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 is managed and governed by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) with NRPA providing day-to-day administrative services. The Academy Board of Directors makes all policy decisions regarding the National Gold Medal Program with assistance from the Gold Medal Committee. The National Gold Medal Award Program is sponsored by Musco Lighting, LLC.

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. Four (4) finalists in each category are announced at the end of April, and the Grand Plaque Award recipient in each category is 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 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management are now closed. If you have questions about this award or the application process, please direct them to goldmedal@nrpa.org.

 


The American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration (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.

For additional information, please contact goldmedal@nrpa.org.

 

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 – 400,000)

  • Metro Parks Tacoma – Tacoma, Washington

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

  • The Woodlands Township – Texas

Class IV (population 30,001 – 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 – 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 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 – 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: 2000-2019

 

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.

News Stories

11.25.20Parks and Recreation Update

New trees bring stormwater benefits before full maturity

11.25.20Public Communication and Outreach

Partnership creates interactive map of N.J. city's parks

11.25.20Public Communication and Outreach

Fla. city is first to adopt app-based "Magical Park"