August 2017 Print


Alicia Bradford, Director
Wayne County Parks Division, Michigan


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Save the Date! - 2018 NACPRO Summer Meeting

In 2018 NACPRO will be conducting their awards banquet and county park tour in Nashville, Tennessee from July 13 – 16, 2018. More details will be shared once they are developed.


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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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New colorblind inclusive signs at Metroparks
Courtesy of

By Kaylie Spotts

TOLEDO, OH - This time of year has people heading out to the parks in droves to enjoy some time in nature. However, when someone gets lost, it can become dangerous.

That’s why Metroparks of the Toledo Area is in the process of installing new signs that make the trails safer for a wide array of people. These signs will still have the usual color dot and mile marker on them. But now a trail abbreviation makes them readable to a very specific segment of the population…

“In doing our research, we found nearly 10%, like 8%, of men and a half-percent of women are color blind," explained Scott Carpenter, a spokesperson for the Metroparks. "So color markers don’t help them. So we’ve also marked each trail marker with the initials of the trail.”

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13 parks projects will move ahead after county drops soccer stadium funding
Courtesy of the Charlotte Observer

By Caroline Metzler

NORTH CAROLINA - Mecklenburg County voters approved millions for park projects in a 2008 bond referendum. For almost a decade, 13 of the projects remained unfunded.

That changed Wednesday night, when county commissioners approved full funding for all the projects in the capital budget.

The decision came as part of a deal to cut the county’s role in the heavily debated Major League Soccer stadium proposed for the site of Memorial Stadium. Commissioners voted 5-3 to deed the site to the city of Charlotte – and to fully fund the remaining 2008 projects in the capital budget.

Jim Garges, director of the county Park and Recreation department, said no one believed that completing the 2008 park bond projects would take this long, but the 2008 recession caused a large part of the delay.

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American County Platform and Resolutions

By Deborah Cox

The American County Platform is NACo’s permanent policy document. When necessary, it is amended at the annual meeting. Divided into substantive policy areas covered by ten policy steering committees, the platform reflects the philosophy and broad objectives of NACo’s membership.

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Download the 2017 Summer Advocacy Toolkit:


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A Performance Scorecard for Parks and Recreation
Courtesy of GreenPlay LLC

By John Rainey and Donald L. Jones, PhD

Parks and Recreation agencies play an important role in the quality of lives of the communities they serve. In that regard, every park and recreation agency should be concerned with the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations. Strategic planning and operational performance plans help agencies organize for success. Developing objective measures, targets, and initiatives can help agencies be more accountable to their constituents and provide a perspective on the performance of the organization.

In recent years, many parks and recreation agencies have begun to adopt a Balanced Scorecard (BSC) approach to accurately measure the full scope of their operations.

Traditionally, public and private companies used financial performance as their measure of success. But in the public sector, financial considerations can have an “enabling or restraining role,” and are not the only criterion for assessing strategic outcomes. There is no “bottom line” for most government agencies. Outcomes are more difficult to validate, because government agencies are not driven by profit and traditional measures like Return on Investment. The “balanced scorecard” adds additional, non-financial strategic measures to the mix, which enables agencies to align outputs with outcomes and strategy. It can provide evidence of progress toward goals and can validate policy.

The system enables an organization to link big picture, strategic elements such as mission and vision with operational elements such as strategic objectives, performance measures, targets, and initiatives.

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Outdoor adventures, family fun: Why America loves camping
Courtesy of USA Today

By Gary Garth

Camping is an astonishingly popular summertime activity. On summer holiday weekends — Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day — many if not most campgrounds are filled. Those that accept reservations are booked months in advance. But weekdays are busy, too.

According to the 2014 American Camping Report which was prepared by the Outdoor Foundation with help from outdoor retail giant the Coleman Company, 41 million Americans went camping in 2013. That’s 14% of the United States population.

What’s the attraction?

“For me, I just love being in the campground and seeing all the campfires, hearing the sound of children playing, staring at the stars and, if I’m lucky, perhaps hearing the sound of wildlife,” said Boyd Smith, whose day job as a Baptist minister doesn’t keep him from heading to the woods every time he gets the chance. “I just love it.”

But Osborne suspects there is another draw, one that might reflect societal anxiety outside the campground. Campgrounds are generally safe and camping is a family-friendly pursuit.

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Glamping: Adding Creature Comforts to Campsites One Flat-Screen TV at a Time
Courtesy of

By Brian Bull

Summer means camping, which can bring up images of drooping tents, wet sleeping bags, and swarms of mosquitos. But many campsite owners are offering amenities to make the experience more comfy, even luxurious. And while critics say “glamping” defeats the purpose of getting away from it all, others say the trend has always been around. KLCC’s Brian Bull visits some glamp sites in Oregon.

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Next Best Thing or Passing Fad? Know when to act on the latest trends
Courtesy of GreenPlay LLC

By Alaina Brandenburger

In the parks and recreation industry, activity and programming trends change as regularly as the seasons. Some of them eventually stick around to become departmental mainstays, including health and wellness programs, organized sports and other fitness related activities. However, others seem to fizzle out as quickly as they appear, such as inline skating or hacky sacks. Incorporating trends into your parks and recreation curriculum can be a successful means of introducing new users to your system, but how do you determine whether or not to offer these new programs and/or services?

Identifying Trends

There are many ways to stay current on trends sweeping through the field of parks and recreation. Perhaps the easiest method is to read trade publications and newsletters that routinely highlight new movements in facilities and programming. Others include watching changes in other aspects of our society and seeing how our field might be affected – for example, the accessibility of drones in the marketplace, or the shifting demographic make-up of our communities.

Some agencies are more invested in identifying and implementing trends that may be beneficial to their agency. In the March 2017 issue of Parks and Recreation magazine, published by NRPA, Keith Hobson and Katherine Stokke of the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District in Oregon contributed an article titled, “Staying Ahead of the Curve: Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s Future Trends Team.” The article highlights the District’s development of a Trends Team, which is tasked with identifying macro trends that can be used to direct strategic planning for the future.

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1.5 Million More Americans Lured by Fishing, New Study Reveals
Courtesy of

America has spoken, and they have one thing to say: "I'd rather be fishing." With 1.5 million more participants than the previous year, fishing now has more than 47 million Americans hooked. That's the key finding of the 2017 Special Report on Fishing, now available from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF).

Created in partnership with The Outdoor Foundation, the annual report provides one of the most comprehensive looks at the state of U.S. fishing and boating participation. Amassing data from more than 24,000 respondents, the results uncover a breadth of trends and insights.

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How does your agency compare to others?
Courtesy of GreenPlay LLC

Find out by getting the latest edition of the 2017 NRPA Agency Performance Review, the annual review of data and insights for park and recreation agencies in the United States. The Review (previously known as the NRPA Field Report) summarizes the key findings from NRPA Park Metrics, NRPA’s benchmarking tool that assists park and recreation professionals in the effective management and planning of their operating resources and capital facilities.

No two park and recreation agencies are the same. They serve different residents with different needs, desires and challenges and have different access to funding. The 2017 NRPA Agency Performance Review imparts a wealth of valuable benchmarks and insights that can inform you with insights to help make the best decisions for your agency and your community.

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A NATURAL PLAY REVOLUTION: Hello, dirt and sticks. Old-fashioned fun is back in style.
Courtesy of the Child and Nature Network

By Jennifer Bristol

A nature play revolution is sweeping the nation, and Texas is leading the charge. Anarchy zones, natural play areas, play leaders and “pocket” trails are just some of the innovations being deployed to encourage more active play outside — and not just on traditional equipment like slides and swings in huge structures.

Natural playscapes are designed to give children a sense of place and a connection to nature while fostering active, imaginative play. Childhood development leaders, architects, educators and urban planners have worked in tandem to create plans for these inventive spaces. Joe Frost at the University of Texas College of Education, has championed the movement for three decades. He teamed up early with the children and nature movement to expand his message beyond educators: Play is the work of children, and, through play, learning occurs.

“We can create extraordinary places for children to discover themselves and the world around them,” writes designer Rusty Keeler in Natural Playscapes, Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul. “We can create places for children that tickle the imagination and surprise the senses. But first we have to remember the places and spaces of our own childhood.”

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Improving Public Health through Public Parks and Trails: Eight Common Measures
Courtesy of the CDC

Only one-half of U.S. adults and less than one-third of youth get recommended amounts of physical activity. Inadequate physical activity accounts for $117 billion in annual health care costs. Limited access to safe and convenient places for physical activity makes such activity hard for some people.

Parks and trails can be gateways to healthy living by promoting holistic health. Parks provide opportunities for physical activity, stress reduction, social interaction, and environmental sustainability. The Community Guide now recommends access to parks and trails in combination with improved walk/bike routes as a public health intervention to increase physical activity.

Park and trail system planners, public health professionals, community leaders, and researchers all need to know what does and does not work well with regard to park access and use and how it relates to improved community health. The National Park Service (NPS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated to identify eight common measures that can be used to link parks and trails to public health goals.

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A Detailed Inventory Is Critical to Revitalizing OHV Trail Systems
Courtesy of NOHVCC

By Dave Halsey

Second in a series… Breathing new life into a decades-old OHV park takes patience, planning, and a professional, step-by-step approach to ensure that the final product meets the needs of OHV riders, as well as park and land managers.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources hired Colorado-based Great Outdoors Consultants (GOC) to create a detailed Park Development Plan. In early May, the GOC team and all stakeholders gathered around a picnic table at the OHV park. It was the start of a 3-day inventory and analysis of the park, its past and its potential for the future. In-depth discussions were held on the current conditions of the park, its boundaries and features, issues and constraints, the riders who were using it, and where they come from. Then GOC’s team of Drew Stoll, David Chester, and Ron Potter rode the trails with Park Managers Dale Witzenburg and Randy Van Maaren. Using sophisticated GPS units and GPS-enabled digital cameras, they documented every possible attribute, including: trails, roads and motocross tracks; trail length, width, surface, and condition, signage and difficulty level; safety and drainage issues; parking, camping, and picnic areas; fencing, power lines, water; and access.

“It’s a very cognitive exercise. We generally ride slowly, from one intersection to the next, and stop as frequently as needed to capture the features on our inventory,” said Stoll, GOC Executive Director. “As we’re moving along, creating GPS tracks of the trail alignment, we’re also looking for signs, culverts, conditions, anything that would be an issue or improvement, or an opportunity for riders. We’re capturing it all on GPS and with photography as well. We want a good photographic documentation of the whole park, but also the exact location of every sign, gate, spots of erosion, any of the 30 or so attributes we have in the work plan.”

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6 architects and designers won a competition to design low-tech, outdoor play areas. Here are the results...
Courtesy of

By Justine Testado

Nestled within the historic Reford Gardens in Grand-Métis, Quebec, the 18th annual International Garden Festival is currently open for all to enjoy. In response to the all-too-familiar “nature-deficit disorder” that plagues much of society these days, participants in this year's competition had to create inventive “Playsages” that would inspire, if not remind, today's tech-savvy kids and adults to spend more time outdoors.

From tree stumps to climb on to a soothing soundscape garden, here's a look at the fully built winning schemes that were announced this past January.

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Iowa Data Bike
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

The Des Moines, IA MPO, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, recently deployed the Iowa Data Bike. This bike-based data-collection vehicle uses an electric-assist bicycle, an iPhone, and an iPhone app designed to detect pavement conditions, and then to collect pavement-condition data for all paved trails within Central Iowa. This data will help inform a long-term maintenance strategy for the trail network. The Data Bike will also collect 360-degree imagery along trails for Google Street View. Unlike the street network, for which pavement-condition data are regularly collected, there are no pavement-condition data being collected for the paved trail network. Nor is there a means for collecting trail pavement-condition data, as the equipment used on roadways is too large and requires too high of speeds to be used on trails.

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These 5 States Spend the Most on the Outdoors
Courtesy of Outside Online

By Jill Sanford

In April, the Outdoor Industry Association predicted that outdoor recreation in the United States is worth $887 billion and responsible for 7.6 million American jobs. On Wednesday, the trade group released individual reports that break down those numbers by state, with some surprising revelations.

Each state report reveals the impact of outdoor recreation on consumer spending, state and local tax revenue, and employment. This updates data released in 2012 and now includes 70 percent survey data, conducted by Southwick Associates, a market research, statistics, and economics firm. The 2017 reports also factor in more types of activities, like mountaineering and surfing. One big takeaway is that outdoor spending is on the rise throughout the country. And the industry’s influence is also on the rise—in Texas, for example, more direct jobs depend on outdoor recreation (411,000) than on the oil and gas industry (212,000).

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Congress Wants to Boost Renewable Energy Development and Give Conservation a Cut of the Proceeds
Courtesy of

By Julia Peebles

The Trump administration and Republican leadership in Congress have an aggressive agenda for the next few years: To reform the tax code, balance a federal budget, increase funds to build a wall along the United States-Mexico border, and pass a one-trillion-dollar package that addresses America’s crumbling infrastructure while providing stability for rural communities. The infrastructure package is going to be decorated like a Christmas tree with bills and amendments, but some ornaments will light up more than others.

One of these may be the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act, which unanimously passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee last week. The bill, which was introduced by Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and co-sponsored by 38 representatives from both sides of the aisle, would promote economic growth in the energy development sector while providing for conservation from a portion of the leasing revenues.

The bill would achieve a win-win scenario by thoughtfully balancing renewable energy development and habitat needs through a robust permitting system and creating a consistent stream of revenue to fund essential fish and wildlife management projects in proximity to renewable energy projects.

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Outdoor Recreation Groups, Outdoor Businesses Applaud Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Outdoor Recreation on America’s Public Lands
Courtesy of the Outdoor Industry Association

On Jul 26, 2017, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a bipartisan bill that will update processes and policies on our national public lands to improve the outdoor recreation experience. The Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act (RNR) aims to reduce barriers to outdoor recreation access, and improve public land management for Americans who enjoy skiing, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, and paddling on public lands and waters.

Like last year’s REC Act, the RNR Act is a commonsense bipartisan plan for improving outdoor recreation on our public lands and growing the outdoor recreation economy. Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association are particularly excited by the inclusion of a new organic designation, National Recreation Areas, that will offer tailored management for landscapes with highly valuable outdoor recreation resources.

“Millions of Americans enjoy outdoor recreation on our national public lands,” said Adam Cramer, Executive Director of the Outdoor Alliance. “We are pleased to see the bipartisan effort of Senator Wyden and Chairman Bishop to streamline and improve outdoor recreation access for all Americans. The Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act provides commonsense tools for improving access to outdoor recreation. It will foster better tailored land management and help protect more public land for its recreation value as well protecting habitats, cleans air and water.”

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Macon, Georgia, Striped a Good Network of Temporary Bike Lanes and Cycling Soared
Courtesy of USA Streetsblog

By Angie Schmitt

What would it take to get people biking in midsized Macon, Georgia? Short, disconnected bike lanes haven’t done much, but a recent experiment demonstrated the power of a safe, connected network of bike infrastructure.

In the past, the city government had put up three non-contiguous blocks of bike lanes and then claimed no one rides. Macon Connects set out on a mission to change that perception. With eight miles of temporary bike lanes, the increase in bike traffic was astounding, proving that if you build it, they will ride.

Bicycle counters were set up along four streets where Macon Connects striped bike lanes. The average increase in bike traffic after the lanes were installed was more than 800 percent, according to Newtown Macon.

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Mysterious art that’s meant to be found
Courtesy of the Littleton Independent

By Tabatha Deans

COLORADO - Glass artist Corey Silverman, is used to creating special items at the request of his clients. But when Rich Neumann, marketing and outreach supervisor for Westminster’s Parks and Recreation department, walked into the studio last year, Silverman said he was a little surprised by Neumann’s request.

“He asked us to create, basically, a pile of poo. They wanted to plant the poo around Standley Lake Park, and let people find it, as part of a program they created,” said Silverman. “The first attempt was too realistic looking, so we decided that since it was the poo of a mythical creature, it should have rainbows in it.”

Silverman, a Wheat Ridge resident, is co-owner of The Furnace, a studio in Lakewood that produces custom glass pieces of art. In addition to the colorful poo, Silverman and his team also created 300 glass eggs for Neuman.

Their artwork was hidden along the Standley Lake portion of the Rocky Mountain Greenway Trail. Community members were encouraged to walk the trail in search of the eggs and poo — all a part of an initiative to get people out into their local parks.

Initially, parks staff would hide one or two of the pieces each day on the trails around Standley Lake Park. The program was such a hit, Neumann returned to The Furnace this year, requesting another 400 eggs and 50 more piles of poo and have extended beyond Standley Lake.

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A California counter-attack could ward off land transfers
Courtesy of High Country News

By Tay Wiles

The morning after the 2016 presidential election, California’s legislative leaders issued a message that has set the tone for the state under the new administration, under President Donald Trump. “Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land,” it said. Since then, many Californians have pushed back against conservative policies on everything from immigrant rights to the environment. One of those offensives is Senate Bill 50, which, after sailing through committee this spring and summer, aims to stop the federal government from transferring or selling off public lands to corporations.

The Public Lands Protection Act is part of a series of three bills introduced in late February called the “Preserve California” package, meant to preempt any efforts by the Trump administration to weaken environmental laws. The bill would allow California’s State Lands Commission first dibs on lands the federal government wants to sell, and would let the state have a say in transferring to a new owner.

In the Golden State, the land transfer movement never really caught on. Ryan Henson of California Wilderness Coalition says the bill is a message that says, “We’re not going to allow a big land transfer.”

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Webinar: The Role of Youth Leadership & Stewardship in Connecting Children to Nature

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM ET/1:00 PM CT

Registration is recommended.
Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cultivating youth leadership and stewardship capacity is a valuable—and often untapped—resource for city leaders who are working to equitably connect communities with nature. Through strategic engagement activities, cities can develop the next generation of diverse outdoor and conservation leadership. Youth leaders can play a key role in ensuring younger children have access to various opportunities to experience the benefits of nature. Cities can also invite youth leaders to engage in stewardship activities in nearby nature—parks, trails, gardens, schoolyards and streams—allowing youth to view themselves as change-makers and organizers in creating accessible, welcoming public lands. Learn from several cities within the CCCN cohort on strategies they employed to strengthen youth leadership & stewardship in their cities.

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Crime Prevention through Environmental Design
Courtesy of NICP

2017 & 2018 Classes

5 Day Basic CPTED Course
- El Cajon, CA - Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2017
- Grand Rapids, MI - Sept. 11-15, 2017
- Durham, NC - Oct. 23-27, 2017
- Corvallis, OR - Nov. 6 - 10, 2017
- Dallas, TX - Nov. 6 - 10, 2017
- Kernersville, NC - Nov. 13-17, 2017
- Riverside, CA - Dec.4 - 8, 2017
- Las Vegas, NV - Feb.26 - Mar. 2, 2018
- Greenville, SC - May 7 - 11, 2018
- Las Vegas, NV - Sept. 17 - 21, 2018

3 Day Advanced CPTED Course
- Greenville, SC - Sept. 18-20, 2017
- Las Vegas, NV - Oct. 9-11, 2017
- San Luis Obispo, CA - Nov. 28-30, 2017
- Las Vegas, NV - Apr. 23 - 25, 2018
- Greenville, SC - Oct. 8 - 10, 2018
- Las Vegas, NV - Nov. 5 -7. 2018

2 Day CPTED Specialized Topics
- Greenville, SC - Sept. 21-23, 2017
- Las Vegas, NV - Oct. 12-13, 2017
- Las Vegas, NV - Apr. 26 - 27, 2018
- Greenville, SC - Oct. 11 - 12, 2018
- Las Vegas, NV - Nov. 8 - 9, 2018

For more information:


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