December 22, 2020

In This Issue...

Welcome New Member
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 January 5, 2021.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by January 4.

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

NACPRO's Sponsors

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Job Announcements

Natural Resource Planner
Santa Clara County Parks
Los Gatos, California
Salary: $92,882 - $112,392 /yr
Closing Date: Jan 11, 2021 

Parks Superintendent
Los Alamos County
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Salary: $67,562 - $99,594 /yr
Closing Date: Dec 23, 2020

Special Districts Manager
City of Oxnard, California
Oxnard, California
Salary: $89,128 - $147,284 /yr
Closing Date: Dec 23, 2020

Director of Washington State Parks
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
Tumwater, Washington
Salary: $146,000 - $161,000 /yr
Closing Date: Open until filled

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:

The holiday season brings thoughts of joy and gratitude, and there’s no better time to express our thanks and sincere appreciation for your amazing hard work, creativity, and dedication.
Happy Holidays!

Welcome New Member

Mr. Erich Braun, Parks Superintendent
Polk County Conservation Board
Granger, Iowa

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

GP RED Welcomes New Board Members

Congratulations NACPRO Board Member Lakita Watson on your appointment to the GP RED Advisory Board!

For more information:


Gary Haller leaves major legacy in Johnson County
Courtesy of Johnson County

KANSAS - Former Johnson County Parks & Recreation District Executive Director Gary L. Haller passed away in the early hours of Thursday, Dec. 10. He had retired from the agency in March 2001 after 27 years with JCPRD, but had remained in touch with many current and former employees.

Haller leaves a great legacy at JCPRD and in Parks and Recreation in Kansas. Under Haller’s leadership, JCPRD grew from fewer than 50 employees to 165 employees and, from fewer than 1,800 acres to approximately 6,100 acres of parkland. The agency was formed in 1955 and Haller served as its fourth Director. Under Haller's leadership, JCPRD achieved national recognition as the 1995 recipient of the prestigious Gold Medal Award.

Haller is a former Past President of NACPRO and served on the Board of Directors from 1976-2000. He was also recognized with a NACPRO Professional Fellow Award.

Read more:


Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to Construct Zip Line in 2021
Courtesy of

By Sam Allard

OHIO - Construction could begin on a zipline project at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as early as February, according to documents obtained by Scene.

The Zoo is hopeful that, pending the selection of a construction manager and adherence to an aggressive construction timeline, the "Soaring Eagle" Zipline experience will open on Zoo grounds by Memorial Day.

As it turns out, the elements that make the Soaring Eagle product unique as a zipline experience make it much more reminiscent of a ski lift experience.

Read more:


Baltimore using fines from unsanctioned St. Vincent’s Infant Asylum demolition to redevelop nearby park
Courtesy of

By Ethan McLeod

MARYLAND - Upton's historic former St. Vincent's Infant Asylum building came crashing down in February 2018 — razed without proper permits or any warning to neighbors. The act, broadcast by the demolisher on social media, wound up releasing asbestos into the air, investigators reported, and in the process erased a 118-year old building in a historic Black neighborhood.

But the aftermath, in which the Manhattan-based property owner and local demolition contractor have faced city and state charges, has produced a small silver lining several years later, with $300,000 paid out to the city by the land owner to help revitalize a community recreational facility just down the street.

Neighborhood leaders are looking forward to an improved community amenity to serve residents in Upton, which is seeing an infusion of new apartments, townhomes and other planned development around its state-designated Black Arts and Entertainment District.

Read more:

Research and Resources

New coalition summarizes 7 key ways to stay healthy and protect public lands
Courtesy of REI

Spending time outdoors has become more important than ever across America. As people limit activities to slow the spread of the coronavirus, they’re finding time in nature to be good for their physical and mental health, and for reconnecting with the outside world.

Now that many states are easing stay-at-home restrictions, people are eager to get outside beyond their neighborhoods. But as parks, trails, waterways and other public lands reopen, it can be confusing to know what’s best to do.

To minimize confusion, REI and a coalition of nonprofits, recreation businesses and agencies have come together to summarize and amplify the emerging best practices. They have laid out seven simple guidelines at

For more information:


GP RED Presents: Episode 16: Out of the Box Programming for Parks and Recreation Agencies

How can parks and recreation agencies bring recreation to the community? In this episode, Emily Fox (Recreation Manager of the Parks and Recreation Department in Ventura, CA) talks with Teresa Penbrooke PhD, CPRE (CEO of GreenPlay & Director of the Healthy Communities Research Group for GP RED) about “out of the box” programming, building off of what other agencies have already started, partnering with local businesses, and encouraging staff to brainstorm new ideas together.

GP RED provides the information you need in an easy to watch format. Please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for regular access to the topics that you care about! Leave comments if you have ideas for future topics you’d like us to cover.

Watch here:


Are Parks S.A.F.E.?
Courtesy of PlayCore

By Aaron Hipp, PhD and Myron Floyd, PhD

As parents who are home with children since mid-March, we want our kids to be able to play and to play outdoors. To run, climb, swing, slide, and laugh care-free. Parks in our neighborhoods should provide these opportunities for our children. To offer this, Parks must be S.A.F.E. That is, Safe, Accessible, Facilitate a variety of experiences, and for Everyone.

As one of four projects for the Physical Activity Research Center, the NC State team sought to understand how children from different racial and ethnic groups use parks and playgrounds, and how the features and programs in parks and surrounding neighborhood contexts might affect who visits and what play was occurring in parks. Across the parks, we mapped and observed how children used specific features and amenities and surveyed parents to evaluate who was using the park when and where.

Read more:


Fearless Flyers Go Vertical
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By Sharon Heal Eichler

FLORIDA - Redeveloping the northwest quadrant of Safety Harbor City Park in Pinellas County, Fla., to meet the needs of thrill-seeking skateboarders was no easy project. During the past four decades, skateboarders have been shocking crowds with extreme tricks that most people would not dream of doing.

Today, kids in the county--and across the country--want to show off extreme acrobatic stunts, ollies, rail slides, truck grinders and more. The challenge for the city and its design partners was to create a safe place where skaters of all levels could grow and perform.

To help design a true community skate park, the city commission appointed a Skate Park Teen Task Force of more than 20 skateboarders. With an approved budget, the task force--led by the city’s Leisure Services Director Andrea Norwood--met weekly, sketched out a design, and made a model for presentation to the commission for approval. The group even developed park rules, policies and procedures.

Read more:


Top Trends in Parks and Recreation 2021
Courtesy of NRPA

By Richard J. Dolesh

It is time for the annual rundown of the top trends in park and recreation predictions. Eagerly awaited and sought after, these predictions stimulate the anticipatory senses and offer a respite from the winter blues.

However, we must acknowledge that things are much different this year. The world of parks and recreation has been upended by the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. In March of 2020, we were looking toward a spring season that was bright with promise and rich with the possibilities of time spent enjoying our nation’s parks and recreation resources. But COVID-19 changed many things, and we have had to adapt ever since. The recent approval of multiple vaccines, however, offers the hope that we can put this dark winter behind us.

All Those Changes Caused by the Pandemic? They Are Here to Stay...

Read more:


Playgrounds are essential for children; California was right to reopen them
Courtesy of Cal Matters

DECEMBER 10, 2020 - Gov. Gavin Newsom this week allowed playgrounds to reopen statewide. It was a reversal of a portion of the current health order that had shuttered playgrounds since Sunday. It was also the right thing to do – a decision based on both science and fairness.

Decades of research show scrambling up the jungle gym or swinging on the monkey bars is much more than child’s play. For kids, playgrounds boost mental and physical health, sharpen problem solving and coping skills, and even ease the effects of trauma.

Read more:

In the News

Why Just ‘Adding Context’ to Controversial Monuments May Not Change Minds
Courtesy of

Dozens of monuments have been toppled or removed from public view in recent months, as protestors point out how they leave out important aspects of history. But people on all sides of these debates have been arguing that removal isn’t necessary. Instead, we can just add signage to remind viewers of the history and people left out by the monuments.

But does this newly added information change the way visitors experience monuments and historic sites? Laurajane Smith, a professor at Australian National University, knows that changing someone’s mind about history isn’t as easy as tacking on a new sign. Her new book, Emotional Heritage, summarizes what she has learned during a decade of interviewing thousands of visitors to historical sites across the world, including the United States.

Read more:


The Pandemic Created New Hunters. States Need to Keep Them.
Courtesy of Stateline

By Alex Brown

Conservationists and wildlife officials have spent years trying to stave off the decline of hunting in America. In 2020, they finally saw a glimmer of hope.

“I've been working on this issue for 15 years,” said Matt Dunfee, the director of special programs at the Wildlife Management Institute, a national conservation nonprofit that focuses on restoring wildlife populations. “All I needed was a pandemic.”

For decades, the number of hunters—who are mostly older, white males—has steadily dwindled. That’s led to a loss of conservation funding at state wildlife agencies, which largely rely on license sales to support their budgets. But now, unexpectedly, officials in nearly every state are reporting a moderate-to-massive spike in hunting in 2020.

Read more:


Upcoming Webinars from PlayCore
Courtesy of PlayCore

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

Playground Inspection & Maintenance
Live webinar: Thursday, January 21, 2 - 3:15 p.m. EST

What COVID-19 Taught Park and Recreation Professionals: Insights from National Survey Comments
Prerecorded webinar available from Monday, February 1, 2021, 8:00am - Friday, February 5, 2021 at 11:59pm

Unleashed: Off-leash Dog Park Design Trends & Planning Tips
Prerecorded webinar available from Monday, February 22, 2021, 8:00am - Friday, February 26, 2021 at 11:59pm

Good News: In Parks - Season 2
Live webinar: Thursday, January 14, 2021, 1:00pm - 2:15pm

For more information:


Webinar: Brownfields to Trails - Steps to Success
Courtesy of American Trails

January 28, 2021
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (Eastern Time)

The best trails are places for users to enjoy for many reasons, as well as create connections within communities. Likewise, trails can create spaces with a strong sense of community and extend over, through and around many types of resources, including areas with past uses (brownfields). When designing a trail within brownfields designers should do their due diligence and consider site conditions that may have an impact on the long-term success of a project.

For more information:


Active Living Conference
Courtesy of GP RED

April 6 - 9, 2021 - Virtual Event

The Active Living Conference began in 2004 and is a venue for both cutting-edge research and for making findings usable by non-scientists. The conference brings together a diverse audience and provides networking and engagement opportunities for active living researchers and practitioners from many fields. Presentations and discussions focus on the importance of creating healthier communities for all people. The 2021 Active Living Conference will be a virtual learning and engagement event that will bring together researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to advance knowledge and action on how to evaluate, create and sustain active living environments.

The Call for Abstracts, which will be announced soon, will include both a research and a practice/policy submission category to ensure that the program includes presentations and lessons learned from organizations and advocates that are implementing evidence-based active living policies and strategies in communities across the globe. The conference agenda is being developed by the Executive Program Committee and a draft outline will be posted to the conference website within the next few weeks.

For more information:


2021 National Planning Conference
Courtesy of the American Planning Association

May 5 - 7, 2021 - Virtual Event

Join the planning community after a year like no other in the most immersive, energizing and empowering NPC yet! Share experiences, address challenges, and get ideas designed for today’s needs.

For more information:

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