Boise, Idaho, have stabilized their economies by improving recreational access to downtown waterfronts.

Read more:

Research and Resources

Historical Perspective on Racism in the Outdoors and Looking Forward
Courtesy of American Trails

One question we have repeatedly seen asked when discussing topics of inclusion is why we even need to have this conversation. Some, when hearing that Black people have been traditionally excluded, and are often still excluded, from outdoor recreation have a knee jerk reaction of saying, "The outdoors are open for all, why are we even talking about this, everyone can go to a trail!" To answer this question fully, assuming it's being asked in earnest and those asking really do have a willingness to learn, we have to look at history.

Up until very recently in our country the majority of African Americans were not allowed to access National Parks, local parks, pools, campgrounds, beaches, trails, or many other places the same way white Americans have always been able to.

One startling example of how this history plays out is with statistics on swimming and drowning. Black children are 3 - 5 times more likely to drown than white children, and nearly 70% of Black children self-reported that they have either no ability or very limited ability to swim. Many municipal pools, public beaches, and other curated swimming experiences, especially in the south, were closed to Black people, full stop.

Read more:


Huron-Clinton Metroparks approve diversity, equity, inclusion plan
Courtesy of the Royal Oak Daily Tribune

By Anne Runkle 

MICHIGAN - The Huron-Clinton Metroparks are taking steps to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in its parks.

"The Metroparks recognizes that our parks sit on lands that were home to the Algonquin, Chippewa, Fox or Meskwaki, Kickapoo, Ojibwa, Potawatomi, Sac or Sauk, and Wyandot Nations. We embrace the First Nations’ traditions of environmental stewardship as a critical part of the Metroparks mission,” the parks authority said in a statement.

“While we are proud of the diversity of backgrounds, experiences and skills of our entire Metroparks family, we are also aware that we are not as representative of our service region as we should be.”

Read more:


River Access Planning Guide
Courtesy of the River Management Society

The River Access Planning Guide is a document that provides a step-by-step process to planning for river access with recreation users in mind. The planning guide intends to serve as a resource for planners, river managers, and users as they approach site selection and design to establish new river access or improve existing access. 

The development of the River Access Planning Guide is a result of partnership between numerous nonprofit organizations and agencies. Contributors include the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service, American Whitewater and River Management Society. 

Download here:


Free To Roam
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Jamie Heinzerling and Amy Stahl 

IDAHO - A new pilot program in seven Boise, Idaho, parks gives dogs room to roam off-leash during designated morning and evening hours. 

The one-year pilot project was launched in April 2011 after an extensive public-awareness campaign that included direct-mail postcards sent to 12,749 neighbors of eight park sites, eight public meetings, and an online survey. Comments also were submitted via phone and e-mail. An astonishing 3,400 people responded to the online survey. 

While there have been strong opinions on both sides of the issue, data gathered in a citywide survey showed that citizens were keenly interested in seeing more recreational opportunities for dogs. 

Read more:


Designing Dog Parks
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Mary Helen Sprecher

Dog parks--while nowhere near as ubiquitous as ball fields, picnic tables or tennis courts--are starting to become part of the American park landscape. Particularly in urban areas where dog owners are unlikely to have adequate residential space for their pets to run, the dog park serves as a community’s backyard. 

Read more:


Benefits of Music on Communities
Courtesy of PlayCore

Music engages the senses, ignites creativity and imagination, and spurs meaningful interactions between users. Outdoor music environments uniquely bring together diverse user groups to spontaneously interact, socialize, collaborate, create, and learn from each other. Music can lure people of all ages and cultures—children and youth, adults, seniors, families, community groups, learning communities, and the like. People of all ages and abilities can play together effortlessly. Well-designed outdoor musical instruments have complementary scales to encourage creative exploration and offer interesting tactile play. 

Read more:


Visitor Planning - CHMGS Launches NPS and State Park Opening Status Maps
Courtesy of CHM Government Services

As public agencies work to re-open and manage potential future re-closures due to spikes in COVID-19 infections, public agency managers need to understand how visitors think about and plan for trips. 

When visitors are ready to travel, they want clear, concise, and easily available information about what is open, how to book, and what on-site conditions will be. Currently, many state and federal web sites are not providing clear, concise information in a central location. 

For more information:


New online graduate degree to prepare professionals for outdoor recreation economy
Courtesy of SORP

COLORADO - A new, one-of-a-kind online professional graduate program launching in 2021 at CU Boulder taps into a key strength and economic growth area in Colorado: human desire to be in the great outdoors.

The Masters of Science in Outdoor Recreation Economy (MORE) was approved June 18, 2020 by the CU Board of Regents and is pending approval by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

For more information:


COVID-19 Legislative State and Federal Reports 
Courtesy of PolicyEngage

The reports below include all state and federal bills and resolutions referencing COVID-19, coronavirus, or pandemic, as of June 22, 2020.

Cumulative State Legislative Report

Cumulative Adjourned State Legislation Report

Cumulative Federal Legislative Report

Major Enacted State and Federal Legislative Action Center

In the News

Outdoor Rec Just Got Its Own Stimulus Bill
Courtesy of Outside Online

By Frederick Reimers

On June 17th the Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act, allocating billions to support outdoor recreation in two separate ways. The first is by providing $9.5 billion over the next five years to help federal land-management agencies address their maintenance backlogs. Federal public lands are suffering from $20 billion in deferred maintenance costs. The second is to mandate that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), widely considered the nation’s single best funding tool for outdoor recreation, be permanently financed to its maximum allotment of $900 million annually. In March the president called for such a bill to land on his desk.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced their version of the legislation in the House of Representatives on June 4, and passage of that version is expected in the coming weeks, clearing the way for the president to sign the bill into law.

Read more:


El Cajon Rec Squad Brings the Park to the People
Courtesy of Next City

By Cheryl Rodewig

CALIFORNIA - Parks can be one of a city’s richest resources, and nothing, not even a pandemic, should change that. At least, that’s how Frank Carson sees it. A lifelong nature enthusiast, Carson heads up the Parks and Recreation Department for El Cajon, California, a city of over 100,000 just east of San Diego.

But taking advantage of parks during COVID-19 isn’t easy. On March 12, the department canceled upcoming programs and events. The next week, they closed playgrounds. Grappling with the challenge of how parks could still serve citizens as they sheltered in place, Carson decided to experiment.

“We’re gonna do hopscotch,” he told his special events manager one Thursday evening shortly after events were canceled. The idea was to quickly — and safely, from a distance — sketch a numbered grid on residents’ driveways and drop off a bag of items the department already had on hand: extra sidewalk chalk, beach balls, crayons, construction paper. They spread the word via social media and designed maps to hit each home efficiently. Staff cruised the city, rolling through neighborhoods in a bright orange repurposed land survey van, decked out with the #RecSquad hashtag. Carson called it low budget and hyper-local.

Read more:


The Thoughtful Investment Our Cities’ Public Spaces Need
Courtesy of

By James J. Hardy, Deputy Mayor, Akron, Ohio

OHIO - There is bipartisan agreement among nearly every member of Congress that America's infrastructure is in dire need of attention. But while "infrastructure" usually invokes roads, rails and airports, we also need investment in a different kind of infrastructure: our communities' public spaces. These parks, trails and other open spaces that bring people together make up a crucial part of our cities' civic infrastructure. In a time of pandemic, economic disruption and growing rage over police brutality and systemic racism, public spaces are more important than ever.

The Akron Office of Integrated Development’s ability to work across silos, within government and with outside community partners is allowing us to achieve equitable economic and community development through the prioritization of public spaces as critical infrastructure. Through the Akron Civic Commons — a multi-sector collaborative that includes residents, local government, nonprofits, employers and the country parks district — we are learning how to rebuild and reconnect neighborhoods while generating civic trust by using public space as a foundation.

Read more:


From Jacksonville to Louisville, Confederate Statues Are Coming Down
Courtesy of Route 50

By Kate Elizabeth Queram

The removal of Confederate statues and monuments has been a topic of frequent debates across the South since at least 2015, when white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black churchgoers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. But the issue has gained urgency during protests of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, as demonstrators target them as symbols of slavery, white supremacy and segregation.

Defenders of the statues have argued that removing them is an attempt to alter history, often suggesting that instead governments should add plaques that provide more context.

But others feel the statues are simply celebrating racism—something that can’t be justified with a plaque. In Tennessee, where state lawmakers this week rejected a proposal to remove a bust of Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state capitol, state Rep. Antonio Parkinson, a black Democrat, said on Twitter that coming face to face with the statue every day is akin to working beside a monument to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Read more:


What the outdoor rec industry doesn’t get about the LGBTQ community
Courtesy of High Country News

By Mikah Meyer

“Nature doesn’t care if you’re gay,” I’ll often hear in reaction to articles by myself or my outdoorsy LGBTQ peers. And it’s true. Nature doesn’t care if I’m gay. But people do.

Two months ago, I finished a world-record journey to all 419 National Park Service sites. For three years nonstop, I lived in a van, hiked trails everywhere from American Samoa to the Arctic Circle, and accomplished an outdoors journey no human had ever done before. But comments about the trip have included things like, “Well now I need to be careful in the bathroom at national parks,” and “Why do you have to shove your lifestyle down our throats!” And a sponsor terminated our partnership halfway through the project, saying over the phone and in writing that I was doing too much LGBTQ outreach.

Yet, as the rest of America chases this “Pink Dollar,” the outdoor recreation industry seems less interested in the near $1 trillion purchasing power of the U.S. LGBTQ community. Or the shift in culture evidenced by the fact that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2019 “Pride Night” was their highest attended game in seven years. Or — as I can attest after seeing Tinder photos from every corner of the United States during my parks journey — the vast market of gay men hoping to look cute in athletic clothes on top of a mountain.

Read more:


RIP Summer Camp
Courtesy of the Atlantic

By Todd S. Purdum

MINNESOTA - Camp Mishawaka was founded in 1910 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and its motto is “Safety, health, happiness.” Last month, my younger brother, Steve Purdum, who has run the camp for three decades, made the pained and reluctant decision that, for the first time in 110 years—through two world wars, the 1918 flu, tuberculosis, and polio—there was no clear way to guarantee safety, health, or happiness for his usual complement of 300 campers this summer, and not just because a raucous chorus of “Three Jolly Fishermen” might spray droplets of a deadly pathogen into the clear Northwoods air.

Absent clear-cut directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in the face of a broad patchwork of approaches by state health departments from Maine to California, camp directors across the country are confronting the quandary my brother faced. The paradox: The need for camp has perhaps never been greater—and the practicability of it never more in doubt.

Read more:


Fixing the Outdoors Will Fix Our Economy
Courtesy of Outside Online

Access to our public lands is a shared right for all Americans. In this moment, after months of sheltering in place and being kept indoors, people across urban and rural areas are eager and excited to get outside and recreate responsibly. For the outdoor industry, millions of jobs depend on it.

Our industry was growing faster than the rest of the economy prior to the pandemic, generating $887 billion in consumer spending annually, as well as supporting 7.6 million jobs that can’t be outsourced or automated. With the right support for rural communities and fragile ecosystems, outdoor recreation can be an engine that helps restart our economy and puts people back to work. Thankfully, the protection of our public lands is something we can agree on—73 percent of voters in western states favor a national goal to protect 30 percent of America’s public lands and ocean areas by 2030.

We need swift action to make up the growing shortfall in revenue for local and state governments that maintain much of the nation’s outdoors. Congress can step in and provide funding to states and municipalities to prevent these disruptions and also to establish and expand parks, trails, and other outdoor recreation amenities—in particular for underserved and under-resourced areas that have been long neglected and now disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Read more:


Five Borough Bikeway Plan Released
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

NEW YORK - The Regional Plan Association (RPA) released a plan for a Five Borough Bikeway this week, calling for a revolution in the management and use of streets in the city of New York.

As work and travel restrictions are gradually lifted, NYC’s infrastructure will need to handle growing numbers of travelers in ways that ensure more space per person. There is also a wide consensus on the need for additional federal support for infrastructure spending to stimulate economic activity and development. One of the best ways to get NYC up and moving again quickly, and with peace of mind, would be through the proliferation of bike lanes that are laid out in this report.

The plan lays out a phased implementation plan, which would start with planters and bollards before laying the long-term cornerstones of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city. The entire Five Borough Bikeway would span 425 miles of continuous, protected bike infrastructure.

Read more:


Supreme Court upholds permit for $8 billion pipeline under Appalachian Trail
Courtesy of

By John Kruzel and Rebecca Beitsch

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a permit for a controversial $8 billion gas pipeline that would tunnel below the famed Appalachian Trail.

The 7-2 opinion handed a defeat to environmental groups who challenged the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), which would carry natural gas some 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina.

To avoid impacts to the trail, the pipeline will be installed hundreds of feet below the surface and emerge more than a half-mile from each side of the trail. There will be no construction activity on or near the trail itself, and the public will be able to continue enjoying the trail as they always have.

Read more:

News from NRPA

NRPA Parks Snapshot: June 10-12 Survey Results

By Kevin Roth

The NRPA Parks Snapshot provides the latest data on how park and recreation leaders from across the country are confronting the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (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).

In the two weeks since the previous Parks Snapshot, we have seen an increased number of park and recreation professionals opening more amenities to the public. This includes keeping open or opening all their trails (98 percent), parks (local parks: 92 percent; regional parks: 92 percent) and community gardens (89 percent).

While more and more amenities and facilities are beginning to open, the following park and recreation amenities have remained closed at most agencies:

- Senior centers (93 percent)
- Drinking fountains (63 percent)
- Indoor gyms (62 percent)
- Recreation centers (61 percent)
- Playgrounds (53 percent)

Read more:


Highlights from the Uphill Road to Financial Stability Series
Courtesy of GP RED

GP RED is proud to present a three part video series featuring highlights from a longer webinar with experts in the field on cost recovery, financial sustainability, resource allocation, and how parks and recreation agencies can adjust and move forward in an ever changing economy.

This new series, edited from a webinar hosted by Amilia and moderated by Liz McConomy, includes Chris Dropinski, CPRE, GreenPlay LLC, Lisa Paradis from Berry Dunn, Jamie Sabbach from 110%, Janet Bartnik, from Mountain Recreation District, and Stacie Anaya from the City of Lewisville, TX. They discuss how COVID-19 has financially impacted parks and recreation agencies, what public agencies may expect in the future, and strategies for moving forward.

Watch here:


Webinar: Public Playspaces - Guide to Open Safely and Equitably
Courtesy of NRPA

Date: June 24, 2020
Time: 1:00 to 2:15 pm EDT
Cost: Free

Join us for a free webinar as representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), KABOOM!, Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) and NRPA share critical information and guidance for park and recreation professionals responsible for reopening playspaces safely across the country. This webinar will provide ideas and resources for prioritizing equity, cleaning, establishing capacity limits, supporting physical distancing and educating parents and caregivers about safe use.

For more information:


Webinar: The Greenway Imperative: A Call to Action
Courtesy of American Trails

Date: June 25, 2020
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Cost: Free members/$39 non-members
Organization: American Trails

The Coronavirus pandemic has sharpened the focus on the delicate balance between humans and nature. The impact of the virus has heightened the role that greenways and conserved greenspace play in providing critically important outdoor space for human activity, while at the same time promoting public health, safety and well-being. This webinar, The Greenway Imperative: A Call to Action, will address these subjects in greater detail using case studies from Grand Forks, North Dakota, Charleston, South Carolina and other landscapes to illustrate lessons learned and actions that have been undertaken to make communities responsive, resilient and sustainable. This webinar will discuss the methods used to engage public discourse, determine the types of greenspace that need to be conserved, and present successful strategies that resulted in stewardship and conservation action. The speakers will reflect on the strategies that have worked and not worked, and how the lessons learned can be shared and replicated across the American landscape.

For more information:


Webinar: Sustainable Advantage - Outdoor Recreation and Rural Community Development in California
Courtesy of American Trails

Date: June 30, 2020
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET
Cost: Free
Organization: American Trails

Developing outdoor recreation projects promises tax revenue and job creation, among other benefits, for rural communities in California. However, community development dynamics run deeper than stand-alone initiatives. In addition, the political, social and economic dynamics of outdoor recreation are often not well understood within development professions, funding and regulatory agencies, or advocacy groups. The researchers conducted nearly 30 executive interviews to better understand these dynamics with state and local stakeholders in government, business, and nonprofit who work in rural communities on outdoor recreation and related issues in Northern California. The interviews sought to define outdoor recreation economies as well as discover the elements that influence community development, including local political context and culture, partnerships and initiatives, policy tools, and greater regional dynamics. The presenters will share a paper with session participants that summarizes the main findings and recommendations for further research, long-range strategy, and partnerships.

For more information:


Good News in Parks!
Courtesy of PlayCore

Starting July 9, 2020
1:00 to 2:15 pm EDT

To share the great work in Parks and Recreation agencies, join PlayCore and GameTime for Good News, a bi-monthly, interactive Zoom show where three leading park and recreation professionals will share best practices across relevant topics that inform their work and the resulting positive impacts on community well-being.

Hosts Jodie Adams, Parks Director Emeritus and past President NRPA Board of directors; and Anne-Marie Spencer, PlayCore VP of Marketing and Master Trainer will take guests on an informative journey with robust discussions, audience polls, and special recognition segments.

For more information:


2020 National Outdoor Recreation Conference moves to virtual format
Courtesy of SORP

It is truly with a heavy heart that the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals, in coordination with our 2020 NORC partners at Tennessee State Parks, have decided to cancel an in-person/on-site conference. This has been one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make as an organization. Although we tried hard, we saw that we could not offer the onsite experience you have come to expect, while still meeting appropriate safety guidelines. At this time, we can’t justify keeping our partners, participants, sponsors, and others in limbo, hoping these barriers will be solved by September.

We are working hard to transition much of the planned 2020 NORC presentations to a virtual conference experience later this fall. We’ll have more information about this in the coming month.

For more information:


Walk/Bike/Places 2020 Is Going Online

Our New York City based team and local Indianapolis partners have been working long and hard behind the scenes on our plans for Walk/Bike/Places 2020, so that we could bring you the best and safest event in response to the effects that COVID-19 has had on you and on us.

Today, we are pleased to share that Walk/Bike/Places 2020 will now be presented online. This change in format allows our current program to continue, despite the personal, professional, and financial uncertainties facing so many people that will continue in the months ahead.

For more information:

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