November 2017 Print


Paul D. Connell, Director of Special Facilities
Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, Florida


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Looking for good advice on a challenge you are facing?  Do you have a novel solution to share?  Send us the details and we will publish it in the next NACPRO News.


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Nashville Metro Parks Score State Awards
Courtesy of

By J.R. Lind

TENNESSEE — Metro Parks won six statewide awards during the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association's 66th annual conference in Franklin, including the prestigious Four-Star Award.

The department's disABILITIES Division won the Four-Star Award for Athletic Programming for their accomplishments in athletic/sports events for those with disabilities. The department has offered a supervised recreation program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 40 years and partners with local agencies including the Sports 4 All Foundation, Special Olympics Nashville, and Best Buddies Vanderbilt to offer special activities throughout the year. TRPA's Four Star Awards recognizes the best overall programs, facilities and marketing strategies.

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Registration is Now Open for the 2018 NACo Legislative Conference

March 3–7, 2018 | Washington Hilton Hotel | Washington, D.C.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference brings together over 2,000 elected and appointed county officials to focus on federal policy issues that impact counties and our residents. This event is a can't-miss opportunity to elevate the county voice at the national level. Attendees will participate in second-to-none educational sessions, interact with federal officials and descend on Capitol Hill, delivering the message that federal policies matter to counties and counties matter to America.

For more information:


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Preliminary Results of REDline Survey on Drones in Parks
Courtesy of GP RED

A REDline Survey was conducted in the September of 2017. It was sent out to approximately 5,700 parks and recreation professionals. 92 surveys were returned so far. This survey is part of GP RED’s ongoing efforts to collect and share information of interest to practitioners in parks, recreation, and health. The survey is the first of three about technology and evolving equipment usage in parks and recreational spaces and facilities. The other two are on technology-based activities like geo-caching, Pokemon, Instagram and other social media-based information-sharing modalities (#2), and Electric/motorized Bikes (#3).

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GP RED Invites you to take our REDLine Survey on Technology-Based Recreational Activities

As part of GP RED’s ongoing efforts to collect and share information of interest to practitioners in parks, recreation, and health, we would like to send you three brief surveys in the next several weeks. The primary topic of the surveys is technology and evolving equipment usage in parks and recreational spaces and facilities.

Other developing technology-based activities like geo-caching, Pokemon, Instagram and other social media-based information-sharing modes that are changing behavior and creating new demands on facilities and resources

Take the survey:


New Michigan Law Treats E-Bikes as Regular Bikes
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

Michigan Radio reports a new law signed in Michigan classifies electric-assisted bicycles as regular bikes rather than as mopeds that require licensing and insurance. The legislation says electric bikes can be operated on any road open to regular bikes, including dedicated bike lanes and the shoulder. It also groups electric bikes into three categories based on speed and whether pedaling is required to propel the bike. Some types of electric bikes will be allowed on paved, non-motorized trails unless local authorities object. Others will be allowed only if the local authorities say yes. No electric bikes are allowed on natural surface trails unless the local authorities permit it.

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REI Releases The Path Ahead Report
Courtesy of the Children and Nature Network

If you spend time in nature, odds are you’ll see the importance of the outdoors. You’ll feel the calming power of simply being outside, the connection to something bigger. And it’s not surprising, because we used to spend our entire lives there. But unfortunately, today many of us are disconnected from our natural habitat.

The average American spends 95 percent of their life indoors. As a result, we are becoming an indoor species, which comes with consequences. Our health and well-being may suffer. And the less we value our outdoor spaces, the less likely we are to protect them. It’s a slippery slope.

The long march indoors is not inevitable. We’re at a crossroads. Our decisions now will dictate our future. The Path Ahead captures trends that affect the future of life outdoors. It doesn’t present all the answers. It’s designed to provoke discussion by exploring nine ‘brutal truths’ juxtaposed with nine ‘beautiful possibilities,’ which we’ll highlight on REI social media through Thanksgiving.

Together, they paint a picture of what could happen if we stay inside as a species, or #OptOutside. It’s time to choose.

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The Rush to Storm-Proof Waterfront Parks
Courtesy of City Lab

By Jessica Leigh Hester

New York City’s parks are green oases amid glass, concrete, and steel. But though they feel transportive, they’re often not far away from the city’s edge—and particularly those parts of the city’s silhouette that are bordered by waves. Roughly half of the land managed by the NYC Parks Department is directly on the water. That proximity to the shoreline makes these blissful parcels especially vulnerable to flooding, storm surges, and other consequences of wild weather.

In a new set of guidelines, the agency is codifying best practices for designing landscapes to handle future onslaughts—which experts anticipate continuing to slam into the city.

The new guidelines, which are more blueprints than prescriptions, range from design suggestions to horticultural recommendations for beaches, boardwalks, playgrounds, esplanades, and more—all with the goal of buoying local ecosystems, warding off storm damage, and promoting resiliency.

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Breaking Down the Silos - A new series on bridging the barriers between trail user groups
Courtesy of American Trails

American Trails exists to help the trails community to communicate, share information, and work together to build the strength of our message that trails move the world.

Toward that end, American Trails introduces an ongoing series called “Breaking Down the Silos,” where we discuss the happenings and ideas that help to bridge the barriers between the different trail user groups and bring all members of our trails community together to ensure positive change in our trail world.

Mike Passo, American Trails’ executive director, recently attended the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) Conference in Manchester, NH.

“It was a truly superb event,” Mike said. “While there, I learned a lot about what moves the motorized trail community, what their struggles are, and how other constituency groups can work with NOVHCC.”

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Time for Appropriate Cost Recovery – Now, More Than Ever
Courtesy of GreenPlay, LLC

By Chris Dropinski, CPRE, and John Rainey

Although Parks and Recreation enjoys strong support from government officials (across both major parties), communities faced with stagnant or reduced budgets from traditional funding sources may consider parks and recreation funding as being “more discretionary than other local government-provided services such as education, police, fire, hospital/health and transportation.”.

Today, more than ever, parks and recreation agencies need to look at how they allocate financial resources, and consider developing new areas where they can recover costs, or a portion of costs, through the use of revenues that supplement taxes.

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A Real Balancing Act
Courtesy of GreenPlay, LLC

By Don L. Jones, John Rainey, and John Drew

More and more parks and recreation departments need to deal with “program cost-recovery” initiatives to make up the difference between what they are being allotted in their budgets and the actual cost of providing services to community participants. Hence, financial accountability (sustainability) is the norm for most parks and recreation departments these days. “What does our bottom line look like this month?” may not be the first question asked at a board meeting or by a supervisor. However, it’s not far behind.

While all organizations are under pressure to meet their budgets, not-for-profit parks and recreation departments are, by definition, not subject to making a profit. Having said that, we are seeing a shift in accountability for the public sector with more communities wanting to know exactly what they are getting for their tax dollars.

What we don’t want to happen is for departments, boards, and the community in general to lose sight of all of the other key areas that make for a well-rounded department and, hence, a happy and healthy community. Elements such as participant satisfaction, safety, employee satisfaction, and operational efficiency all contribute to a high-functioning department that will help ensure the support of the community.

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California moves to block national park fee increases
Courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

By Angela Hart

California moved Wednesday to block the Trump administration’s proposal to more than double entrance fees at popular national parks, including Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks, arguing the fee increases would limit public access for low-income people and communities of color.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joined by 10 other attorneys general, said in a letter that the proposed increases “threaten to distance (Americans) from the places in which so many experience the natural wonder of our great and unique nation. ... We cannot let the most popular and awe-inspiring national parks become places only for the wealthy.

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Park Permit for Location-Based 'Pokémon Go' Games
Courtesy of NRPA

By James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.

The first runaway hit in this augmented reality game genre, Pokémon Go, arrived on the scene in July 2016. “Augmented reality” (AR) refers to the digital enhancement of physical senses, most commonly sight. Mobile games, like Pokémon Go, use location-sensing technology and AR imagery to create a game world where players interact with digital content in designated geolocations, called “game stops,” to discover virtual creatures that are algorithmically generated in response to players’ locations. Pokémon Go quickly became one of the world’s most popular mobile game applications. Across the country, the unanticipated popularity of Pokémon Go drew thousands of visitors to public parks and places to play the game.

As described in the case of Candy Lab Inc. v Milwaukee County, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113122 (E.D. Wis. 7/20/2017), Milwaukee County claimed those playing Pokémon Go had “trashed Milwaukee County parks, stayed after park hours, caused significant traffic congestion and made excessive noise.” Milwaukee County cited reports of inadequate bathrooms for parkgoers, unauthorized vendors in the park, parking violations and significantly increased traffic congestion. In response, the county adopted an ordinance, which gave rise to the federal court opinion described herein. The challenged ordinance required those offering AR games to apply for event permits and to secure garbage collection, security and medical services, as well as insurance. Offering a game without a permit could result in a fine or jail time.

Game developer, plaintiff Candy Lab, wanted to offer Texas Rope ’Em to county residents to use in Milwaukee County parks, but it did not want to incur the fees associated with obtaining the services necessary to secure a permit. Candy Lab did not apply for a permit. Instead, it challenged the ordinance in federal district court as a violation of its First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

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Why does Oregon need an ‘Office of Outdoor Recreation,’ and how will it work?
Courtesy of the Statesman Journal

By Zach Urness

It would be easy to believe that Oregon's newly-created Office of Outdoor Recreation is a needless extravagance.  The state's snow-capped volcanoes and salmon-filled rivers already fuel a $10.8 billion tourism industry, support 141,000 jobs and host a population more likely to spend time outdoors than the national average.

But dig deeper into Oregon’s relationship with the outdoors and you’ll find some concerning trends, officials say. The percentage of Oregonians who take part in outdoor recreation has actually declined in some cases, said Chris Havel with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

And the economic benefits from outdoor recreation, while booming in places like Bend and Portland, have lagged behind in other parts of the state. "Why is that, and what can we do about it?" Havel said. One answer is the Office of Outdoor Recreation, which was created by the Oregon legislature last session and was signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown.

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A New Green Future Is Building on Lake Erie
Courtesy of Next City

BY Daniel J. McGraw

In 2019, Lake Erie will be the proving waters for the region’s first offshore wind farm, developed by LeedCo in partnership with a new for-profit company, Icebreaker Windpower. That company was created by the Norway-based Fred.Olsen Renewables, which has numerous onshore and offshore wind energy projects in Europe.

Named Icebreaker for its six 3.45-megawatt wind turbine foundations that have the ability to break the ice during the winter, the pilot project is expected to start construction next year on Lake Erie, just 8 miles northwest of downtown Cleveland. By fall 2019, the first 479-foot-tall turbines are expected to be up and running, generating power that will flow through a 12-mile submerged transmission line to a new substation at Cleveland Public Power’s Lake Road.

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Walk/Bike/Places 2018 - Program Themes Announced

Next year Walk/Bike/Places turns 20, and we couldn't have picked a better place than New Orleans to celebrate this milestone. We recently returned from the Crescent City where we met with the local host committee about developing mobile workshops, identifying service projects, and finding the perfect place for our closing party. Details are forthcoming; we think you'll be pleased.

Please note that our Call for Proposals will open mid December 2017. In a departure from previous conferences our breakout program will be organized by outcomes. Respondents to our call for proposals will be asked how their proposals supports:

- Transportation that is accessible and sustainable.
- Cities that are fair and equitable.
- Streets that are safe and beautiful.
- Public process that is meaningful and inclusive.
- Planning that is smart and just.
- Places that are for people.

For more information:


Webinar: Build a Sustainable Trail that Lasts 100 Years
Courtesy of CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking

Date: December 7, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm ET
Presenter(s): Michael Osborne (Five Rivers MetroParks)
Host: American Trails
Fee: Free for members, $55 nonmembers

We plant trees for our Grandchildren to enjoy, why should we expect any less of the trails we build? The challenges of balancing ecological protection, physical management and social demands on natural surface hiking, equestrian, mountain biking and multi-use trails can be overwhelming. However, it is possible to meet these challenges by creating sustainable trails that are designed to last into the next century. We'll cover the critical components and processes necessary for truly sustainable trail design and construction, along with engaging all your agency departments, stakeholders, user groups and volunteers. What is a sustainable trail?

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Courtesy of the Eppley Institute

Micro-Learning courses are a great tool to convey a specific, succinct message. Micro-Learnings invite the learner to interact with short bursts of content relating to one topic area or concept with the course and are intended to be completed in 15 minutes or less. Unlike a full-blown e-course, the evaluation component of a Micro-Learning involves a brief quiz or knowledge check as opposed to an in-depth, graded assessment. Eppley’s online course catalog features over 20 Micro-Learning courses ranging in scope from the history of Indiana State Parks and foundational concepts related to the National Park Service to integration of public health concepts in parks and recreation master planning and disability awareness. Eppley’s Micro-Learning courses are offered at no cost to the learner. Explore the Eppley Institute’s catalog of Micro-Learning e-courses on ProValens today.

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

Parks Superintendent
Polk County Conservation, Iowa
Posted October 19, 2017. Closes December 3, 2017.

Administrator of Parks and Recreation
Lee's Summit, Missouri
Posted November 10, 2017. Closes December 11, 2017.

Executive Director
Manhattan Park District, Illinois
Posted November 10, 2017. Closes December 13, 2017.

Executive Director
Hoffman Estates Park District, Illinois
Posted November 14, 2017. Closes January 8, 2018.

For more information:


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