History in the Making

August 1, 2016, Department, by Gina Mullins-Cohen

Gina Mullins-Cohen, NRPA’s Vice President of Marketing, Communications and PublishingOne year ago, NRPA celebrated its 50th anniversary. We recognized this milestone with specific programming and acknowledgements at our 2015 Annual Conference, a special 50th anniversary issue of Parks & Recreation magazine and through the production of a 50th anniversary video that showcased several of our park and recreation centers across the country. The story that unfolded in both the August issue of the magazine and the video was one of dedication and passion. It was also a story of making a difference.

As NRPA steps into the future with our 51st year, the National Park Service (NPS) steps into year 100. August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” creating NPS, a federal bureau housed within the Department of the Interior. The act avowed the NPS would “promote and regulate” national parks, monuments and historic sites, including those established at the time and any to be founded in the future.

One hundred years later, despite the ups and downs of political agendas and financial struggles, the NPS is still going strong and what started with Yellowstone, the first designated national park, now includes more than 400 national parks, monuments, recreation areas and historic sites. This issue of Parks & Recreation delivers a grand nod to NPS and its centennial with the article, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” by authors Daniel L. Dustin, Kelly S. Bricker, Matthew T. Brownlee and Keri A. Schwab. This piece, starting on page 44, brings to light the history of NPS and openly discusses the challenges it is facing today.

2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and authors Mark Trieglaff and Larry Labiak review the history and significance of the Act with their piece, “Recreation and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” starting on page 50. This fascinating tale is not to be missed.

The 2016 NRPA Annual Conference is fast-approaching — turn to page 56 for a Q&A with this year’s keynote speaker, paleontologist, author and children’s television star, Scott Sampson.

I write this note on the heels of the nomination of Donald J. Trump as the official Republican candidate for president and on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, where Hillary Clinton is to be nominated as the Democratic candidate. We are living through ambitious and emotional times. We have a lot of work in front of us. This world is (still) a violent place and our country is (still) a country divided by the color of one’s skin, but hour by hour and day by day, park and recreation professional are still making a difference — a big one. 


Gina Mullins-Cohen is NRPA's Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing and Editorial Director