The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association announced its 2013 Annual Awards of Excellence winners as January drew to a close, bestowing first place honors to Miami County Park District in the Management Innovation category for its strategic plan titled Strong Tradition — Sustainable Future. MCPD Executive Director J. Scott Myers pointed to his organization’s innovative approach of developing the plan with minimal influence from outside consultants. Myers and his staff members gained new insights about their organization and their individual jobs through the experience, inspiring ownership in the district’s future direction and creating a greater sense of teamwork across departments. “Most importantly, we believe the plan’s implementation will improve the quality of life of the citizens we serve,” Myers stated.
Visitors to Manhattan’s Dante Park are in for a special treat — sculptures by legendary jazz musician Herb Alpert will be on display there through April. Titled, “Spirit Totems,” the three large sculptures resemble Native American totem poles and were inspired by Alpert’s trips to the Pacific Northwest. The three totems are "Grace," which stands at more than 15 feet tall; "Freedom," which stands at approximately 17 feet tall; and "Gratitude," which measures slightly more than 17 feet tall. Each is made of bronze with a black finish. Alpert, renowned for his more than 50-year career as a jazz musician, songwriter, producer, artist and philanthropist, has been working on his totems series since 2000.
Washington State Parks’ websites, social media platforms and publications are making room for something common to almost all modern media: advertising. The agency has decided to reverse its 50-year ban on commercial advertising in hopes of generating additional revenue in tight budget times. Park officials have been searching for ways to shore up the system’s crumbling budget, which for years had been primarily supported by the state general fund. Last year, just 15 percent of the system’s budget was provided via the general fund, down from 60–80 percent in years past. Other efforts, including sales of park passes and new day-use fees, failed to generate the kind of revenues park officials hoped for. Officials believe they can keep the new advertisements small and nonobtrusive, and have decided to limit advertising opportunities to local businesses rather than national corporations. The commission also hopes to limit ads from tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and gambling businesses.
Cuyuna, Minnesota, resident and photographer Aaron Hautala will see his work on hundreds of automobile windshields in 2014, as his breathtaking photo taken at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area has been chosen to adorn decals that allow entry into the state’s parks. The image features the Miner’s Mountain Trail in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, a 25-mile single-track mountain bike trail system that opened in 2011. Hautala, 38, is an avid mountain biker and promoter of his local trails system. He said he went through dozens of images to settle on the winning photo, which depicts two women mountain biking through stunning fall foliage atop the mountain. Hautala says he hopes the photograph will help promote the Cuyuna trail system, as well as increase interest in mountain biking among park visitors of all ages.
The California Outdoors Hall of Fame welcomed four new members in January: Dick Penniman, Bob Ford, Randy Houston and John Koeberer all were honored for their leadership in outdoor recreation during an induction ceremony held at the International Sportsmen's Expo in Sacramento. Candidates for inclusion had to fulfill two requirements: to have inspired fellow Californians to take part in outdoor recreation and/or conservation; and to have taken part in a scope of adventure themselves. Penniman was recognized as an avid outdoorsman, avalanche and ski safety expert, having taught more than 3,500 individuals about avalanche safety. Ford is renowned for his volunteer work with the International Game Fish Association and the Tuna Club of Catalina Island, as well as for his role as a historian and benefactor for wounded soldiers and youth. Houston is the founder and president of Purple Heart Anglers, a group of volunteers who worked to bring more than 1,000 disabled veterans into the outdoors to fish or hunt. Koeberer won attention for his California Parks Company, which operates visitor services at numerous federal, state, county and local parks and marinas across California. Bill Poole, a legendary San Diego-based skipper, was inducted posthumously.
Lincoln Aquatics, a leading national distributor of commercial swimming pool equipment, chemicals and supplies, announced it has revamped its logo design. The new logo is meant to reflect the company’s heritage, as well as indicate an improved approach to innovation, customer service and quality in light of its 60th year in business. The new logo will be rolled out in Lincoln’s marketing materials, website and other venues during the first months of 2014.