Want trends? Check out the January Issue of Parks & Recreation

By Elizabeth Beard | Posted on January 23, 2013

After three years of accumulating data from park and recreation agencies across the country, PRORAGIS now shows national trend data on vital statistics such as budgets, staffing, programming, and facilities. And wow, some of these trends are really stark (staffing levels are almost half what they were a few years ago, especially at larger agencies) while others are more upbeat (capital budgets are bouncing back). Check out how your agency compares in our annual special report.

Even research on a smaller scale than PRORAGIS provides tangible results for park and recreation agencies. Today’s researchers use new technology and new techniques to quantify the benefits of parks and recreation to communities—hard numbers that can justify budget, programming, and facility decisions, whether at the departmental or local government level. Explore some of the potential possibilities and pitfalls, meet some up-and-coming researchers actively working on answering the field’s most pressing questions, and listen in on the Network Buzz about how agencies are using research to improve their operations.

Well, we didn’t tumble over the fiscal cliff but that doesn’t mean the road is exactly smooth for the next Congress. New challenges sometimes bring new opportunities, like securing stable funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance Program, fixing the flaws in the last transportation bill, and passing new initiatives for urban parks and connecting children to nature. See what’s in store for parks and recreation legislation in this month’s Advocacy column.

Regular readers of the Law Review column are familiar with how assumption of risk from open and obvious hazards provides some liability protection for landowners such as park agencies. But what about when the hazard is on an active playing field? How much responsibility do players have to look out for their own safety?

Finally, we asked golf course managers and superintendents around the country to share their machinery wish lists for 2013. Even cash-strapped courses are finding creative ways to finance their dream machines, while keeping their current equipment running as smoothly as a putt across a freshly rolled green.

Read these stories and more in the January issue of Parks & Recreation!

Elizabeth Beard is the Managing Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine.