Preservation of Public Parks & Recreation

Article excerpt

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ..." Charles Dickens' classic work, A Tale of Two Cities is fitting to the unprecedented challenges taking place across the country to our profession, the parks, recreation, and environmental conservation movement, and our way of life as we've known it.

This past year, due in part to the downturn in the economy, we've seen the uncanny realization of the closures of local, state and regional parks; outsourcing the management of operations of sites and facilities; privatization of recreational programs and services; sale of lands in public trust for revenue enhancement; disregard of the environment through the depletion of non-renewable resources for short-term financial gain; and the elimination of college and university programs in the field of parks and recreation. Come to think of it, we've even become the focus of a prime-time sit corn on parks and recreation.

Like many plant and animal species negatively impacted by degradation, fragmentation, and loss of critical habitat, our survival and existence as a profession continues to be threatened by loss of funding, negative perceptions, and our inability to effectively communicate and provide demonstrative proof of the value of public parks and recreation to our constituents, legislators and appropriators, A call to action is needed now to ensure our profession's sustainability. NRPA recognizes the importance of a unified vision for the movement. Our citizen and professional members, the stewards and voice of the movement. understand the vital role parks, recreation and environmental conservation has in creating jobs, generating tourism, protecting wildlife habitat, conserving open space, connecting children and families to nature and the outdoors, reducing physical and mental illness, and mitigating childhood obesity, to name just a few. …