October 2017 Print

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS

How Parks Can Engage Many Types of Visitors
Courtesy of Taylor Studios, Inc.

By Chris Brusatte, Interpretive Planner

I have had interesting conversations lately with many of my friends, family members, and coworkers. We have talked about our love for parks and outdoor recreation areas, and – more precisely – why we enjoy these special resources. Every single one of us expressed our love for parks. But once we started talking about why we enjoyed them, our answers started diverging.

What a great sign for parks and recreation areas, I thought. They attract people for many different reasons, and they provide more benefits than we can even count! Unlike other sites and attractions, which are narrowly tailored to a small segment of the populace, parks truly have something for everyone. The trick is for our parks’ leaders to realize the many reasons why people visit, and to promote as many of these as possible through what they offer.

Many people love visiting parks to simply get outdoors, breathe fresh air, and get away from the hustle and bustle of 21st century life. Parks are the perfect escape from our busy, industrialized world. The key takeaway? Park administrators should keep their parks naturally beautiful. Promote plantings, landscape and nature management, and upkeep. Never forget that too much concrete or asphalt just makes it a parking lot!

A large number of visitors also use parks and outdoor recreation areas for exercise. There are few better sites to walk, hike, jog, or run – especially in the fresh air and surrounding by nature. The takeaway? Parks should utilize trails, promote fitness, and perhaps even lead exercise programs.

Then there are those like me who love nature and science. Parks across our country are home to the most beautiful wildlife, and they provide education and enjoyment to those passionate about the natural world. Parks should not only protect and preserve the nature at their sites – but they can also install interpretive signage and outdoor exhibits that teach visitors about the wildlife all around them. Taylor Studios has had the honor of working with countless parks throughout the country, creating signs, exhibits, and experiences that engage and excite visitors.

There are many other reasons why people love parks, and the three above are just the tip of the iceberg. Parks and recreation sites have earned a special place in the heart of all Americans, and deservedly so. As long as the leaders of our parks keep listening to their visitors – understanding why they love these resources – the future of these sites is strong. They will continue to flourish as they remain an invaluable resource for so many types of people with many different interests.

 

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BEST PRACTICES FORUM

Got an issue or best practice you want to share? Send us the details and we will publish it in the next NACPRO News.

 

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MEMBER NEWS

County Parks & Recreation Department honored as one of the top agencies in nation
Courtesy of Palm Beach County

FLORIDA - The Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department accepted the National Gold Medal Finalist Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management for agencies serving a population over 400,000 during the National Park and Recreation Association’s (NRPA) Annual Conference in New Orleans on Tuesday, September 26.

“I’m very proud of this significant accomplishment”, said Eric Call, Director, Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. “To be a Finalist for the National Gold Medal Award is a reflection of the great work we do as a team and our dedication to the citizens of Palm Beach County.”

Read more: https://goo.gl/hBoCu

 

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COUNTY NEWS

Sonoma County parks ravaged by fires
Courtesy of the Press Democrat

By Mary Callahan

CALIFORNIA - North Bay fires that have killed dozens in four counties have also punished public parklands across Sonoma County.

What started in Trione-Annadel State Park initially has moved to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Hood Mountain, Shiloh Ridge and Sonoma Valley regional parks.

The latest information indicated that the Sugarloaf visitor center, white barn and Ferguson Observatory were still standing, but it was difficult for fire officials to know precisely after such a significant burn in the late afternoon.

Read more: https://goo.gl/rZcxCj

 

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NEW RESEARCH AND RESOURCES

The Reason to Expand Urban Forests: Our Health
Courtesy of dirt.asla.org

By Jared Green

A new research report from the Nature Conservancy argues that for just $8 per person, the U.S. could maintain and then significantly expand the tree canopy of American cities, an incredibly cost-effective investment in public health.

While high-profile urban tree planting campaigns like New York City’s get a lot of attention, most U.S. cities have experienced a decline in their urban forests, with a loss of about 4 million trees each year, or about “1.3 percent of the total tree stock.” The Nature Conservancy builds the case for recommitting to expanding our urban canopies for health reasons, instead of just letting them slowly diminish.

The many benefits of trees are well-documented: they clean and cool the air, combat the urban heat island effect, capture stormwater, mitigate the risk of floods, boost water quality, and, importantly, improve our mental and physical health and well-being.

Read more: https://goo.gl/tKmDyi

 

Organic Parks
Courtesy of NRPA

By Serda Ozbenian

Balancing the need to effectively manage weeds and pests in parks, the mandate to protect and conserve valuable natural resources and the demand for well-manicured recreational areas can be a big challenge for land managers.

The negative environmental and human health impacts of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides have been widely documented and some park agencies are seeking and testing new landscape management methods to strike a balance that would satisfy park users and managers. Some park agencies have committed to going pesticide-free, herbicide-free or organic, while others have taken a piecemeal approach and are devising site-specific management strategies.

Ryan Anderson, program and communications manager for Midwest Pesticide Action Center (MPAC), explains: “Some parks have been using pesticides for so long that the soil has become dependent, so going cold turkey is not the best option. We recommend coming up with a plan over three to five years and weaning the soil off the dependency, while building organic matter.” For the past eight years, the Chicago Park District has partnered with MPAC and committed to limit the use of pesticides in its parks.

Read more: https://goo.gl/pR4Q33

 

National Recreation Trail nominations are due November 1
Courtesy of American Trails

Is your trail a good candidate for National Recreation Trail (NRT) designation? NRTs receive national recognition and are included in the online database managed by American Trails. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from cities and suburbs to deserts, waterways, and high mountains.

For more information: https://goo.gl/8pYs6V

 

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IN THE NEWS

Nation's mayors launch groundbreaking 10-minute walk to a park campaign
Courtesy of Business Insider

On October 10, 134 of the nation's most influential mayors joined The Trust for Public Land, National Recreation and Park Association, and Urban Land Institute in launching an historic "10-minute walk" parks advocacy campaign, establishing the ambitious goal that all Americans should live within a 10-minute walk (or half-mile) of a high-quality park or green space.

This bipartisan group includes mayors from all across the country and represents cities large and small, including America's four largest cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston) and diverse communities developing innovative parks solutions, from Oklahoma City to Chattanooga. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, which represents more than 1,000 U.S. mayors, also unanimously passed a resolution urging all mayors to actively pursue the 10-minute walk to a park goal.

Studies show that high-quality parks provide a wide range of benefits to urban residents and cities themselves. These include physical and mental health benefits, by providing opportunities to be physically active and to interact with nature; economic benefits by boosting business and helping to revitalize neighborhoods; community-building benefits by providing opportunities for neighbors to interact with each other and work together to improve their surroundings; and environmental benefits by cleaning and cooling the air, improving climate resilience, and providing opportunities for environmental education.

Read more: https://goo.gl/3n3v4p

 

The Boy Scouts Now Allow Girls
Courtesy of Outside Online

By Wes Siler

Citing the evolving needs of working families and a desire to be more inclusive, the Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that it will begin accepting girls next year.

“I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization,” the BSA Chairman Randall Stephenson stated in a press release. “It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls.”

Starting in 2018, the Cub Scouts (the program for seven to 10-year olds) will begin accepting female members. Existing packs will be offered the choice of establishing separate all-boy or all-girl sub-groups (called “dens”), or remaining boy-only. All dens will be single-gender, but will teach the same curriculum and allow the same progression through the organization’s ranks. Both were inaccessible to girls until now.

The BSA has not yet announced what female integration into Boy Scout troops (ages 11 to 18) will look like, but does state that girls will have the chance to work toward the highest rank of Eagle Scout beginning in 2019.

Read more: https://goo.gl/dswydo

 

City Officials Break Ground On 312 RiverRun Trail
Courtesy of American Trails

By Patty Wetli

ILLINOIS - Elements of the 312 RiverRun have been in the planning stages for years. On October 4, 2017, city officials broke ground on the first phase of the path, the highly anticipated Riverview Bridge, which will, in parts, soar 18 feet above the river.

The bridge will provide pedestrians, cyclists and runners with a link between Clark Park on the east side of the river and California Park on the west.

The vision is for the path to create a campus like atmosphere among the three parks, which span Roscoe Village/North Center, Avondale, Irving Park and Albany Park.

But accessing all of those options has been challenging for residents, with the parks cut off from each other by major roadways and the river itself, Kelly said.

Read more: https://goo.gl/UHEGHG

 

Could a 1,650-mile trail network connect New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut?
Courtesy of Curbed.com

By Emily Nonko

Could a more robust system of trails be in the cards for New York City? The Regional Plan Association thinks it’s possible; the group has released a report [PDF] that proposes connecting New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut with 1,650 miles of biking, hiking, and walking trails. The report says that while all three states boast thousands of miles of trails, "they are largely disconnected from each other."

The report continues, "The trails provide recreational opportunities within the region’s preserves and parks but fail to facilitate greater connections between this natural beauty and the communities where most people live."

One goal of a better connected, regional trail network is to help to boost the economies of the "trail towns" along the route, according to the RPA. Such a network will also make it easier for residents of "urban cores" in New York and New Jersey to access these towns and trails without a car.

Read more: https://goo.gl/QRVj9G

 

A Monumental Decision
Courtesy of NRPA

By Paul Gilbert

There are approximately 1,500 Confederate monuments and statues on battlefields, town greens, in parks and in front of courthouses. While most are in the South, surprisingly, many are also in the North and Midwest, and a number of them are in areas managed by park and recreation agencies. There has been a push in many areas to remove these monuments from the center of civic life. So, some thought is necessary about the pros and cons of removing these monuments from some areas and potentially accepting them in other public areas. Sorting through those issues takes some insight into the current issue and the last 150 years of American history, particularly in the South.

Most of the monuments that we are debating today were erected in the period from 1890 to 1930, and many of them were designed to glorify what became known as the “Lost Cause” — a period of revisionist history. This movement attempted to erase or obscure the fact that the South had broken away from the Union, primarily to continue slavery. This false narrative fit the efforts in the South during the early 20th century, when a system of local and state laws was put in place that enforced segregation and suppressed voting rights and educational opportunities for African-Americans. During much of the 20th century, “states’ rights” was code for allowing local segregation efforts, called Jim Crow laws, to continue.

One approach is to remove the monuments, and numerous communities and institutions have begun to do this. Another approach might be to interpret the Jim Crow/Lost Cause era statue for what it is.

Read more: https://goo.gl/TMF38f

 

More U.S. Parks and Attractions Are Offering Online Reservations
Courtesy of the New York Times

By Stephanie Rosenbloom

Does a vacation really feel like a vacation when every little thing is scheduled? Perhaps not, but with more attractions offering reservations, chances are you’ll have to do a little more planning.

Certainly, there are upsides to reservations. They slash wait times, allowing travelers to see and do more. They curb disappointment; there’s no driving for an hour only to find out that you can’t get in. They can also be essential tools in helping preserve fragile environments. Zion National Park in Utah, for instance, is considering adopting an online reservation system amid record crowds that are wearing down trails and campgrounds faster than the park can afford to repair them.

At the same time, there are trade-offs. For instance, spontaneity and serendipity, a large part of what makes travel surprising and rewarding, tend to get short shrift. And as getting reservations for attractions becomes more competitive, travelers may soon no longer be able to choose whether to book in advance or play things by ear.

Read more: https://goo.gl/k5wBvf

 

What drove an Interior whistleblower to dissent?
Courtesy of High Country News

By Elizabeth Shogren

Many of the Interior Department’s 70,000 employees were outraged when their leader, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, recently said that 30 percent of them are “not loyal to the flag.” But while the vast majority of them suffered in silence, Joel Clement, until recently the department’s top climate change official, took to Twitter. “Civil servants are loyal to the flag and also know a demagogue when they see one,” he tweeted.

Current and former federal employees and others who heard and read Zinke’s comment interpreted it two ways. Some thought he meant the U.S. flag. To others the “flag” represented Zinke’s leadership of the department. Clement said that as a longtime Navy Seal, Zinke should understand the serious connotation of his words. “I think he is so arrogant that he thinks his special interest agenda is the same as what’s best for America. He is bought and paid for by oil and gas and political ambition.”

Clement is a rare breed: A vocal dissident inside a cabinet agency in the Trump administration. He’s among dozens of senior executives at the Interior Department whom Zinke reassigned in this summer in an unprecedented shakeup of the top career staff. Instead of quitting, Clement in July started publicly criticizing the new administration and filed a whistleblower complaint. Now he’s urging other civil servants to join him in exposing the ways the Trump administration is betraying the core missions of federal agencies.

Read more: https://goo.gl/bmB7GE

 

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TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

Webinar: Electric Bicycles - A Primer on the Technology & Land Manager Tools
Courtesy of American Trails

Date: November 9, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Cost: Free members/$55 non-members
Organization: American Trails

E-bikes represent a bicycle-like transportation and recreation option on public lands. E-bikes reduce vehicle use and emissions, increase opportunities to bicycle for individuals with physical barriers, and provide a unique, emissions- and noise-free recreation activity.

The user base for electric bicycles grows annually, e-bikes are the fastest growing segment of the bicycle market. E-bikes are used on-road but also frequently off-road on motorized trails, with a user desire to use e-bikes on non-motorized trails. Land managers are faced with e-bike management decisions, but most agencies do not have a policy for eMTB access. This webinar covers the basics on e-bikes (what they are, who rides one, technical specifications), regulatory options, what areas currently allow them, resource and user studies, management examples, and tools, reports, studies and case studies. Of particular interest to land managers will be an overview on the eMTB Land Manager Handbook, a guide to environmentally and socially sustainable management of eMTBs, developed in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, and which provides general classification of eMTBs, best management practices associated with methods of travel, and land use planning and implementation considerations.

For more information: https://goo.gl/UnaXyw


Webinar: Build a Sustainable Trail that Lasts 100 Years
Courtesy of American Trails

Date: Thursday, December 7, 2017
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Pacific / 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern
Cost: $0 members / $55 nonmembers (CEUs $20 additional fee)

American Trails will present this Webinar on December 7, 2017 with Michael Osborne with Five Rivers MetroParks. This webinar will explore the critical components and processes necessary for truly sustainable trail design and construction.

For more information: https://goo.gl/qppH3G

 

Sustainable Trails Conference
Courtesy of the Federal Lands Transportation Institute Training Newsletter

Date: March 23-30, 2018
Location: Roanoke, WV
Organization: Professional Trail Builders Association (PTBA)

The Sustainable Trails Conference is heading to Stonewall, WV in 2018 to offer the absolute must attend conference for anyone involved in trail construction, maintenance, design, development and use.

For more information: https://goo.gl/JY1sRF

 

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JOB ANNOUNCEMENTS

Trails & Parks Millage Coordinator
Ingham County, Michigan
Posted August 23, 2017. Open until filled (updated 9/15/17).

Community Services Director
City of San Rafael, CA
Posted October 5, 2017. Closes November 3, 2017.

Director Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Affairs
DeKalb County Government, Georgia
Posted October 17, 2017. Open until filled.

For more information: http://nacpro.org/Job_Posts

 

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