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 get announced at the end of April, and the Grand Award recipients get announced at the NRPA Annual Conference in the fall.

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges get selected for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both local and national levels.

Applications for the 2020 awards will open on January 6, 2020.

For additional information, please contact


2019 Gold Medal Award Finalists

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • Chicago Park District – Chicago, Illinois
  • East Baton Rouge Recreation & Park Commission (BREC) – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Fairfax County Park Authority – Fairfax, Virginia
  • Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities – Mesa, Arizona

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

  • City of Norfolk Recreation, Parks & Open Space – Norfolk, Virginia
  • City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department – Tampa, Florida
  • Greensboro Parks and Recreation – Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Metro Parks Tacoma – Tacoma, Washington

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

  • City of Greeley Culture, Parks and Recreation – Greeley, Colorado
  • City of Thornton Community Services – Thornton, Colorado
  • The Woodlands Township – Texas
  • Waukegan Park District – Waukegan, Illinois

Class IV (population 30,001 – 75,000)

  • City of Westerville – Westerville, Ohio
  • Coppell Parks and Recreation – Coppell, Texas
  • Glenview Park District – Glenview, Illinois
  • Lombard Park District – Lombard, Illinois

Class V (population less than 30,000)

  • East Goshen Township Parks and Recreation – West Chester, Pennsylvania
  • Glencoe Park District – Glencoe, Illinois
  • Rolling Meadows Park District – Rolling Meadows, Illinois
  • Vernon Hills Park District – Vernon Hills, Illinois

State Parks

  • Department of Environmental Protection – Florida State Parks
  • Maryland Park Service
  • Department of Environment and Conservation – Tennessee State Parks
  • Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission

Armed Forces Recreation Award

  • Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler – Okinawa, Japan
  • Naval Air Station Whiting Field – Milton, Florida
  • United States Army Garrison Bavaria – Grafenwoehr, Germany
  • USAG Rheinland-Pfalz – Kaiserslautern, Germany

2018 Gold Medal Award Recipients

Class I (population 400,001 and over)
Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation — Lake Worth, Florida

Class II (population 150,001 – 400,000)
City of Arlington Parks and Recreation — Arlington, Texas

Class III (population 75,001 – 150,000)
Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department — Bloomington, Indiana

Class IV (population 30,001 – 75,000)
Town of Castle Rock Parks and Recreation — Castle Rock, Colorado

Class V (population less than 30,000)
Homewood-Flossmoor Park District — Flossmoor, Illinois

Armed Forces Recreation Award
Naval Air Station Pensacola — Pensacola, Florida



NRPA Gold Medal Recipients: 2000-2018


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.

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