Keeping California’s Beaches Open For All

Robert García | February 1, 2016

 While California has the largest and most diverse system of state parks and cultural sites in the nation, most parks are not where most people are – especially in urban areas like Los Angeles where lower income neighborhoods tend to be “park poor” and there are disparities in access to open space based on race, ethnicity and poverty.  The beach helps fill this void – it is where people of all ages, cultures and incomes come together with family, friends and nature. For 40 years, the California Coastal Act has helped ensure beach access is open to all.

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5 Key Takeaways from Park Support Study

Kevin Roth | January 19, 2016
NRPA's latest research report is out and the findings are an important tool for our profession to use when telling the story about the power of local public parks. The theme of this research is clear in the title: “Americans’ Broad-Based Support for Local Recreation and Park Services.” The message is unambiguous yet compelling: Americans are passionate about their local parks. Read more

How to Use the Economic Impact of Local Parks to Your Advantage

Melissa May | January 15, 2016

As a park and recreation professional, you already know that public parks are important contributors to the standard of living in our neighborhoods, with benefits spanning from environmental gains and improved health to being a central meeting place that brings residents across ages and social strata to connect to nature. But in a time of scarce resources and tight fiscal budgets, you have to fight for funding to continue your mission.

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Our Top 5 Park and Rec Predictions for 2016

Rich Dolesh | January 4, 2016
Just before 2015 turned to 2016, a number of NRPA staff members got out the crystal ball and put together a list of what they felt would be likely to happen in parks and recreation in 2016.  Based on their knowledge of the field and current events, here are NRPA’s top five predictions for parks and recreation in 2016. Read more

The Top Park and Rec Stories of 2015

Roxanne Sutton | December 29, 2015

Nationally, 2015 was a turbulent year to say the least. Looking back at the headlines, we see terror attacks, mass shootings, plane crashes and more. Despite the tragedies, parks and recreation continued to serve their communities to the fullest—providing them safe places to get healthy, enjoy nature and come together.


Among the national headlines, parks and recreation had their own. From dealing with emerging technologies to expiring legislation, here are the top stories from our field in 2015. 

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The Heartwarming Truth Behind Those Big Numbers

Roxanne Sutton | December 22, 2015
Every year in our annual report, we highlight the accomplishments made by NRPA members through our partnerships and programs. These numbers are impressive and are a great way to show the collective impact parks and recreation makes across the country. Numbers can be cold, however. Luckily, we don’t just collect numbers, we collect stories too. Read more

5 Things We Learned from the Economic Impact of Local Parks Study

Kevin Roth;Melissa May | November 24, 2015

NRPA released the results of the first economic impact study capturing the tremendous nationwide contribution that thousands of local and regional parks make to the U.S. economy. America’s local and regional public park agencies generated nearly $140 billion in economic activity and supported almost 1 million jobs from their operations and capital spending alone in 2013. Beyond the headline numbers, there are five things that you should take away from The Economic Impact of Local Parks study.

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Lauren Hoffmann | November 23, 2015

It never ceases to me amaze me how quickly Thanksgiving comes around. It literally feels like yesterday we were saying goodbye to summer and getting ready for the NRPA Annual Conference. But alas, Thanksgiving is here.

If you have read the NRPA blog the last few years we started a tradition with our Thanksgiving-themed blog posts that we hope you look forward to just as much as you do that special pie or side dish at your Thanksgiving feast! And this year, the tradition continues.

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2016 Spending Package Offers Opportunity to Boost Parks and Recreation

Oliver Spurgeon III | November 19, 2015
With sequestration caps pushed aside for now, and a spare $50 billion to spend, Congress is in a mad dash to pass a spending package and avoid another shutdown before December 11, 2015. Since 2011, sequestration has wreaked havoc on state and local budgets and has threatened important investments in parks and recreation that keep Americans healthy and protect the integrity of our air, land and water. The debate in Congress these next couple of weeks is crucial for parks and recreation. Read more

Update on LWCF and Active Transportation

Dave Tyahla | November 6, 2015
It has been a busy week on Capitol Hill, with important action being taken involving two of NRPA’s most important policy priorities – the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and continued federal funding for active transportation options, including biking and walking. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of all the action. Read more

Tales From a Park and Rec Kid

Dirk Richwine, CPRE | October 23, 2015
If you grew up participating in activities at your local parks and recreation, then you probably have vivid memories of the people you met, lessons you learned, sports you played, camps you went to, etc. There is something about being a “park and rec kid” that many of those experiences stick with you as you get older and continue through your life. As part of NRPA’s 50th Anniversary, we have been challenging people to share their Park and Rec Kid story with us. It is these stories that serve as inspiration for people of all ages and walks of life to get out and use their local parks and recreation. Read more

What Happens in Vegas Doesn't Always Stay in Vegas

Melissa May | October 14, 2015
After the exhibit hall doors are shut, the final session ends, and the convention center halls are empty, it’s time to reflect on the successes and challenges of the event. More than 1,200 people evaluated, ranked and commented on their experience in an online survey. Not only will we use this feedback to continue to improve this annual event, we also want to share it so you can see the results. Here are some of the highlights. Read more

No Action Taken on CNR and LWCF — What Does This Mean?

David Tyahla | October 1, 2015
September 30 has come and gone, and no action has been taken on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization or the Land and Water Conservation Fund. So what does this mean for parks and recreation? What are the next steps? NRPA's Senior Government Affairs Manager, David Tyahla breaks it all down. Read more

What the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking Means for Parks and Recreation

Rachel Banner, MPH | September 11, 2015
As we all know, living a physically active lifestyle is one of the most important steps people can take to improve their health. On September 9, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, released his Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities titled Step it Up!, explaining to the nation that, “Walking is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to build up physical activity in your life.” The report not only encourages people of all abilities to get out and take a brisk walk every day but it also calls on professionals and advocates from many sectors — including parks and recreation — to create safe, supportive environments for everyone to walk or wheelchair roll. Read more

Overtime Changes and What They Mean for Parks and Recreation

Oliver Spurgeon III | August 21, 2015
Last month, the Obama administration released its long-awaited update to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA)overtime regulations. FLSA guarantees overtime pay of 1.5 times an employee’s regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours a week. The proposed rule would increase wages for 21.4 million workers by raising the overtime salary threshold to $50,440 -- an amount that is in line with the Obama administration’s “fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” theme.
So what’s the background of all this and what is the potential impact of the change in rule?  
Here are some details to help make sense of it all. 
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