Our Mission Statement
To advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people.
Our Core Values
- Quality and continuous progress in all our efforts
- A culture of enjoyment, fun and celebration
- Preservation of the heritage of parks and recreation
- The importance of networking, collaboration and partnership
- Transparency in our decision-making
- Commitment to inclusion and diversity
- Service excellence to members and stakeholders
- Stewardship of the natural environment and park and recreation infrastructure
On August 14, 1965, the NRPA was created when five organizations merged to form a single entity. The five merging organizations were all involved in the support of park and recreation service providers in the public sector and included the National Recreation Association (NRA), American Institute of Park Executives (AIPE), American Recreation Society (ARS), the National Conference on State Parks (NCSP), and the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (an affiliate of AIPE). Their purposes for merging are stated best in the October 1964 Proposal for Merger:
“It is the expressed belief of the officers of the American Institute of Park Executives, American Recreation Society, National Conference on State Parks and National Recreation Association that each organization reaffirm its strong conviction that the ever-increasing needs and demands for recreation and park facilities and services can best be served through the selective and unified strengths of lay and professional persons. It is further recognized and reiterated that a united and concerted effort on the part of all aforementioned organizations will result in more effective services. To this end it is believed that these organizations should collectively utilize their collective talents and resources by joining into one service and professional association dedicated to the task of unification effort in the recreation and park field.”
NRPA's heritage and philosophy are an outgrowth of pioneering work by its predecessors. The history of NRPA is a history of parks and scenic open spaces. It is the story of children and people of all ages seeking self-expression and fulfillment in an urbanized and industrial society. It is the story of visionary men and women who believed in the importance of recreation to the growth and development of the individual and the nation. It is the story of providing sustainable programs and environments for generations to come.
Since the merger, the National Recreation and Park Association has been serving the needs of citizens and professionals through a variety of products and services.
The history and heritage of the public park and recreation field is preserved by the Joseph Lee Memorial Library and Archives.