October 27, 2020

In This Issue...

Welcome New Members
Best Practices Forum
Member News
Research and Resources
In the News
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 November 10, 2020.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by November 9.

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

NACPRO's Sponsors

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Job Announcements

Executive Director
Centerville-Washington Park District
Centerville, Ohio
Salary: Depends on qualifications
Application Deadline: Nov 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:

Welcome New Members

Ms. Kristin Zimmerman, Parks Administrator
Mohave County Parks
Kingman, Arizona

Ms. Nicole Rissler, Director
Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources
Sarasota, Florida

Mr. A.D. Drew, Director
Turner County Parks & Recreation
Ashburn, Georgia

Ms. Mary Ellen Wuellner, Executive Director
Champaign County Forest Preserve District
Mahomet, Illinois

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

Metroparks Golf Skyrocketed in 2020, Seneca Overtook Big Met as Most Popular Course
Courtesy of

OHIO - By the end of September, more than 335,000 rounds of golf had been played at the eight golf courses operated by the Cleveland Metroparks in 2020. That's more rounds than in the full years of 2019, 2018, 2017 or 2016.

As one of few socially distant activities with low to moderate risk, golf has soared in popularity nationwide during the Coronavirus pandemic. The rebound is striking, as golf had been on a steady decline since the Great Recession. Courses closed and the industry clutched its pearls as young adults drowning in student loan debt weren't buying county club memberships or carving out regular budget line-items for golf.

Coupled with its environmental impact — U.S. golf courses suck up more than 2 billion gallons of water per day for irrigation —the sport was taking on a negative reputation, regarded as an exclusive pastime of the leisure class.

But with increased downtime and less money spent on transportation and restaurants, people have returned to golf in droves.

Read more:


Arts and Culture in Parks and Recreation
Courtesy of NRPA

By Devin Graham

KANSAS - The park and recreation field has the unique opportunity to create a bridge of access to arts and culture for the community by making it attainable.

The Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, managed by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District (JCPRD) Culture Division in Kansas, is comprised of Fine and Performing Arts, Theatre in the Park, the Johnson County Museum and the Rentals Department. Through the Fine Arts division, this facility manages five art exhibitions each year centered around public engagement with a focus on local artists, many of whom are up-and-coming.

The Johnson County Museum’s remarkable team moved quickly to respond to present times by creating a historical exhibition on pandemics, called Rising to the Challenge: Suburban Strength in Difficult Times. They reached out to the Arts Council of Johnson County and the Fine Arts department staff within JCPRD to collaborate and discuss the power of the arts in coping with the mental strain of this pandemic.

These notions planted the seed for what would eventually become Resilience, Reflection, Rebuilding: Artists Respond to COVID-19, an art exhibition that hosts 54 local artists with 64 works of art, including painting, photography, mixed media, sculpture, textiles and multi-media.

Read more:


From Homeless to Doctorate
Courtesy of the Minority Recreational Leadership Academy

By Dr. Samose Mays

Dr. Mays is the Parks & Recreation Director of Bryan County, Georgia and the founder of the Minority Recreational Leadership Academy. Dr. Mays is an advocate for bullying prevention and travels the country educating recreational leaders on proactive bullying prevention methods. He is a member of NRPA (National Recreation and Parks Association), NPREMS (National Recreation and Park Ethnic Minority Society), NACPRO (National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials), and GRPA (Georgia Recreation and Parks Association) where he serves as commissioner of Georgia District 2. He is a Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA), and Aquatics Facilities Operator (AFO).

He earned a Doctorate in Sports Management from Northcentral University in 2016, a Master of Science in Sports Management from Georgia Southern University in 2013 and a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management from Georgia Southern University in 2011. Mays' early attempts at higher education were not so successful. He dropped out after his sophomore year in 1998 and began to work as a special education teacher's aide in 2000. From there, he served as the Athletic Director at the local Boys and Girls Club before becoming a house parent at the Joseph's Home for Boys. Mays then started a nonprofit track and field organization that helped dozens of kids get into college (Sprint South). Mays re-enrolled at Georgia Southern University in 2009 and completed his bachelor's degree in two years. Capitalizing on his momentum, he immediately entered the university's online master's program to pursue a degree in Sports Management.

In 2013, after earning his master's degree, he thought briefly about starting his career due to lack of income and homelessness. For two years he survived on the street, never letting on that he was homeless. Occasionally, he scraped together enough money, from work or student loans, to afford a few weeks at an extended-stay hotel. He persevered and by 2014 landed a job as an Athletic Director at the South Bryan County Recreation. Today, Mays oversees the entire county recreational program for both North and South Bryan, which offers athletics, summer camps and leisure for youth and adults. His focus is on bringing new and innovative programs to everyone in the community.

Read more of the November 2020 newsletter and subscribe:

Research and Resources

Equitable Park Funding Hub
Courtesy of City Parks Alliance

We are pleased to introduce the Equitable Park Funding Hub, a new resource for park professionals to explore federal, state, and local funding strategies for city parks and public spaces. The tool provides access to information on a variety of funding sources relevant for parks and recreation in low-income communities and communities of color, and highlights the partnerships required for successful funding.

As local municipalities slash budgets, this tool helps cities explore new funding strategies and partnerships to ensure parks and public spaces are developed, programmed, maintained, and can play their essential role as social infrastructure. Discover funding opportunities or even share your own.

Support for this work was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For more information:


Funding Tool
Courtesy of PlayCore

Part of our mission is to help connect communities to the funds and other resources they need to make their dream play and recreation space a reality. The PlayCore Grant Finder Tool helps you locate funding for your play and recreation projects. We invite you to search our database for grant opportunities that may be available in your area. The grants listed are funded by the organization specified in each grant summary. Please contact each funder directly for specific questions, deadlines, and eligibility requirements.

For more information:


Solutions to Homelessness on Trails
Courtesy of American Trails

In 2018 there was a ninth circuit court ruling in the case of Martin v. City of Boise that stated you cannot criminalize sleeping as it is a human right. This means you cannot arrest people for sleeping in parks, and immediately following that ruling many public spaces were inundated with people experiencing homelessness. Part of the ruling says that as a city you have to be able to point the homeless population to a designated location they can go where they are allowed to sleep, otherwise you cannot enforce penalties. According to the ruling this is due to the 8th amendment protections of the constitution.

In response to the growing problem of homelessness in public spaces the city of Modesto, California, in accordance with this ruling, designated Beard Brook Park as the official area where the homeless can congregate and sleep. This was an emergency declaration, and allowed the city to enforce no sleeping rules in all other public spaces under their stewardship.

The presenters describe Beard Brook Park as a "neighborhood park without a neighborhood." The park is surrounded by industrial buildings rather than homes, and is large enough that it could temporarily serve as a homeless camp location.

The idea was for this to be a six month solution, while the city created a more comprehensive plan to deal with the issue. When the park opened for camping in September of 2018 there was approximately a dozen tents, and within five months the space had grown to house approximately 300 campers.

Read more:


Most Scooter Riders Crash on the Sidewalk, Study Finds
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found a majority of e-scooter injuries happen on the sidewalk," reports Chris Teale.

"Nearly three in five scooter riders were injured on the sidewalk," according to the study, reports Teale. The study examined 500 scooter and bike riders, finding that scooter riders are more likely than bike riders to suffer an injury while riding "due to potholes or cracks in the pavement, or from hitting infrastructure like signposts or curbs."

Another key finding: nearly 40 percent of scooter riders who suffer injuries do so on their first ride.

Read more:

In the News

Urban Camping Programs Bring the Outdoors to Cities
Courtesy of Outside Online

MICHIGAN - In 2015, Garrett Dempsey and Lisa Perez went on a mission in Detroit’s Rouge Park, located on the city’s far west side. They were looking for Scout Hollow, a long-forgotten campground that dates back to at least the 1930s. They scanned the tree line and spotted a path blanketed with weeds descending into the woods. Upon closer inspection, they found weathered steps and realized that they must be in the right place. When they reached the bottom of the hill, they found a field overrun with chest-high weeds. This was Scout Hollow?

Where others might have seen obstacles, Dempsey and Perez saw an opportunity to bring camping back to Detroit. Dempsey, 46, is a Sierra Club campaign representative for Detroit Outdoors, an organization that aims to inspire the city’s youth to spend more time outside in local natural spaces by providing opportunities for camping in the city. The program is a collaboration between the Sierra Club, Detroit Parks and Recreation, and the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. Dempsey, who is passionate about equitable access to nature, has years of experience leading youth excursions, first in San Francisco and later as the chair of the Sierra Club’s Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) program in Detroit. Perez, 51, is the Detroit urban-connections coordinator at the U.S. Forest Service and serves on the Detroit Outdoors Advisory Council. After their first visit to Scout Hollow, Dempsey, Perez, and several community stakeholders began planning to reopen the site as a campground for the city’s youth.

Read more:

Grand Valley’s Palisade Plunge set to open after 10 years of planning, partnerships
Courtesy of the Colorado Sun

By Jason Blevins

COLORADO - The 32-mile, soon-to-open Palisade Plunge is the most anticipated mountain bike trail to debut in a decade in Colorado. It’s taken more than 10 years of negotiations between federal and state agencies, local communities, mountain bikers and private landowners. And the end result is a trail that will challenge even the most skilled mountain bikers as they bounce down the crown jewel of the Grand Valley’s blossoming outdoor recreation economy.

But the Palisade Plunge is more than an economic engine luring mountain bikers who are expected to deliver as much as $5 million a year to Mesa County. And it’s more than a destination-worthy trail that traverses distinct alpine-to-desert ecosystems, blending rolling singletrack with technical, high-consequence terrain and unrivaled vistas.

The Palisade Plunge is emerging as a prototype for how diverse groups, agencies and governments can combine forces and spend many years working to build something big.

Read more:


Madison building network of off-road mountain biking trails
Courtesy of the Journal Times

By Chris Hubbach

WISCONSIN - Growing up in the late 1980s, Mike Repyak would set out on his bike from his home in Cambridge, ripping through fields, down gravel roads and deer trails through the woods. “To me, that was freedom and adventure,” Repyak said.

Now Repyak wants kids — and adults — in Madison to experience the same exhilaration that he got from the dirt under his tires.

A landscape architect for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), Repyak is working with the Madison Parks Department to develop a network of off-road trails throughout a city that’s known for cycling yet lacks opportunities for off-road adventure.

A new Parks Department initiative is seeking to change that by developing a system of urban mountain bike trails designed to promote health, economic activity and access to the outdoors, especially in traditionally overlooked communities.

“We need to have bike parks ... within a quarter-mile or half-mile ride of every neighborhood,” Repyak said. “What we’re going to provide here is freedom and adventure for youth who may not have that access now.”

Read more:


Imagine a transcontinental network of protected bike paths
Courtesy of Fast Company

By Adele Peters

Under an elevated rail line in Miami, a new park will open this fall with a 10-mile path dedicated to walking and biking. It’s an infrastructure improvement for Miami cyclists, but it’s also part of a larger, interstate network of trails that will eventually make it possible to ride from Florida to Maine with little interaction with cars. And even that enormous project is itself just a small part of an even bigger dream: a network of protected bike lanes connecting cities across the country, making it possible to bike from city to city—and ocean to ocean—safely.

Called the Underline, the park in Miami will link into the East Coast Greenway project and is an example of the kind of trail that could form car-free connections across the entire country. “The projects are out there,” says Dennis Markatos-Soriano, East Coast Greenway Alliance executive director. “They just need the funding to complete design and construction.”

The group is now advocating for a greenway stimulus as a way to create a full national network of connected bike and pedestrian paths while simultaneously helping the economy recover from the pandemic. Ten billion dollars invested in greenways, Markatos-Soriano says, could support 170,000 jobs across the country. It could also generate another $100 billion in health and environmental benefits.

Read more:


Parks & Recreation’s 30 Under 30
Courtesy of NRPA

The park and recreation profession is brimming with passionate people who, quite frankly, serve as everyday superheroes in their communities. More impressive are the number of professionals under 30 years old who are transforming their communities through their passion and innovation. NRPA and the NRPA Young Professional Network are looking for 30 of our brightest professionals under 30 to feature in the February 2021 issue of Parks & Recreation magazine.

Nominations, including self-nominations, are due November 30, 2020.

For more information:


Irate moms rage against fitness fanatics using NYC playgrounds as gyms
Courtesy of the New York Post

By Jane Ridley

Fed-up moms in New York City have had enough of fitness freaks using kids’ playgrounds as makeshift gyms now that workout facilities are operating at limited capacity due to COVID-19.

According to parents, some don’t wear masks and could pose a health hazard during the pandemic.

While it’s mostly individuals exercising on their own, a growing number of personal trainers are bringing their clients into the playgrounds.

“My friend recently spotted a trainer with half a dozen clients in tow,” added Capone, 35. “They took up half of the available space with little regard for anyone else.

Read more:


Greenfield Recreation Department art project adds ‘a little brightness to intersections'
Courtesy of the Greenfield Recorder

By Anita Fritz

MASSACHUSETTS - Thanks to the Greenfield Recreation Department, a few more streets are a little more colorful with public art.

Recreation Department Director Christy Moore said with the recent help of a grant from the Greenfield Local Cultural Council, the department was able to offer stipends to three local artists — Sarah Adam, Mary Chicoine and Maricella Obando Moya — who painted electrical boxes across the city.

Once the artists finished the latest masterpieces, she said, the city varnished them to seal them and protect them from the elements. Moore said artists used the stipends for supplies and to pay themselves for their time.

Read more:


Walk/Bike/Places 2021 - Call for Proposals

Indianapolis - June 15-18, 2021

In response to the continuous challenges posed by COVID-19, Walk/Bike/Places 2021 will take place in Indianapolis as a hybrid event, where participants can either join us in person or online and plan their attendance accordingly.

The Call for Proposals for Walk/Bike/Places 2021 is now open! We seek to bring together practitioners, policy-makers, and advocates from all around the world to share the experiences, projects, and research that are reclaiming our streets and public spaces for people.

We are offering three presenter formats from which to choose from this year: Breakout Session (panel or workshop), Short Talk (single presenter), and Poster.

The deadline for submissions is December 9, 2020.

For more information:


Webinar: Using Climate Mitigation and Disaster Relief Funds to Build Resilient Communities
Courtesy of City Parks Alliance

DATE: Tuesday, November 10
TIME: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET
COST: Free

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe. Parks and green spaces that are designed for resilience play an important role in preventing and mitigating the effects of extreme heat, flooding, wildfires, and other climate change-related events.

Learn how to tap into and leverage climate mitigation and disaster relief funds to build more resilient green spaces and communities.

For more information:


Webinar Series: Outdoor Recreation & Therapy
Courtesy of SORP

Outdoor Recreation & Therapy

DATE: November 4, 2020
TIME: 11am-12pm Pacific
COST: Free
SPEAKER: Tamberly Conway, PhD., Founder and CEO, Conservation Conexions

Managing Outdoor Recreation and Therapeutic Landscapes for Veterans

DATE: November 10, 2020
TIME: 9-10am Pacific
COST: Free
1. Stacy Bare, Founder of Adventure Not War, Constant Schemer for making outdoor adventures a formal part of health care
2. Dan Dustin, Professor of Outdoor Recreation Studies, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, University of Utah
3. Deborah Tysor, Ph.D., CTRS. Lecturer and Recreational Therapist at Clemson University
4. Lee Cerveny, Research Social Scientist, US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Seattle

Outdoor Therapies - An Introduction to Practices, Possibilities, and Critical Perspectives

DATE: November 18, 2020
TIME: 11am-12pm Pacific
COST: Free
SPEAKER: Nevin Harper, Ph.D., University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


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