The National 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 National 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.


2018 Gold Medal Award Finalists

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • East Baton Rouge Recreation & Park Commission (BREC) — Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Louisville Parks and Recreation — Louisville, Kentucky
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board — Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation — Lake Worth, Florida

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

  • Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation — Arlington, Virginia
  • City of Arlington Parks and Recreation — Arlington, Texas
  • City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department — Tampa, Florida
  • Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District — Beaverton, Oregon

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

  • Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department — Bloomington, Indiana
  • City of Evanston, Parks, Recreation and Community Services — Evanston, Illinois
  • Greeley Culture, Parks and Recreation — Greeley, Colorado
  • Lawrence Parks and Recreation — Lawrence, Kansas

Class IV (population 30,001 – 75,000)

  • Centerville-Washington Park District — Centerville, Ohio
  • City of Waukesha Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department — Waukesha, Wisconsin
  • Lombard Park District — Lombard, Illinois
  • Town of Castle Rock Parks and Recreation — Castle Rock, Colorado

Class V (population less than 30,000)

  • Glencoe Park District — Glencoe, Illinois
  • Homewood-Flossmoor Park District — Flossmoor, Illinois
  • Williston Parks and Recreation District — Williston, North Dakota
  • Windsor Parks, Recreation & Culture — Windsor, Colorado

Armed Forces Recreation Award

  • Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan
  • Naval Air Station Pensacola — Pensacola, Florida
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard — Kittery, Maine
  • United States Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba


Gold Medal Award Resources


2017 Gold Medal Award Recipients

Class I (population 400,001 and over)
Johnson County Park & Recreation District, Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Class II (population 150,001 – 400,000)
Grand Prairie Parks, Arts & Recreation Department, Grand Prairie, Texas

Class III (population 75,001 – 150,000)
Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic & Cultural Affairs Department, Roswell, Georgia  

Class IV (population 30,001 – 75,000)
Bismarck Parks and Recreation District, Bismarck, North Dakota

Class V (population less than 30,000)
Itasca Park District, Itasca, Illinois

Armed Forces Recreation Award
MCCS – Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina

State Park Systems
Arizona State Parks & Trails

NRPA Gold Medal Recipients: 2000-2017


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.