Parks & Recreation magazine is the official monthly publication of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). NRPA’s mission is “To advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people.” The magazine strives to inform both professional and citizen advocates on issues, trends and news that support NRPA’s mission. 

Before submitting an editorial inquiry, please familiarize yourself with the magazine by perusing a few recent issues on or If you are interested in writing for Parks & Recreation, please review the information below.

About the Publication

Run of Publication

  • “Letters” — Each month, the editors welcome feedback from readers on the magazine and content found in previous issues through website comments, emailed feedback, social media responses and more. For ease of publication, the editors request feedback letters to be limited to 300 words; however, longer feedback can be submitted but may be edited for publication.
  • “Community Center” — consists of short features and news highlighting current events in the field. Article length ranges between approximately 250 and 750 words.
  • “Member to Member” — ideas, essays and best practices written by members for the benefit of others in the park and recreation profession. Ideas for the Member to Member section are welcomed from members of NRPA. Article length ranges between 250 and 1,000 words.


  • “Advocacy” — focuses on legislation and policy relevant to parks and recreation.
  • “Law Review” — explores legal precedents set by lawsuits affecting park and recreation agencies or industry suppliers. This is written by a dedicated columnist each month.
  • “Future Leaders” — discusses issues relevant to and opportunities available for young professionals in the field of parks and recreation.
  • “Health and Wellness” — examines case studies that showcase the health effects parks and recreation can have on communities.
  • “Conservation” — examines environmental issues relevant to parks and recreation.
  •  “Social Equity” — focuses on opportunities for inclusivity that parks and recreation can provide.

Each of our columns run approximately 1,000 words each. Aside from law review, which is written by a dedicated columnist each month, our editors welcome ideas and proposals for any of the columns.


  • “NRPA Update” — shares news and updates from the association and is almost exclusively composed of staff-written content; however, the editors will be happy to consider submissions from other writers for this department.
  • “Operations” — mirrors Community Center. Articles range between 300 and 1,000 words in length and focus on operational aspects of parks and recreation. These articles should address issues and trends that impact operating agencies and facilities, rather than present a “how to”-style narrative. Recent topics have included swimming pool regulations, sustainable purchasing, maintenance issues and marketing trends, among others.
  • “Products” — a showcase of different offerings that may be of interest to park and recreation professionals. If you represent a product or company and would like to submit your item for consideration, please email us at Send a 100-word description of the item along with company contact information and a hi-res photo.
  • “Park Bench” — the last page of the magazine and presents a humorous, whimsical or inspirational look at the park and recreation field. Generally, the backdrop of the page is a full-size hi-res photo with no more than 300 words describing a park event, a historical find, an encouraging story, etc.


Feature stories range between 1,500 and 2,500 words and explore issues, trends and people in greater detail. Authors are encouraged to focus their narrative lens on the people behind the story. Thus, in addition to extensive research and reporting, interviews with numerous subjects are typically required for feature-length articles, along with excellent, high-resolution photographs. Parks & Recreation strives to cover controversial and engaging topics relevant to the field of parks and recreation. Recent feature topics have included gun restrictions in parks, ethical questions related to public-private partnerships, dealing with populations of homeless people in parks, working collaboratively with mountain biking groups to reduce illegal trail building, etc. Due to the complexity of feature articles, assignments are generally given to experts in the field or proven writers, so freelancers looking to write feature articles for Parks & Recreation are encouraged to start with a few successful department pieces first.

Submitting to Parks & Recreation

The editors of Parks & Recreation welcome article ideas, queries and suggestions. Because of the specialized nature of the magazine, submission of finished manuscripts is strongly discouraged. Instead, a short outline of your idea should be submitted through our online proposal submission form . Our editors will review and respond soon after considering the submission given the magazine’s current editorial needs.

How do I submit?

Once you have read through our submission guidelines, you can send us your proposal through our online proposal submission form.

What should my submission include?


  • A short outline of your vision for the piece, no more than 250 words
  • Author bio information – our standard bio format is [name] is [title] at [organization] (email)

Highly Recommended

  • High-resolution photos, no less than 300dpi and no smaller than 5x7
  • Caption information for each photo
  • Photo credit for each photo

What’s the review process?

Again, the editors stress that preliminary queries are strongly preferred over completed manuscripts. Once you have sent your proposal, our editors will review and respond soon after considering the submission given the magazine’s current editorial needs. We do our best to respond as quickly as possible but cannot always respond immediately.

What we look for:

  • Is the content interesting, timely and relevant to our readers?
  • Is the piece accurate, factual and truthful?
  • Does the piece present an original idea?

If my article is accepted, what’s next?

Once your proposal is accepted, our editors will reach out to you to ask for a complete draft. The final draft will then be edited for style, length, clarity and readability.

Even after articles are accepted, we cannot guarantee a publication date, though typically articles are published soon after acceptance. Contributing factors are timing/relevancy of topic, and the editorial focus and needs of upcoming issues. Once an article has been placed in an issue, we will notify the author.

What are the conditions?

Due to time constraints, we cannot guarantee edited materials will be sent back for review before being published, though we try to send edited materials back to the author for final review if time allows. Once published, all materials become the property of NRPA. All contributors are expected to sign a copyright release form.

We do not accept work that has been published elsewhere or is currently under review for any other publication or website.

Can I see your Editorial Calendar?

Please note that our editorial calendar is subject to change at our editors’ discretion.

January 2020
Recreation and Sports
Outline Deadline: October 15, 2019

February 2020
Leadership, Management and Career Development
Outline Deadline: November 20, 2019

March 2020
Park Design
Outline Deadline: December 16, 2019

April 2020
Outline Deadline: January 17, 2020

May 2020
Public Relations and Marketing
Outline Deadline: February 20, 2020

June 2020
Health and Wellness/Emergency Response
Outline Deadline: March 16, 2020

July 2020
Park and Rec Month
Outline Deadline: April 20, 2020

August 2020
Urban and Rural
Outline Deadline: May 19, 2020

September 2020
Social Equity
Outline Deadline: June 17, 2020

October 2020
2020 NRPA Annual Conference
Outline Deadline: July 20, 2020

November 2020
2020 NRPA Annual Conference Wrap-Up
Outline Deadline: August 21, 2020

December 2020
Research and Evaluation
Outline Deadline: September 4, 2020

What if I still have questions?

If you still have questions about the editorial process, please email our editors at