The Gold Medal Award honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management and innovative approaches to delivering superb park and recreation services with fiscally sound business practices.

The Gold Medal Award Program includes seven classes: five classes based upon population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class for state park systems in odd numbered years. At the beginning of each calendar year, agencies are invited to submit applications for consideration, with a deadline of mid-March. Finalists are announced at the end of April, and the Grand Award recipients are announced at the NRPA Annual Conference in the fall.

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both local and national levels.

2017 Gold Medal Award Recipients

Class I (population 400,001 and over)
Johnson County Park & Recreation District, Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Class II (population 150,001 – 400,000)
Grand Prairie Parks, Arts & Recreation Department, Grand Prairie, Texas

Class III (population 75,001 – 150,000)
Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic & Cultural Affairs Department, Roswell, Georgia  

Class IV (population 30,001 – 75,000)
Bismarck Parks and Recreation District, Bismarck, North Dakota

Class V (population less than 30,000)
Itasca Park District, Itasca, Illinois

Armed Forces Recreation Award
MCCS – Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina

State Park Systems
Arizona State Parks & Trails

Gold Medal Award Resources

2016 Gold Medal Award Recipients

Class I
Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland, OH  

Class II
Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, Cary, NC

Class III
Allen Parks and Recreation Department, Allen, TX    

Class IV
Willamalane Park and Recreation District, Springfield, OR

Class V
Frankfort Square Park District, Frankford, IL  

Armed Forces
USCG Base Kodiak, AK


For additional information please contact


The Gold Medal Awards are presented by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, and proudly sponsored by Musco Lighting.

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