We hope the articles you read in Parks & Recreation are thought-provoking and engaging, and we want to hear your opinions on what you read in these pages. Through social media posts, website comments, emails to staff or posts on Connect, let us know how the magazine’s articles apply to your job and your agency.
The point of the economic development role of parks is huge. Vacation travel is done because of destinations. People want to go to interesting places. If your park facilities are all very standard, they will not attract tourists, but if you have unique and spectacular sites, you will be building your local economy by attracting tourists. So how do we create facilities and events that attract out-of-town visitors? And how do we tell this story within our communities to position ourselves as agencies of high value? Convention and visitors bureaus in your area should be your best friend. They can promote your parks and programs, and they can help communicate the value of your agency to the elected officials in your area. We are natural allies to the destination marketing folks.
My only criticism of this article is that Peter [Harnik, the author] assumes that park agencies are largely funded with tax dollars. This is not true with every agency. And the more of your funding that comes from enterprise operations, the more you will be in tune with your customers and responsive to where the needs and opportunities are. A largely tax-funded agency does not need to care about tourists, but one that relies on customers will be interested in attaching more people (locals and tourists) to the facilities. Thank you, NRPA, for running articles that address some of the important issues of today!
Comment by Paul Gilbert, executive director of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, on "How Many Out-of-Towners Are in your Parks?"
I enjoyed “How Many Out-of-Towners Are in Your Parks?” but almost all the data was from large cities or tourist destinations. Many local municipalities are also having a problem with parks being used by increasing numbers of nonresidents. This is a becoming serious issue for smaller municipalities that do not have budgets allowing for increased usage and maintenance.
I have no informational data or other statistics, but would be very interested in reading an article if anyone has that information.
Email from Patrick Stasio, CPRP, director of parks and recreation for Upper Moreland Township, Pennsylvania, regarding "How Many Out-of-Towners Are in Your Parks?"
Great Parks & Recreation Magazine issue in April...full of informative, compelling articles. I wanted to respond to the NRPA board chair’s article about “telling our stories.” It was a good message, but I was wondering how we could effectively communicate the many park and recreation stories to audiences other than NRPA’s park and recreation professionals and citizen advocate members. Paper or electronic-format publications that reach the corporate community, the healthcare/medical community, the home builders/real estate industry and, yes, the U.S. Congress. This has most likely been discussed at NRPA headquarters. We reach some outside of parks and recreation through social media, [but] cost/resources [are] always a limiting factor. [I also] thought about a series of stories from young and old who value parks supported by LWCF in the run-up to LWCF reauthorization in 2015. Something to think about. Enjoy the weekend...practice what we preach...recreate!
Email from Mark Alan Young, consultant with Parks Forever Consulting
Ed. Note: In the “Collaborating for Health” feature article in the April issue, the opening image’s location was identified as Lakewood, California. The correct location of the photo is Lakewood, Colorado.