Parks and recreation is vital to our health and well-being and create stronger communities that can protect and better recover from environmental, social and economic challenges. Every day, local park and recreation professionals and champions are working on innovative, long-term solutions to ensure that our communities have fair and just access to great parks and greenspace, recreation facilities and programs. They are helping to close critical gaps in quantity of parks, proximity of parks and connection to parks — all while ensuring that these places are safe, inclusive, culturally relevant and welcoming for everyone.
NRPA is uniting these local leaders, advocating for policy change and advancing local solutions through research, tools and catalytic grants. Through these areas of work, we seek to create systems-level changes in policy, planning and funding, and we support place-based projects and plans that are driven by communities. Join us as we work to ensure access to equitable and resilient parks for communities across the United States.
Park Access Network
NRPA brings together a network of park access champions committed to driving long-term change to address park access and equitable sustainability solutions. Through a learning series, weekly posts and bimonthly group calls, network members share and learn strategies, discuss different approaches and develop connections with peers across the United States.
Network Calls and Resources
The network calls are an opportunity to connect with and learn from your peers who are just as passionate as you about addressing park access and quality. Led by park and recreation professionals and other experts, these calls offer a more informal opportunity to discuss, share knowledge and pose questions related to the topic of the call.
Join the Park Access Network on NRPA Connect to engage with other park access champions,stay up to date on upcoming Network events and access resource to help your efforts.
Events occur bimonthly on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 2 p.m. ET.
Ensuring communities have equitable access to the benefits of parks the advance environmental, health and social resiliency is essential to the work of park professionals. As community members themselves, park and recreation professionals' personal connections to their local parks and their journeys to lead in making a difference for their communities is important. Members of NRPA’s Resilient Park Access cohort shared their personal stories and thoughts about their connection to parks and the importance of this work.Hear their stories below:
Karen Ranney-Wolkins, Commissioner of Park and Recreation in Toledo, Ohio, speaks about how the importance of growing up with regular access to green spaces led her to wanting everyone in her community to have the opportunity to experience nature.
Rachel Felder, naturalist for parks and recreation in the City of Detroit speaks about how a lesson on equitable access with geese as a child impacted the trajectory of her career.
Jac Kyle, manager of nature programming with the City of Detroit speaks on how finding a sense of belonging in nature as a youth led to a career in parks, deepening their connection to place and people.
Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, city council member for the City of Lynnwood, Washington, speaks on differences between her connection with nature from her hometown in Mexico to her current home in Lynnwood. She goes on to highlight some of the work Lynnwood is doing to break barriers to parks for communities of color.
NRPA is part of 10-Minute Walk, a national effort dedicated to improving access to safe, quality parks and green spaces. We work with leaders in cities and towns across the United States to raise awareness around the importance of parks and green spaces and to make parks top of mind with the people who are planning the future of our cities. Led by The Trust for Public Land (TPL), in partnership with NRPA and the Urban Land Institute and with support from The JPB Foundation, 10 Minute Walk is working to create a world where everyone in the United States has safe, convenient access to a park within a 10-minute walk of home by 2050.
Research and Tools
NRPA has developed a number of tools to help park and recreation agencies make data-based decisions and communicate the importance of parks. Below are a few of our tools related to Park Access:
NRPA provides catalytic grants to build and promote local solutions to park access in our most disinvested. From park capital improvement projects to system-wide planning support, NRPA provides approximately $5 million and in-kind assistance to over 320 local communities annually.