Parks and Recreation Helps Communities Achieve Sustainability

Ashburn, VA (January 30, 2023)

Sustainability in Parks and Recreation Report Now Available

The nation’s 10,000 park and recreation agencies have the potential to implement community-wide sustainability measures that improve the environment while promoting human and ecosystem health and cost savings. A new report by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) highlights the activities and programs park and recreation agencies provide to create more sustainable and resilient communities.

NRPA’s Sustainability in Parks and Recreation report highlights agency sustainability goals, sustainability practices, financial and political support for these efforts, and the challenges and barriers that hamper greater success in sustainability efforts.

Based on the responses from nearly 200 park and recreation agencies, the report finds:

  • Park and recreation leaders place high importance on strategies that protect the natural habitat, embrace park infrastructure for stormwater management and lower agency water usage.
  • Forty-three percent of park and recreation agencies operate under a formal sustainability plan.
  • Park and recreation agency sustainability plans typically focus on protecting the natural habitat, reducing and/or eliminating the use of carbon-based energy, reducing landfill waste, utilizing park infrastructure for stormwater management and reducing water usage.
  • The most common park and recreation agency sustainability actions are planting trees, transitioning to native and climate-adaptable plants and trees, and updating and retrofitting buildings and other park infrastructure.

“Implementation of sustainable practices is of utmost importance locally and worldwide,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of research, evaluation and technology. “Through their leadership and collaboration with other local public and private partners, park and recreation professionals play a vital role in promoting sustainable communities.”

Park and recreation professionals and their agencies build vibrant, healthy, resilient communities through amenities and programming that promote better health, greater wellness, broader equity and longer-term sustainability. Park and recreation infrastructure, including quality parks and green spaces, helps mitigate the impact of severe weather and climate change while agencies develop resources to improve tree canopy equity, help native habitats flourish and reduce the climate impacts from their own activities.

To access the report, visit

To learn more about NRPA, visit


About the National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit