Gold Medal Awards

Gold MedalThe 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.

2016 Gold Medal Award Finalists

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and National Recreation and Park Association are very pleased to announce the 2016 Gold Medal Award Finalists.

Class I
BREC, Baton Rouge, LA
Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland, OH  
Johnson County Park and Recreation District, Shawnee Mission, KS
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, MN

Class II
Arlington Parks and Recreation Department, Arlington, TX
Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, Cary, NC
Grand Prairie Park, Arts and Recreation, Grand Prairie, TX
Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District, Beaverton, OR

Class III
Allen Parks and Recreation Department, Allen, TX  
Arlington Heights Park District, Arlington Heights, IL
Mountain View Community Services, Mountain View, CA
Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic & Cultural Affairs, Roswell, GA  

Class IV
Bismarck Parks and Recreation District, Bismarck, ND
Decatur Park District, Decatur, IL
Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation, Olympia, WA
Willamalane Park and Recreation District, Springfield, OR

Class V
Frankfort Square Park District, Frankford, IL
Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, Flossmoor, IL
Itasca Park District, Itasca, IL  
Middleton Public Lands, Recreation & Forestry, Middleton, WI  

Armed Forces
Fort Carson, CO
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME
U. S. Army Garrison Fort Riley, KS
USCG Base Kodiak, AK

Parks & Recreation Magazine Articles

2016 Gold Medal Finalists Announced
July 2016 Issue
Summary: Join us in congratulating the 2016 Gold Medal Finalists.

Golden Myths
By Mike Abbaté, Mary Beth Thaman
February 2016 Issue
Summary: Gold Medal Head Judge, Mike Abbaté and Gold Medal Committee Chair-Elect, Marybeth Thaman dispel several of the myths that have grown up around the Gold Medal Award.

The National Gold Medal Award Program for Excellence
By Mike Abbaté, Mary Beth Thaman
January 2016 Issue
Summary: What are the four main benefits for embarking on a Gold Medal Award journey?

Gold Medal Award Resources

2016 Gold Medal Award Live Chat Transcript

Before You Get Started.

Judging Criteria for Responses.

Success Stories: Innovative Program Ideas.

2015 Gold Medal Grand Award Recipients

Class I   The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Riverdale, MD

Class II   Plano Parks & Recreation, Plano, TX

Class III   City of St. George Leisure Services Department, St. George, UT

Class IV   Park District of Oak Park, Oak Park, IL

Class V   Oak Brook Park District, Oak Brook, IL

Armed Forces Recreation   Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Installations - West, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendelton, CA

State Parks   Delaware State Parks    

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.

Gold Medal Logos

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