Parks are key community stakeholders when it comes to addressing the effects of climate change. From protecting water resources via green infrastructure practices to reducing urban heat island effect through citywide forest restoration - parks play a critical role in building climate resilient communities.
With limited resources, it can be a heavy lift for park and recreation agencies to incorporate principles of climate resiliency into their operations, programs and management. NRPA remains committed to supporting park and recreation agencies in meeting this challenge. Beginning spring 2017, NRPA kicked off a multiyear effort to examine and elevate the critical role that park and recreation agencies play in building healthy and vibrant, climate resilient communities. The following resources are intended to help agencies address the impacts of climate change on parks.
NRPA is equipping park and recreation professionals with the tools, knowledge and resources to plan, implement, maintain and advocate for green infrastructure projects within parks and across park systems. These projects address climate change impacts, provide social, environmental, economic and health benefits and advance equitable access to quality green spaces and parks. Watch the Creating Greener Parks for Health video for an overview of this work.
NRPA Report: Park and Recreation Sustainability Practices
To gain an understanding of the sustainability practices currently implemented by park and recreation agencies and of how agencies are contributing to sustainability in their communities, NRPA surveyed nearly 400 park and recreation agencies around the country. This report’s findings should inspire agencies to implement more sustainable practices at their parks and give all agencies a sense of pride to be a part of a large network of park and recreation agencies striving to create healthy, resilient and thriving communities through parks.
Read The Report
Resources for Climate Resilient Parks
NRPA created the Great Urban Parks Campaign to improve environmental and social outcomes in underserved communities through promoting and advancing green infrastructure stormwater management projects within parks.
NRPA partnered with Sasaki, leaders in design and planning, to develop Climate.Park.Change., a web-based toolkit that provides park and recreation professionals with a comprehensive examination of climate change risks and strategies. The toolkit compiles data on how climate change is affecting park and recreation spaces and offers physical design and community solutions to address climate impacts and other challenges. Research, interviews and testing with park and recreation professionals and agencies contributed to the tool. While this pilot toolkit focuses on the Intermountain West region, the threats and strategies are relevant to park and recreation systems across the country.
Other Tools and Resources