The National Gold Medal Award honors public park and recreation agencies and state park systems throughout the United States and armed forces recreation programs worldwide 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 is managed and governed by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The National Gold Medal Award Program is sponsored by Musco Lighting, LLC.

Click here to access the Public Agency, State Park and Armed Forces Gold Medal Resources.

Questions? Contact goldmedal@aapra.org.

Each completed application is independently judged by a panel of five (5) park and recreation professionals selected by AAPRA based upon their management experience, size and type of agency, geographic location, and diversity. From the pool of applications, the judges select four (4) agencies in each population category, armed forces, and state parks as a Finalist.

The four (4) Finalists in each category were announced in April. The Finalist and Grand Plaque Awards were presented at the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference.

2021 Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award Recipients

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • Cleveland Metroparks — Cleveland, Ohio

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

  • City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Department  — Tampa, Florida

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

  • Provo Parks and Recreation — Provo, Utah

Class IV (population 30,001 to 75,000)

  • Coppell Parks & Recreation — Coppell, Texas

Class V (population less than 30,000)  

  • Vernon Hills Park District — Vernon Hills, Illinois

Armed Forces Recreation

  • Naval Base Coronado — San Diego, California

State Parks

  • Delaware State Parks — Delaware

 

2021 Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award Finalists

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • Chicago Park District, Chicago, Illinois
  • Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, Virginia Beach, Virginia

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

  • Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation, Chester, Virginia
  • Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Des Moines, Iowa
  • City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Department, Tampa, Florida
  • City of Wichita Park & Recreation, Wichita, Kansas

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

  • City of New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Department, New Braunfels, Texas
  • Provo Parks & Recreation, Provo, Utah
  • South Bend Venues Parks & Arts, South Bend, Indiana
  • Waukegan Park District, Waukegan, Illinois

Class IV (population 30,001 to 75,000)

  • Centerville-Washington Park District, Centerville, Ohio
  • Coppell Parks & Recreation, Coppell, Texas
  • Grapevine Parks and Recreation, Grapevine, Texas
  • Park District of Oak Park, Oak Park, Illinois
  • Class V (population less than 30,000)    
  • East Goshen Township Parks and Recreation, West Chester, Pennsylvania
  • Deerfield Park District, Deerfield, Illinois
  • Town of Fountain Hills Community Services, Fountain Hills, Arizona
  • Vernon Hills Park District, Vernon Hills, Illinois

Armed Forces Recreation

  • Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Kings Bay, Georgia
  • Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Florida
  • Naval Base Coronado, San Diego, California
  • U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, Grafenwoehr, Germany

State Parks

  • Delaware State Parks, Delaware
  • Ohio Division of State Parks & Watercraft, Ohio
  • Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee
  • Texas State Parks, Texas

2020 Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award Recipients

View the 2020 virtual presentation.


Class I
 (population 400,001 and over)

  • Metroparks Toledo Toledo, Ohio

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

  • City of Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department Greensboro, North Carolina

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

  • Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Carmel, Indiana

Class IV (population 30,001 to 75,000)

  • Decatur Park District — Decatur, Illinois 

Class V (population less than 30,000)

  • City of Green River Parks and Recreation Department Green River, Wyoming

Armed Forces Recreation Award

  • Fort Riley Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Community Recreation Division Fort Riley, Kansas

 

2020 Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award Finalists

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • Dallas Park and Recreation — Dallas, Texas
  • East Baton Rouge Recreation & Park Commission — Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Metroparks Toledo — Toledo, Ohio
  • Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities — Mesa, Arizona

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

  • Greensboro Parks and Recreation — Greensboro, North Carolina
  • City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department — Tampa, Florida
  • City of Henderson Parks and Recreation — Henderson, Nevada
  • Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department — Des Moines, Iowa

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

  • Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation — Carmel, Indiana
  • City of New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Department — New Braunfels, Texas
  • Thornton Parks, Recreation & Community Programs — Thornton, Colorado
  • Arlington Heights Park District — Arlington Heights, Illinois

Class IV (population 30,001 to 75,000)

  • Decatur Park District — Decatur, Illinois
  • Coppell Parks and Recreation — Coppell, Texas
  • Centerville-Washington Park District — Centerville, Ohio
  • Evanston Parks, Recreation and Community Services — Evanston, Illinois

Class V (population less than 30,000)    

  • Green River Parks and Recreation  Green River, Wyoming
  • East Goshen Township Parks and Recreation  West Chester, Pennsylvania
  • Vernon Hills Park District  Vernon Hills, Illinois
  • Valley City Parks and Recreation — Valley City, North Dakota

Armed Forces Recreation

  • U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley — Fort Riley, Kansas
  • U.S. Army Garrison RP Kaiserslautern — Kaiserslautern, Germany
  • U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria — Grafenwoehr, Germany
  • U.S. Army Garrison Fort Knox — Fort Knox, Kentucky

2019 Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award Recipients

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • Fairfax County Park Authority — Fairfax, Virginia

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

  • Metro Parks Tacoma — Tacoma, Washington

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

  • The Woodlands Township — Texas

Class IV (population 30,001 to 75,000)

  • City of Westerville — Westerville, Ohio

Class V (population less than 30,000)

  • Glencoe Park District — Glencoe, Illinois

State Parks

  • Department of Environmental Protection — Florida State Parks

Armed Forces Recreation Award

  • Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler — Okinawa, Japan

2019 Gold Medal Grand Plaque 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 to 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 to 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 to 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 Grand Plaque Award Recipients

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation — Lake Worth, Florida

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

  • City of Arlington Parks and Recreation — Arlington, Texas

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

  • Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department — Bloomington, Indiana

Class IV (population 30,001 to 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

 

 

Disqualification and Revocation

AAPRA reserves the right to disqualify a National Gold Medal Award application if in AAPRA’s sole discretion it determines that the application does not contain truthful information, is contrary to the standards or policies of AAPRA, or violates applicable laws, or if the agency has acted contrary to the standards or policies of AAPRA, or violated applicable law or could reflect negatively on AAPRA, the National Gold Medal Program, its partner NRPA and the national sponsor, Musco Lighting, LLC.

AAPRA reserves the right to revoke any Finalist or Grand Plaque Gold Medal award if in AAPRA’s sole discretion, it determines that the agency acted contrary to the standards or policies of AAPRA or acted in violation of applicable laws or could reflect negatively on AAPRA.

If you have questions about this award or the application process, please direct them to goldmedal@aapra.org.

Gold Medal Award Resources

NRPA Gold Medal Recipients: 2000–2019

 

For additional information please contact goldmedal@nrpa.org.

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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