Research Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

How many park and recreation agencies does NRPA represent?  

Approximately 4,100 state and local publicly funded departments are members of NRPA.

Are there any recruiters/headhunters for parks and recreational professionals?  

Currently, there are no recruiters or headhunters that specifically cater to park and recreation professionals.

What are the types of programs and services offered by NRPA?  

NRPA offers a wide range of programs and services some of which include membership services, certification and educational opportunities. NRPA is also involved in research and advocacy efforts. 

Does NRPA pay indirect costs or overhead?

NRPA policy does not allow for funding of overhead, indirect costs, facilities and administration charges, or general and administrative expenses.

Are there national standards that define parks, greenways, etc.?  

For more information on park and open space classifications, please visit NRPA’s Knowledge Center. After logging into the Knowledge Center, the NRPA Parks and Open Space Classification document is located in the Planning folder. 

Where can I find more information on the value of parks and recreation?

NRPA has published several research papers on the value of parks and recreation

How do I cite NRPA research papers?  

There are several referencing styles that can be used to cite NRPA papers. Below are links to referencing styles that are frequently used:  

 Do you know of any comprehensive GIS database for parks that includes all 50 states?  

Currently we do not have a comprehensive GIS database for parks that includes all states; however, NRPA is currently in the process of establishing a GIS database through the PRORAGIS initiative. This initiative is a work in progress and NRPA is aiming to achieve this type of data in the near future. 

Questions on Standards

Where can I find updated national standards?  

NRPA is currently under the process of collecting data and generating reports on park and recreation departments through an online database known as PRORAGIS that will eventually provide park and recreation agencies a tool to benchmark their operation and management services. 

Example of types of questions that can be answered by PRORAGIS:

  • How many maintenance staff is required per developed acre?      
  • What percentages of park and recreation agencies have a skate park as part of their facility?    
  • How many acres of parkland is sufficient per 1000 of the population?    
  • What is the recommended size and dimension for a golf driving range?     

Questions Answered via NRPA Connect 

There are some questions that are best answered by our members through our online discussion/information sharing forum, NRPA Connect. These types of questions are usually based on the experiences that peers have had in the field.

Examples of types of questions that can be answered by NRPA Connect:     

  • Where can I find resources and grants to start up a recreation department?    
  • Is there any information on how other cities handle the issue of letting Food Trucks operate in public parks?    
  • Where can I go to for funding for repairing or building a new community pool in my neighborhood?     

Examples of Questions found in the Knowledge Center 

Where can I find policy documents relating to park and recreation agencies?  

NRPA encourages a proactive learning community where agencies share their diverse management and operating practices. The Knowledge Center is a recent addition to NRPA’s E-learning environment. Members can view documents, policies, and resources used and shared by agencies around the country. Documents currently available in the Knowledge Center include: strategic plans, program guides, RFPs, codes and ordinances.   

Member agencies are welcome to share their relevant materials – if they are essential to you, they may be a great reference for others. Send your documents to

What are the national salaries for recreation professionals?  

In the NRPA Knowledge Center under the Research folder, you will find a paper titled NRPA Professional Compensation Report. The paper is based on a nation-wide study of typical salaries and benefits earned by professionals working in large, typically urban, park and recreation agencies.

Is there any information on how to administer fees and charges for park and recreation agencies?

Also in the Knowledge Center under the Research folder, you can find a paper titled Parks & Recreation Fees and Charges Survey Report: 2010. NRPA in conjunction with NC State University conducted an online survey designed to provide a national perspective on parks and recreation department’s fees and charges. 

Questions on Published Papers

How can I access NRPA published papers and reports?  

NRPA research papers and reports can be found on the NRPA website. The papers can also be found in the Knowledge Center.