Category Archives: Parks

Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010

Source: Daniel J. Stynes, National Park Service, Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/EQD/NRR–2011/481, December 2011

Visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009, according to a report issued by the National Park Service today….The economic impact figures for the National Park System released today are based on $12 billion in direct spending by the 281 million visitors to parks in 2010 and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University.

This study provides updated estimates of NPS visitor spending for 2010 and extends the analysis to include impacts of the NPS payroll on local economies. Visitor spending and local impacts are estimated using the Money General Model version 2 (MGM2) based on 2010 park visits, spending averages from park visitor surveys, and local area economic multipliers. Impacts of the NPS payroll are estimated based on 2010 payroll data for each park….
See also:
Press release
Total Vistor Spending and Jobs by State and Park 2010

80 Ways To Reduce Expenses

Source: Michael Mahoney, John Crossley,, September 1, 2011

This is the first installment of a four-part series that will explore 80 ways to reduce operating expenses. In these difficult economic times, these ways could be the difference between having a profitable year and one of significant financial loss. After all, every dollar of reduced operating expense goes straight to the bottom line of an annual profit-and-loss statement. Take these suggestions at face value, or modify them for your agency. Either way, please take a look. Shaving a few dollars here and there might just save a job.
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Part 1 Labor
Part 2 Equipment and supplies
Part 3 Contracts
Part 4 Utilities and equipment

Parks and recreation departments seek new funding

Source: ">Gail Short, American City and County, November 1, 2011

Many parks and recreation departments have watched their budgets shrink as the recession has forced local governments to cut spending. To survive financially, they are pursuing alternate sources of funding, from corporate sponsorships and user fees to new programming.
See also:
NRPA Fees & Charges Survey Report: 2010 – Executive Summary
Source: Michael Kanters, Jason Bocarro, Chris Siderelis, Christopher Vurnakes, Nathan Halubka, & Pete Armstrong, National recreation and Park Association, February 3, 2011
Data Mines – Three projects that advance parks & recreation
Source: Parks & Recreation, June 2011

Whitewater parks bring a steady stream of visitors — and cash — to downtown areas

Source: Eugene Buchanan, Public Works, Vol. 412 no. 12, November 2011

Golden, Colo., Public Works Director Dan Hartman always knew that Clear Creek, which flows through downtown, could be far more than just a water source for the nearby Coors beer factory. The kayaker and rafter reasoned it could also be used like the sections he paddled upstream. So in 1997 he began turning it into the country’s first publicly funded whitewater park, setting off a movement to bring adventure sports to “municipal backyards.”

The concept wasn’t new. Tennessee had just spent $27 million turning the Ocoee River near the City of Ducktown into a dam-controlled canoe slalom course for the 1996 Olympic Games. Closer to home, hydrologist Gary Lacy, owner of Boulder, Colo.’s Recreation Engineering & Planning (REP), had recently designed a park for kayakers and other paddlecraft users on Boulder Creek

What was new was Hartman’s idea for a park fully funded by taxpayer dollars.

Understanding the challenges of municipal tree planting

Source: E. Gregory McPherson and Robert Young, Arborist News, Vol. 19 no. 6, 2010

From the abstract:
Nine of the twelve largest cities in the U.S. have mayoral tree planting initiatives (TPIs), with pledges to plant nearly 20 million trees. Although executive-level support for trees has never been this widespread, many wonder if this support will endure as administrations change and budgets tighten. In an effort to share lessons learned from successes and setbacks, a workshop was held in Los Angeles, California, to “troubleshoot” the TPI process, recognizing that managing the politics of trees is often more challenging than planting trees. A primary goal in this effort was to create a “Community of Practice” that will provide longterm support for managers of existing and emerging TPIs. The twoday workshop (June 3-4, 2010) brought together 24 individuals representing 20 municipalities who were primarily responsible for managing TPIs. This article summarizes the most important findings from the workshop.
See also:
Tools for valuing tree and park services
Source: E. G. McPherson, Western Arborist, Vol. 36 no. 4, 2010
Trees are good, but…
Source: E. G. McPherson, F. Ferrini, Arborist News, Vol. 19 no. 5, 2010

Parks and Re-Cessation – Closing state parks… smart financial choice?

Source: Elizabeth Daigneau, Governing, May 2010

Once again, state parks are on the chopping block. To balance deficit-riddled budgets, legislatures in many states-including California, Arizona, Pennsylvania and New York, to name a few-have made huge cuts to parks’ funds. Those moves come despite a recent uptick in the number of people visiting the parks-more than 725 million in 2009, according to the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). Still, closing state parks is a relatively politically palatable option….These cuts may be politically feasible, but they may not actually help the fiscal bottom line. According to the NASPD, visitors to state parks across the country helped generate $20 billion in revenues. That’s an incredible return on investment, given that the overall budget expenditure on state parks nationwide is less than $2.3 billion.

2010 City Park Facts

Source: Center for City Park Excellence, The Trust for Public Land, 2010

The total area covered by urban parkland in the United States exceeds one million acres, with parks ranging in size from the jewel-like 1.7-acre Post Office Square in Boston to the gargantuan 490,125-acre Chugach State Park in Anchorage. And their usage dwarfs that of the national parks–the most popular major parks, such as Lincoln Park in Chicago receive upwards of 20 million users each year, and New York’s Central Park gets about 25 million visits annually–more than five times as many to the Grand Canyon.

Some cities have plenty of parkland that’s well distributed around town; others have enough land but an inequitable distribution; others are short of even a basic amount of park space for their citizens.

Through an annual survey, the Center for City Park Excellence maintains the nation’s most complete database of park facts for the largest 85 U.S. cities. With the help of CCPE data, you can see how your city compares to others. Cities are divided into different population density classes in some of the below reports. A report showing the densities and explaining the classifications is available here.
See also:
Press Release
Acreage and Employees
Largest, Oldest, and Most Visited Parks