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 Finalists

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and National Recreation and Park Association are very pleased to announce the 2017 Gold Medal Award Finalists.

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • BREC — Baton Rouge, La.
  • Johnson County Park and Recreation District — Shawnee Mission, Kan.   
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board — Minneapolis, Minn.   
  • Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department — Lake Worth, Fla.  

Class II (population 150,001 – 400,000)

  • Arlington Parks and Recreation — Arlington, Texas
  • City of Grand Prairie — Grand Prairie, Texas
  • Metro Parks Tacoma — Tacoma, Wash.
  • Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District — Beaverton, Ore.

Class III (population 75,001 – 150,000)

  • Arlington Heights Park District — Arlington Heights, Ill.
  • City of Evanston Parks, Recreation and Community Services — Evanston, Ill.
  • City of Mountain View Community Services Department — Mountain View, Calif.
  • City of Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs — Roswell, Ga.  

Class IV (population 30,001 – 75,000)

  • City of Alpharetta Recreation and Parks — Alpharetta, Ga.
  • Bismarck Parks and Recreation District — Bismarck, N.D.
  • Lombard Park District — Lombard, Ill.
  • City of Wheat Ridge Parks and Recreation — Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Class V (population less than 30,000) 

  • Glencoe Park District — Glencoe, Ill.
  • Homewood-Flossmoor Park District — Flossmoor, Ill.
  • Itasca Park District — Itasca, Ill. 
  • Windsor Parks, Recreation and Culture — Windsor, Colo.   

State Park Systems

  • Arizona State Parks and Trails — Phoenix, Ariz.  
  • Tennessee State Parks, TN Department of Environment and Conservation — Nashville, Tenn.
  • Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission — Olympia, Wash.
  • Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails — Cheyenne, Wyo.

Armed Forces Recreation

  • MCAS Cherry Point — Cherry Point, N.C.
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard — Kittery, Maine
  • Marine Corps Ground Combat Training— Twentynine Palms, Calif.
  • Fort Carson — Fort Carson, Colo.


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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