Park and Recreation Month is Almost Here

July is Park and Recreation Month, and this year’s theme is: OUT is IN. Agencies can register as official participants to have their Park and Recreation Month events added to the main listing, which includes activities across the United States ranging from outdoor dance and exercise classes to kickball, white water rafting, volleyball tournaments, garden tours, and family hikes.

Park and Recreation Month this year also comes with a social media challenge: participants are asked to share their photos on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #JulyOUTisIN. Prizes will be awarded to the best photos of an indoor activity being done outside.

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Heading to the Beach this Weekend?

The boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park image: Alexandra Hay

The boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park
image: Alexandra Hay

With Memorial Day weekend comes the unofficial start of summer, and though the water may still be chilly at this time of year, many people will be heading to the closest beach for some start-of-summer celebrations.

For those in New York, and especially on Long Island, Jones Beach State Park is a destination that epitomizes summer. Though only 20 miles from New York City, Jones Beach could not feel further removed from the suburbs nearby, only a few causeways away. And, like Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Jones Beach is a site that has been dramatically transformed to create the iconic space we enjoy today.

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The Future of Recreational Lands

Anaheim Coves at Burris Basin image: Pamela Galera

Anaheim Coves at Burris Basin
image: Pamela Galera

Almost all older, heavily urbanized cities are facing a shortage of parkland and open space. As density and property values increase, cities are less likely to purchase large parcels of land for recreation. As a result, urban populations have fewer opportunities to exercise and socialize outside, which exacerbates chronic health issues such as asthma and obesity. The solution may lie in the creative strategy of utilizing lands owned by utility companies within the urban core.

Anaheim, California, like most cities, is growing in density. Anaheim’s 820-acre Platinum Triangle is emerging as a high-density, mixed-use area that is replacing older industrial developments. The area is nestled between the SR-57 and I-5 freeways and surrounds Angel Stadium and the Honda Center, two of Orange County’s most prominent sports and entertainment venues. However, this high-density development has few opportunities for large scale recreation or nature parks.

In the early 2000s, it was apparent that the City of Anaheim needed to find open space near the high-density Platinum Triangle that would provide a connection to nature and give residents and visitors a place for exercise. The City of Anaheim forged a creative partnership with the Orange County Water District (OCWD), the largest landowner in Anaheim and owner of Burris Basin, a 116-acre ground water replenishment facility on the west bank of the Santa Ana River only half a mile north of the Platinum Triangle.

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A Commitment to Parks: Kirkwood, MO

image: Robbie Walters

image: Robbie Walters

Is it possible for a small community to breathe new life into an aging but much used and loved “Central” Community Park? Can new improvements be successfully implemented over time with minimal disruption to thousands of annual visitors? The answer for one community was resoundingly yes. The article “A Commitment to Parks: Kirkwood, Missouri,” published on, provides an overview of Kirkwood’s efforts to achieve the goals of its park master plan while still meeting the recreational needs of the community.

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Preview of Anatomy Of A Park: Edition IV

Anatomy of a Park, 3rd Edition image: Waveland Press

Anatomy of a Park, 3rd Edition
image: Waveland Press

Anatomy of a Park (AOAP) has had a long and successful career. First published in 1971, it was originally a series of lectures by Albert Rutledge to Parks and Recreation students aiming at careers in Park Management and Administration.  I was the illustrator and case study developer of the first edition.  I’ve continued as the illustrator and became the author for the subsequent editions (1986, 2003).

The purpose of those original lectures and the resulting book was to build a bridge between the designers of parks and the users of parks.  Our goal was to explain our profession as landscape architects to people who would represent park users, administer park systems, and who would hire the design professionals who would bring the parks to life.  This new update, Edition IV, provides new information as a supplement to the timeless resource.  What follows is a sneak peak at the updates and plans for the new edition.

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Dog Parks

image: Deborah Steinberg

image: Deborah Steinberg

You may have heard the phrase a tired dog is a happy dog. This may or may not be true, but it is true that most dogs need physical activity and social interaction to make good pets. Dog parks are a great venue to provide both of these in a safe, contained environment and have become very popular.

However, with popularity comes use, over-use, and risk. The following site outlines common challenges with dog parks and provides suggestions for those thinking of providing one.

Dog Bites and Liability for Dog Bites by Kenneth M. Phillips

National Kids to Parks Day

image: National Park Trust

image: National Park Trust

With National Kids to Parks Day, May 18th, looming right around the corner it would be great for our members to organize activities that bring even more children into the parks we design and love. This article gives you some great options for high profile partners to make your “Kids to Parks Day” a success.

National Park Trust Announces ‘National Kids to Parks Day’ to Take Place Saturday May 18, 2013

by Kathleen Benedict, Co-chair of the Parks and Recreation PPN

Goose problems at parks



Do you have a goose issue in your park, too much poo, too much noise, scaring the kiddos?  Take a look at how the City of Cupertino is going to try and handle their overabundance of geese in City Parks.

Cupertino lets dogs loose to fix goose problem at parks” by Matt Wilson


by Kathleen Benedict, Chair of Parks and Recreation PPN

Outdoor Gyms

Fitness Zone™: Belvedere Park, Los Angelesimage: Trust for Public Land

Fitness Zone™: Belvedere Park, Los Angeles
image: Trust for Public Land

Over the years our municipality has taken out outdoor fitness courses or seen them severely underutilized. Could it be because of our weather here in Colorado? Perhaps, but maybe this new effort to design attractive and unique fitness solutions specific to outdoor parks will reopen opportunities to provide this sort of service in our parks. I am particularly intrigued by the City Art Gym information posted in this article.

‘Fitness parks’ catch on in cities
by Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY, December 14, 2012

City Art Gym

HORIZONS: On the move with Fitness Zones
Trust for Public Lands, February 12, 2012

Project Profile: A Grand Canyon Experience

Mather Point, Grand Canyon National Park

Mather Point, Grand Canyon National Park
image: Michael Quinn

With the 2012 Annual Meeting in the Southwest this month, we wanted to highlight a project from the region, Mather Point on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

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Playground Sun Safety

Waterpark Ranch, Los Angeles California, SuperSpan Multi-Level Pyramid

Waterpark Ranch, Los Angeles California, SuperSpan Multi-Level Pyramid
image: USA Shade & Fabric Structures, Inc

Landscape architects and designers are constantly faced with the challenge of designing safe and attractive play areas. One particularly important aspect is the need for shade and weather protection. The importance of adding shade to playgrounds has come to the forefront as daycare owners and playground designers realize the importance of sun protection, especially for children who are particularly susceptible to the sun’s damaging effects.

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New Resources for Inviting Nature Back into Play

A play stream at the Nature Play Area and Discovery Garden at Minnesota’s Tamarack Nature Center

A play stream at the Nature Play Area and Discovery Garden at Minnesota’s Tamarack Nature Center
image: MIG, Inc

Climbing into the arms of a sweet smelling southern magnolia tree, splashing in the miniature waterfalls of a limestone lined creek, and sifting through a playground of pea gravel in search of ancient sea fossils are a few of my treasured memories of enjoying the freedom to explore the natural world that surrounded me as a child.

Due to shifting societal priorities, children today have fewer opportunities to engage in these types of open-ended activities than their parents did just a generation ago. In his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods”, Richard Louv draws on decades of research from various disciplines and summarizes that, due to this trend, kids in the U.S. are suffering from what he terms “nature-deficit disorder.”

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