December 1, 2016, Department, by Chris Clough, Sarah Bryan, Nancy Bruning, Char Day, Mike Vandeman

Letters 410

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 NRPA Connect, let us know how the magazine’s articles apply to your job and your agency. To submit feedback for this section, email Executive Editor Samantha Bartram. 


Comment from Chris Clough regarding Laurel P. Richmond’s October 2016 article, “Providing Equal Access to Aquatic Facility Locker Rooms for People Who Are Transgender :

This article is a good intro for facility managers considering the needs of transgender individuals. Use of aquatic facilities and gyms are often out of the question for transgender individuals because of fears of how they will address the locker room situation. Little things, like having shower curtains, are huge. Another is to make sure your bathroom stalls have hooks. This makes it easier for transgender individuals to change in the privacy of a stall. Gender-neutral bathrooms and changing facilities can be helpful, however, it’s important that patrons are educated on who can use them so that a transgender person doesn’t feel like they will be judged for going in there. Particularly if they don’t appear outwardly to be transitioning, which most do not. Additionally, consider using your website to detail the accommodations your facility has made. Transgender individuals will often gather as much information as possible about a facility beforehand in hopes of avoiding uncomfortable or embarrassing situations. As the article states, transgender individuals do not want excess attention called to them. Making simple accommodations and training staff to be compassionate and empathetic will go a long way to helping transgender individuals enjoy your excellent facilities.


The following comments are in reference to Samantha Bartram’s October 2016 article, “Restorative Healing at Youth Visions Reflection Park”:

I am so glad that we have this project and others that will hopefully grow from here to give our youth a place to put their creative energy while learning about social justice.
—Meighan Richardson

This is such a beautiful project and such a wonderful way to connect the community to youth and their feelings and hopes for change.
— Sarah Bryan


Comment from Char Day regarding Justin Hurdle’s October 2016 article, “Smoke-Free Parks: Why Park and Recreation Departments Should Lead the Effort :

Great article about supporting smoke-free parks and trails. My lungs and asthma thank you so much.


The following comments are in reference to Peter Harnik and Alexandra Hiple’s September 2016 article, “If It Doesn’t Have a Bench, Is It Still a Park? :

This is a wonderful article about the myriad ways that benches make parks more inviting for a broad swath of the people living in the community. One more use is as yoga and exercise “equipment.” I’ve been utilizing benches for outdoor exercise classes since 2002. All ages participate and seniors and people who are just starting out love how safe and easy this approach to exercise can be.
— Nancy Bruning

Wildlife habitat is what makes an area a park. With no living things, you have something like a quarry. Have you ever visited one? Did you have fun? A park should have one bench, for those who need to sit, but that is probably enough. It’s healthier to keep moving. I hike in a park that has two benches. One of them is rarely used. We are operating on an obsolete model for parks. People think it’s a place to have fun, where they don’t have to lift a finger to take care of it. That isn’t working! Trash and invasive exotic species are taking over our parks. Parks are never adequately funded. They need volunteers. Better yet, we should all be volunteers.
Mike Vandeman