Americans Look to Parks and Rec to Provide Support During Natural Disaster Response

(April 1, 2019)

Survey respondents agree local governments should invest to ensure communities are resilient to natural disasters

Ashburn, Va. (Apr. 1, 2019) — According to a recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the majority of Americans agree it’s important for parks and recreation to play a role in disaster response and recovery, such as wildfires, hurricanes and floods. Specifically, Americans look to their local park and recreation agency to serve as an emergency distribution center (66 percent) and provide shelter during an emergency (62 percent).

Respondents selected different priorities during an emergency depending on the region of the country in which they reside. Sixty-eight percent of respondents in the Southern region would look to recreation/community centers to be used as shelters during or after disasters versus 57 percent of respondents in the Northeast. Fifty-three percent of respondents in the Midwest are more likely to look to local park and rec agencies for equipment and personnel to respond to immediate threats versus 46 percent of respondents in the West.

“Park and recreation agencies across the country provide critical assistance to communities during emergencies,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “Local governments need the necessary funding to prepare for emergency response efforts during natural disasters, which includes leveraging park and recreation facilities and personnel.”

In the 2017 NRPA Americans’ Engagement with Parks Survey, which probes how Americans interact with parks, four in five Americans indicate they are concerned about their community’s ability to withstand or recover quickly from natural disasters. In addition, 87 percent of survey respondents agree that the local government and park and recreation agency should make the needed investments to ensure their community is more resilient to natural disasters.

This poll is part of NRPA’s Park Pulse, a continuing series of monthly surveys that gauge the public’s opinion on topics relating to parks and recreation. To explore previous Park Pulse survey results, visit   

To view the interactive charts with the survey results, click here.

To view the full-size infographic, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit   


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit