October 2017 Print


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Johnson County Park & Recreation District wins prestigious National Gold Medal Award
Courtesy of Johnson County, Kansas

KANSAS - It’s official: the Johnson County Park & Recreation District is one of the top park and recreation agencies in the nation!

This was confirmed on Sept. 26 when the agency was selected for the National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management for agencies serving a population over 400,000. The honor was announced during the National Park and Recreation Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about this terrific accomplishment,” said JCPRD Executive Director Jill Geller. “This award is not about a single park or a single program. It’s about teamwork, collaboration, and an outstanding commitment to public service. It’s clear that - collectively, as an organization - we can do anything! It truly took all of us working together for JCPRD to achieve this monumental goal. What a proud and historic day for our agency!”

Read more: http://www.jocogov.org/dept/park-and-recreation/news/2017/09/26/8915


5 finalists in the running for Metro Nashville parks director job
Courtesy of the Tennessean

By Joey Garrison

TENNESSEE - Five finalists are in the running to be hired as the next director of Metro Parks and Recreation, and each is currently working in Nashville's parks department.

Job interviews took place Wednesday for the final candidates seeking to fill the full-time director position to replace the recently retired Tommy Lynch.

The Metro parks board decided against a national search, seeking only local candidates for the position, which will pay between $94,754 and $138,770 annually, according to Metro's job posting.

Read more: http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/09/13/five-finalists-interviewed-metro-nashville-parks-director/661570001/


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County Leaders to Talk Future of Parks
Courtesy of the Traverse Ticker

By Beth Milligan

MICHIGAN - Divided opinions over the future of Grand Traverse County parks and controversial discussions over possible property sales will bring Parks and Recreation and county commissioners together in an effort to hammer out a shared vision for county parkland.

Both boards will meet in a special joint study session facilitated by MSU Extension Educator John Amrhein. According to a memo from Parks and Recreation Director Kristine Erickson and Planning Director John Sych, the purpose of the session is to “create general agreement on the future direction of county parks and parklands” and to “establish protocol for the potential disposition of county parkland.”

The meeting follows several months of county commission discussion on the possibility of selling parks – including Power Island, the Civic Center and Twin Lakes (pictured) – to pay down the county’s pension debt. Staff research later proved many of those properties would be highly difficult to offload due to deed and grant restrictions, and commissioners emphasized discussions were only conceptual. Still, public debate around the talks irked many Parks and Recreation commissioners, who felt their role as stewards of the park system was overlooked and their input ignored through the process.

Read more: https://www.traverseticker.com/news/county-leaders-to-talk-future-of-parks/


New director to lead San Mateo County Parks
Courtesy of HNBreview.com

By Sara Hayden

CALIFORNIA - Jonathan Gervais hails from the city of Belmont where he served as the city’s director of parks and recreation. He’ll assume duties for his new role in November, taking over for interim Director Sarah Birkeland, who stepped in for former Parks Department Director Marlene Finley upon her retirement.

Read more: http://www.hmbreview.com/news/new-director-to-lead-county-parks/article_52472f18-9e1f-11e7-b31e-0f3221dc9f48.html


Don't dismantle county parks system
Courtesy of JSonline.com

By Gerry Broderick

WISCONSIN - Milwaukee County is considering a resolution that could ultimately lead to the unstringing of our emerald necklace of parklands. The resolution, adopted 2-1 this week by the Milwaukee County Board's Parks, Energy and Environment Committee, would turn over management of Kulwicki Park, a county park, to the City of Greenfield.

This precedent could lead to the decentralization of our county park system by systematically returning suburban parks to the communities in which they reside.

Consolidation of services is hardly a new concept. It is exactly what our county did when it expanded its park system back in 1938 to include suburban parks.

By centralizing park services, we eliminated the need for 19 separate and more costly municipal park systems and, in doing so, reaped the tax savings resulting from the subsequent economies of scale. The proposal to turn over Kulwicki Park to Greenfield moves in precisely the opposite direction.

Read more: http://www.jsonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/09/21/broderick-dont-dismantle-county-parks-system/684927001/


Director Charmaine Kamaka and Deputy Director Ryan Chong submitted their resignations
Courtesy of Big Island Video News

The County of Hawaii confirmed on Monday that the Department of Parks and Recreation Director Charmaine Kamaka and Deputy Director Ryan Chong have resigned.

Rumor of the two department heads’ resignation circulated on Friday. According to county officials, Kamaka and Chong submitted their resignations, effective September 22, 2017.

These are the third and fourth resignations from Mayor Kim’s cabinet since he took office in December 2016.

Read more: http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2017/09/25/hawaii-county-parks-and-rec-directors-resign/


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NACo's House Testimony on Reducing Wildfire Risks and Improving Forest Resiliency

Commissioner and Vice Chair of NACo’s Public Lands Steering Committee Greg Chilcott (Ravalli County, Mont.) testifies before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to discuss potential solutions to reducing the federal government’s fire suppression costs and the need for improved forest management practices.

Watch the testimony:


Now Accepting Applications: 2018 NACo Achievement Awards

By Lindsey Maggard

For 48 years, The National Association of Counties (NACo) has recognized innovative programs in county government through the Achievement Awards Program – an excellent opportunity for counties to promote successes and share best practices.

As a non-competitive awards program, each application is judged on its own merits and not against other submissions. Awards are given in 18 categories and one outstanding program from each category will be selected as the “Best in Category." Winners of the Achievement Awards will be recognized onstage at the 2018 NACo Annual Conference and Exposition in Davidson County/Nashville, Tenn. from July 13 – 16, 2018.

For more information:


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Americans Engagement with Parks Survey

The vast offerings of the local park and recreation agency improve the lives of people throughout our nation. Americans on average visit their local park and recreation facilities twice a month, for many people, these visits are far more frequent. Regardless of the frequency of these interactions, nine in ten Americans agree that parks and recreation is a vital service delivered by their local government. It is no wonder the availability of high-quality parks and recreational amenities are a major factor considered when people pick a place to live and raise a family.

To harness Americans’ untapped passion for public parks and recreation, NRPA each year conducts a study explore Americans’ usage of parks, the key reasons that drive their use, and the greatest challenges preventing increased usage. This annual study probes the importance of public parks in Americans’ lives, including how parks rate against other service offerings of local governments. The survey of 1,000 American adults looks at frequency and drivers of parks/recreation facilities visits and the barriers that prevent greater enjoyment. In addition, the 2017 study took a special look at parks and recreation’s role in resiliency and their special responsibility to help their communities withstand and recover from natural disasters.

Read more: http://www.nrpa.org/publications-research/research-papers/Engagement/


Become a Parks and Recreation Trendsetter

By Sherry Howell

There is a subtle shift going on in America. Local communities are becoming hubs for family entertainment, and park and recreation offerings are evolving into much more than green parks, playgrounds and swimming pools. With public interest in local family entertainment destinations growing year after year, park and recreation facilities are perfectly positioned to offer a much needed, and increasingly appreciated, service to their communities.

But expectations are high. Major theme parks across the country attempt to “out do” each, evolving into immersive experiences based on virtual reality technology and theatrical environments. And, the fascination with extreme sports continues to grow exponentially, busting through generational, cultural and financial divides.

The demand for local park and recreation facilities to offer amenity-rich attraction experiences is undeniable, from thrill slides and aquatic offerings to ziplines and trampolines to full-blown water and adventure parks. There are so many entertainment options available, and consumers today expect larger-than-life, well-themed attractions.

Shifting to a hospitality mindset will help your organization anticipate the changing needs of your community members. But, how do park and recreation teams decide what new entertainment and enrichment services will be right for their communities? Here are three guiding principles every park and recreation department should use when considering which trends to bypass and which to ride!

Read more:


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Big Data Shows the Way to Healthier Playgrounds for All
Courtesy of Next City

By Meghan Talarowski and Taylor Chiang

Currently, the state of play and playgrounds in the U.S. is limited to colorful jungle gyms on rubber flooring, surrounded by fences; rarely do they attract children past elementary age. Adults spend their playground time primarily sedentary, passively observing, and the rare teen spotted in a playground is likely glued to a phone. Our playgrounds have become homogeneously safe and insidiously boring.

Playgrounds in other countries, particularly in Europe and the UK, have moved beyond this cookie-cutter model. A six-month study (by op-ed co-author Meghan Talarowski) of the play behaviors of almost 15,000 people in these playgrounds found that they had 55 percent more visitors, 14 percent more adults, and kids and teens were 16-18 percent more physically active when compared to playgrounds in the U.S.

Clearly, there is something about these playgrounds that gets people of all ages visiting, moving and playing in a way that we aren’t in the U.S. So how do we find out what makes these places tick? How do we discover what would get people outdoors, connecting with others, and improving their long-term physical, mental and social health through play.

Read more: https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/big-data-designing-healthier-playgrounds


Synthetic Turf: Score Big By Understanding the Basics
Courtesy of GP RED

By Erik Spring

Synthetic turf fields are everywhere from the NFL to peewee soccer fields. I have designed many synthetic turf athletic fields for school districts and public parks (see some projects here). After working with great turf manufacturers, athletic directors, and student and recreational athletes, I have a good idea of the pros and cons of the most common synthetic turf options.

Lace up your cleats and I'll help you understand synthetic turf and which turf will work best for your field. To keep this simple I'll focus on multi-use athletic turf. That's the turf that looks like a lush green lawn, not the thin green rug-burn inducing carpet.

Read more: https://www.dcla.net/blog/synthetic-turf-basics


Where Are All the Young Boaters?
Courtesy of the American Recreation Coalition

Where are all the young boaters/campers/hunters/skiers/and more? That’s a question many people in the outdoor recreation industry have been asking for years. A new article in the October/November issue of Boat U.S. Magazine by freelance writer Fiona McGlynn has the surprising answer about young boaters: they’re on the water, just like their parents.

The article reports that, while the number of young people participating in boating hasn’t been studied consistently, a U.S. Coast Guard study has found that 27% of Americans ages 25-34 participated in boating in 2012, compared to 23% of Americans ages 55-64. At the same time, boat ownership among 20- to 39-year-olds has plummeted, with approximately 41% fewer people in that age bracket owning boats in 2015 than in 2005.

So how are all the young people getting out on the water? The answer lies in the sharing economy. Millennials are increasingly choosing to borrow or rent big-ticket items like boats, rather than own them. A 2015 study done by Market Research Associates showed bareboat charters – where renters are responsible for crewing and provisioning the boat – are up 51% from 2012 to 2015.

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/y93xmy84


Too much Facebook causes 'virtual autism' claim experts
Courtesy of the Children and Nature Network

By James Billington

Spending too much time using Facebook could cause users to show signs of 'virtual autism' that has similar personality traits to those on the disorder spectrum, according to a study.

Psychologists at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia found that users, particularly children, who plug themselves into social media, browsing the likes of Twitter and Facebook showed an inability to read facial emotions and had a poor friendships as a result.

Read more: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/too-much-facebook-causes-virtual-autism-claim-experts-1641051


Translating Research into Practice
Courtesy of GP RED

GP RED is all about translating the latest research findings into usable information for practicing professionals. In that vein, we are proud to announce that GP RED faculty member and Director of the Healthy Communities Research Group Teresa Penbrooke was contracted through NC State University to author a new publication from NRPA in the Relevant Research for Practice Series. The report includes summaries of 33 peer-reviewed articles published between 2015 and 2017, with a focus on Conservation and Resiliency. Key topics include Community Resiliency and Capacity Building, Human Restoration from Natural Areas and Measuring and Communicating the Role of Conservation.

Read more: http://www.nrpa.org/contentassets/fb989eacc0f34a6dbef8ebe88dfad9c3/relevant-research-practice-report-2017.pdf


Request for Presentations - 2018 National Outdoor Recreation Conference
Courtesy of the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals

"Building Resilient Communities, Environments and Economies"

April 23 - 26, 2018 - Burlington, Vermont

The Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP) is proud to present the 2018 National Outdoor Recreation Conference: Building Resilient Communities, Environments and Economies. Outdoor recreation infrastructure and opportunities are now acknowledged as the catalysts for engaging current and future land stewards, building strong local economies, and contributing to a sense of community and belonging. Our location of Vermont provides an ideal location to see how investments in local conservation and outdoor recreation have contributed to a thriving economy and vibrant community.

The Program Committee is currently seeking examples from around the country that demonstrate how connecting people with the outdoors improves public health, reinvigorates local economies, and instills a life-long commitment to the environment. We are particularly interested in efforts that leverage multiple partners and relationships, and which bring together both recreation and non-recreation professionals on collaborative efforts to enhance and sustain outdoor recreation resources.

We are seeking presentations that provide tangible examples of HOW these relationships can and have occurred across the country and the IMPACTS of these collaborations. Specifically:

- Initiatives that display a depth of integration and cooperation between multiple partners (e.g., public health and recreation, economic development and recreation, community development and recreation, tourism and recreation), which contribute to greater resiliency for all partners, and/or
- Illustrate best practices in community development, recreation planning, growing diverse outdoor recreation participation, and/or economic strategies that benefit outdoor recreation that can be used to guide similar efforts in other locations.

Submittal Deadline: November 7, 2018

View the Request for Presentations: https://goo.gl/rEaU2V
Submit a Proposal here: https://goo.gl/9AnzUK

For more information: https://www.recpro.org/2018-conference


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Three New Mexico Counties Oppose Transfer of America’s Public Lands to the State
Courtesy of TRCP.org

Eddy, Harding, and Mora county commissioners join a growing list of local decision makers issuing official statements of support for the value of public lands in their communities

This local opposition to the state takeover of public lands supports every American’s ability to hunt, fish, and find solitude in the outdoors. Each county resolution recognizes the importance of public lands for basic economic activities.

A total of 29 pro-public-lands resolutions have been passed by county and municipal governments across the West in the past two years—eight have now been passed in New Mexico.

Read more: http://www.trcp.org/2017/09/21/three-new-mexico-counties-oppose-transfer-americas-public-lands-state/


Rep. Gianforte, GOP vote to gut the Wilderness Act
Courtesy of the Independent Record

By George Nickas

One thing most Montanans agree on is we love our nationally acclaimed Wildernesses and don’t want to see them harmed. Whether we hike, fish, hunt, ride horseback, or just stand in awe of these wild gems, Montana’s designated Wildernesses are the pride of our state. We might fight like hell over whether to designate this area or that one as new Wilderness, but the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, Selway-Bitterroot, Absaroka-Beartooths, and our other protected Wildernesses are sacred to Montanans of all stripes.

That is, apparently, all stripes except Congressmen Greg Gianforte, who just voted to effectively repeal the Wilderness Act and open places like “the Bob” to endless forms of habitat manipulation, predator control, road building, and anything else that might be construed as benefiting “hunting, angling, recreational, shooting, or wildlife “conservation.”

This stealth attack on the Wilderness Act comes in the form of H.R. 3668, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina. It would affect every Wilderness in the nation.

The SHARE Act would turn the Wilderness Act on its head allowing endless habitat manipulation and modification, including logging, chaining, herbicide spraying or myriad other offenses done under the guise of “wildlife conservation” or for providing hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting experiences. While such management might be fine for a Texas game farm, they represent a dramatic change for the Wilderness Act, which for over 50 years has required the preservation of wilderness character as the top priority for public Wildernesses.

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/y8aygkz6


Saving Trees in National Parks Damaged By Hurricane Irma
Courtesy of National Parks Traveler

Arborist Curtis Tilghman sees the national parks like no one else. He’s been in a tree over the grave of Thomas Edison. He’s cut branches under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. He’s repaired tree damage in the Chalmette National Cemetery and cut trees from an airboat at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

Tilghman is one of 11 International Society of Arboriculture certified arborists from the National Park Service working on the Hurricane Irma recovery, mobilized into “Arborist Incident Response teams,” better known as AIR teams. These strike teams of arboristsplay a critical role in reopening national parks after hurricanes, ice storms, floods and other disasters. Additionally, with their technical expertise in both arboriculture and rigging, they are often able to strategically prune and ultimately save trees that would otherwise be cut down during recovery operations.

Read more: https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2017/09/saving-trees-national-parks-damaged-hurricane-irma


Closing Trails for Fancy Events Sends the Wrong Message
Courtesy of Streetsblog

By John Greenfield

The Bloomingdale Trail, aka The 606, has raised not-unrealistic concerns about longtime residents along the corridor being priced out by rising property values, property taxes, and rents. While this part of town was already gentrifying well before the trail opened in June 2015, a recent report from DePaul’s Institute for Housing Studies indicates that the greenway has accelerated that trend. The study found that property values along the western stretch of the elevated path have gone up by 48.2 percent since construction began on the greenway.

If the city is going to gain local support for trail projects in these and other gentrifying or lower-income communities, residents need some guarantees that they’ll be able to stay in communities, so that they can enjoy the benefits of the trails in the future. In short, leaders need to convince people that a major purpose of new trails isn’t to fuel the development machine that gentrifies neighborhoods, replacing poor and working-class Chicagoans with wealthier ones.

With that in mind, the $200-a-plate meal that shut down the east end of the trail, between Wood Street and Walsh Park, on Friday evening seems awfully tone-deaf. Shutting down a section of a trail that runs through diverse communities for a white-tablecloth dinner for high-rollers sends a terrible message. It says that the authorities can, at their discretion, shut down this public amenity so that it can be used for the exclusive enjoyment of the well-heeled.

Read more: http://chi.streetsblog.org/2017/09/25/shutting-down-public-trails-for-private-dinners-sends-the-wrong-message-to-residents/


No Dogs Allowed at One Colorado State Park
Courtesy of Planetizen

By James Brasuell

"Dogs are barred from trails at Mueller State Park in Teller County [Colorado] once again following a summer experiment to gauge their impact on the land, wildlife and other visitors," reports Ellie Mulder in an article for The Denver Post.

Beginning June 1 of this year, dogs were allowed on specific trails of the park, with specific rules about leashes, waste, and encounters with wildlife. But the experiment rubbed too many park visitors the wrong way.

“We had reports of dogs chasing small wildlife such as foxes, squirrels and rabbits,” park manager John Geerdes said in [a press release]. “And we heard, over and over again, that people come here to hike because it is one of the last places they can do so and not encounter dogs. Many come for the wildlife experience and say dogs ruin that for them.”

Read more: https://www.planetizen.com/node/94937


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Parks and Recreation Instructor Training Certificate Program
Courtesy of the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands

This series of e-courses will present a comprehensive overview of the underlying philosophies and theories of adult education, as well as provide practical application techniques for instructors. This is a great opportunity to increase the capacity of your staff, volunteers, and community members through proven educational techniques developed by experts at Indiana University.

Eight on-line courses make up the certificate program:

- Explain why professionally designed and delivered training for employees of Parks and Public Lands Agencies is necessary and valuable.
- Construct lesson plans using learning objectives.
- Identify major factors that have an impact on the learning processes of the adult learners.
- Identify major factors that have an impact on the learning processes of the adult learners.
- Identify delivery methods and their applicability in learning contexts.
- Create a safe learning environment that emphasizes ethics and diversity.
- Develop a training evaluation plan using data gathered from training assessments.

Certificate Program Fee: $350

Register by October 31st and receive 10% off. To receive discount, use code ITC10 when registering for the certificate program (also good on the individual Instructor Training courses.)

For more information:


Continue Your Professional Development
Courtesy of the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands

All Courses Discounted 20% in October!

The annual National Recreation and Park Association conference has ended, the busy summer season is drawing down, now is the time to grow professionally with courses specifically designed for Parks, Recreation, and Land Management Professionals!

Over 100 courses, covering a wide range of topics, await you. Don't have time to take the course until January? No problem! Register now, enjoy the discounts, and complete the e-courses when it's convenient for YOUR schedule.

All courses designed by industry leading experts at Indiana University's Eppley institute for Parks and Public Lands.

Register by October 31st and receive 20% off all courses. To receive discount, use code EPPLEY4YOU when registering. Discount not available for Certificate Programs.

For more information: http://provalenslearning.com/


Webinar: Electric Bicycles: A Primer on the Technology & Land Manager Tools

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: http://www.americantrails.org/resources/ManageMaintain/webinar-electric-bicycles.html


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

Director of Community Services
City of Palo Alto, CA
Posted September 8, 2017. Closes October 8, 2017.

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


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