All 42 [Colorado] state parks open to the public for free Monday

Forget Valentine’s Day, Colorado Day is a holiday to celebrate love.  After all, Colorado never lets us down.

Cherry Creek State Park (Photo: Andrew Novinger)

Monday marks the annual Colorado Day and the mutual affection means all 42 state parks will be open to the public, no entrance fee required.

Colorado Day is a celebration of the actions of the state legislature, marking the anniversary of statehood.

The official recognition was granted in 1876 by President Ulysses S. Grant.

Full story >

 

Arkansas State Parks Receives Special Achievement Award

Arkansas State Parks was recognized for its Geographic Information System (GIS).

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Arkansas State Parks has been chosen from a field of 300,000 candidates to receive a Special Achievement Award. This comes from the internationally recognized Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) for innovative use of technology.
This specific technology combines something called a Geographic Information System (GIS) with the latest web technologies. At first glance it might sound complicated and not related to everyday use – but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  This system simply stores and displays information in a multi-layered digital map. This allows park planners, superintendents and other staff to understand not only what’s on the surface of any area of an Arkansas State Park, but also what’s below it, around it and/or connected to it. So, instead of multiple, unrelated spreadsheets about park boundaries, trail locations, underground utilities and campsites, the GIS integrates all the unconnected information and creates one consistent set of facts that can all be seen at the same time through the Arkansas State Parks GIS Web App.
“This was something that took a lot of time and park staff from rangers, interpreters, accountants and more to collect the data, clean it up and put it all in one place for everyone to view” said Darin Mitchell, Sr. GIS Analyst for Arkansas State Parks “It’s increasing communications, that’s basically what the GIS is – a visual communication tool.”

(CT) State parks to close for the season after Labor Day

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said fall camping has been cut at state parks due to the budget.

According to a DEEP Spokesperson, state park summer season has always been Memorial Day through Labor Day, fall camping existed for few parks, but now Labor day is when camping season will end at all parks.

According to the Department’s website, of the 14 state parks and forests that offer camping, four are already closed for the year.

A DEEP spokesperson said Silver Sands and Hammonasset Beach State Park were the two parks slated to be open until Columbus Day, but both will close after September 4th.

Campers were disappointed to hear the news, especially North Haven resident Michael Thibault who said a trip to Hammonasset has been a family tradition for 20 years.

Full article with video >

Can State Parks Keep Waste Out Of Landfills?

  • Eighty-three-year-old Ralph Deckett stood outside the Curt Gowdy State Park visitor center, broom in hand. Now retired from the FBI, Deckett spends much of his time looking after museums and recreation sites like Curt Gowdy, where he had been volunteering since the beginning of July.

    “We just try to keep it nice, the best we can around here. It’s amazing how people can trash out a place,” Deckett said.

    And Deckett is not alone. Driving around the park, Assistant Superintendent Darrell Richardson told me Curt Gowdy depends on volunteers like Deckett.

    “Our volunteer program is one of the biggest things we have going for us around here,” Richardson said.

    During the summer, Richardson said, Curt Gowdy’s campsites are full. The trails are well trafficked. And for many people, disposables are part of the outdoor experience.

    “It’s primarily paper, you know, people come camping and they’re going to have paper and cardboard,” Richardson said. “And then there’s a lot of cans, and I’m sure plastic bottles because everybody’s all into drinking bottled water anymore.”

    Curt Gowdy employs only two full-time staff and two part-time staff. About 20 volunteers and a few seasonal workers do the rest of the work picking up trash. To pay for that help, state parks use entrance fees and Wyoming’s general fund. According to Curt Gowdy Superintendent Bill Conner, waste disposal takes up about ten percent of the park’s budget.

    Each week, he said, a private company empties twenty dumpsters spread across the park and drops the waste in Cheyenne’s landfill. Richardson said he is not aware of any entities that could transport recycling from Curt Gowdy.

    Full Story >>

Study: Greenways Fighting Crime?

Could Greenways Help Fight Chicago Crime?

A view of The 606 from near the Humboldt Park Boulevard overpass looking east. (Photo by Brandon Harris)

An in-depth study of Chicago neighborhoods in 2011 and 2015 suggests that parks and greenways could play a role in reducing crime. During that time, crime of all types decreased at a faster rate in neighborhoods along Chicago’s 2.7-mile Bloomingdale Trail – better known as The 606 – than in similar neighborhoods, according to research published in Environment and Behavior.

The new elevated greenway, built on an abandoned railway line northwest of downtown, connects diverse neighborhoods. University researchers from Clemson and North Carolina State drew on census data to find Chicago neighborhoods that shared similar socioeconomic characteristics with neighborhoods along The 606. Using City of Chicago crime statistics, researchers compared crime rates for June-November 2011, before the greenway opened, with rates for the same period in 2015, the trail’s first year of operation.

“Rates of violent, property and disorderly crime all fell at a faster rate in neighborhoods along The 606 than in similar neighborhoods nearby,” said lead author Brandon Harris, a Chicago resident and former city Park District intern who chose The 606 for his dissertation research at Clemson. “The decrease was largest in lower-income neighborhoods along the western part of the trail.”

Several factors could have contributed to a greater drop in crime along The 606 over the four-year period, said co-author Lincoln Larson, an NC State faculty member who has previously studied greenway use in urban Atlanta and suburban San Antonio.

“We know that having a well-designed greenway can increase residential and commercial activity, bringing in more foot traffic that pushes out crime in the neighborhood,” Larson said. “People along the trail may also be having more positive interactions and feeling a greater sense of community among neighborhoods, which prompts them to take ownership in the trail.”

After looking at crime patterns on a city scale, researchers zoomed in on crime rates within walking distance – a half-mile – of The 606. Their analysis showed that property crime decreased at a faster rate in neighborhoods closest to the trail, said co-author Scott Ogletree, a Clemson graduate student. There were no significant differences in rates of violent or disorderly crimes.

Ogletree noted that the city invested in lighting, installed security cameras, increased police presence and added access points along the trail, which tourism officials promoted as a “must-see” destination for visitors.

Before a recent uptick, Chicago crime rates had been falling in many neighborhoods. Could investments in park-based urban revitalization be part of a long-term solution?

“A growing body of evidence suggests that’s true, but there are a few counter-examples,” Larson said, adding that keeping the trail in good condition is vital to prevent crime. “It’s not just the presence of parks that matters,” he said. “Design and programming for parks is also critical, especially considering some of the troubling crime trends in Chicago over the past year.”

Harris said one example of quality neighborhood programming is The 606 Moves, a dance workshop offered in pocket parks along the trail with support from the city.

Officials must also consider how revitalization and increased development affect residents, said Harris, who is doing follow-up research on those issues. “Cities must be very careful when constructing a trail through a minority enclave. Revitalized spaces can be transformative, but they must be inclusive, safe and welcoming to all parties.”

Ethan Tyler New Parks Director in Alaska

 

Ethan Tyler to serve as new Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation director

(Anchorage, AK) – Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack announced today that Ethan Tyler will join the Department of Natural Resources as director of the Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation on July 17.

Tyler has 17 years of private sector and non-profit experience in Alaska, largely in tourism, outdoor recreation and economic development. He is moving to DNR from his current position as the Economic Development Manager for the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development where he supervises a variety of statewide programs including the Made in Alaska program.

“A key objective for the State of Alaska is sustaining and protecting our park system by making it less reliant on general funds for its operations,” Mack said. “Ethan’s skills and experience make him a natural fit to carry on this important work.”

“I look forward to joining the DNR team and working cooperatively with fellow Alaskans to manage the nation’s largest and best state park system, and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation in our state,” Tyler said.

Tyler began his Alaska career at the Alyeska Resort in 2000. He joined CIRI Alaska Tourism Corp. four years later as a sales manager, and went on to work in management positions at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and the Alaska Community Foundation. From 2009 to 2013, he owned a consulting business that provided communications, sales, marketing and other services to Alaska’s visitor industry.

Tyler has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys ski instructing, backcountry skiing, as well as biking, hiking, surfing, and time spent with family.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Bluemink, 269-8434, elizabeth.bluemink@alaska.gov ###

Parks and Conservation Lose an Icon – Ney Landrum

 

The parks and conservation community lost an icon in the passing of Ney Landrum this week.  Ney served as the Florida State Parks Director for nearly 20 years, as the first executive director of NASPD, and was active in BSA leadership and a number of other natural resource and conservation organizations.  A gentleman’s gentleman, he served as a mentor to many in the parks profession.  Memorial services are planned for Tuesday in Tallahassee.  More details are included in the obituary.   In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are requested to be made to the James P. Cook Memorial Relief Fund c/o Florida Park Service Alumni Association, Judi Maxwell, Treasurer, 558 SW Maxwell Court, Fort White, FL 32038.  More info about the fund may be found here.

Excerpt from Landrum’s, In Pursuit of a Great State Park System, “Educate everybody – the public, pressure groups, legislators, commissions, bosses, personnel – as to the real importance of state parks.  …  Before attempting to convince others, however, be sure of your own resolve and depth of commitment.” 

 

Attached is a photo of Ney with other Florida state park directors:  Mike Bullock, Fran Mainella, NCL, Wendy Spencer, Donald Forgione.

Job Opportunity – MT – Parks Administrator Qualifications Updated/Application Deadline Extended

Please note:  This requisition has been revised slightly – the qualifications have been updated since it was originally posted to more accurately reflect the needs of the Agency/Department.

This requisition has been extended those who have previously applied do not need to reapply as their applications are still under consideration.

This position closes at 11:59 PM MDT on September 17, 2017. You must apply through the State of Montana Career site.

You are required to attach a cover letter to your application.  In your cover letter please address the following supplemental questions:

1. Please describe how your past education and experience have prepared you for this position. Be sure to incorporate your management philosophy and supervisory experience.

2. Please describe your experience in establishing performance measures for programs. Include how you evaluate whether they have been successful and how you have adapted programs in response.

Full details and contact info >>

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“Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks works to perpetuate all that it means to hunt, camp, fish, hike, ride, float, play, climb, sit, wander, explore and revel – to venture outside and into this land we call Montana.
The outside is in us all.”

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The Parks Division is a valuable and integral part of Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks and it works to preserve and protect our state’s heritage and the natural beauty of our public lands for the benefit of our families, communities, local economies and out-of-state visitors. With over 2 million visitors to the Parks each year this Division helps exemplify what it is to recreate in Montana.

The Parks Division Administrator has an exciting opportunity to build on a State Parks program that includes historic sites as well as beautiful natural resource parks and recreational opportunities. The Parks program has 55 parks in 5 regions across the state of Montana. To learn more about the fabulous parks and programs that this position is responsible for please visit: www.stateparks.mt.gov

We are looking for an individual with exceptional leadership skills and a demonstrated ability to foster community and coalition building across a wide range of stakeholders. This position will lead the Parks program and staff forward in their accomplishment of the mission and is responsible for defining the program direction to accomplish the Governor’s outdoor recreation goals as well as those of the Department.

Full details and contact info: https://mtstatejobs.taleo.net/careersection/200/jobdetail.ftl?job=17141161&tz=GMT-06%3A00

WI – State budget proposal includes flexible fee option for state parks

Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget proposal would let Wisconsin state parks charge more for admission during peak times and could raise prices for some annual passes.

Officials say even with potential hikes, the state parks would still be a great value for residents, but some parks advocates contend the governor and lawmakers are relying too much on fees and donations to keep the parks system running.

The current state budget removed general tax revenue as a source of money for the parks but it gave the state Department of Natural Resources more flexibility in raising funds from park admission and camping fees, and the DNR has boosted those prices.

Walker’s proposal for the next two fiscal years would go even further by allowing flexible pricing at parks. DNR parks director Ben Bergey said that, for example, fees at some parks might go up on a busy weekend. But Bergey said those increases would be limited to $5, and a daily pass could go from $8 to $13.

“There are several other venues out there that you can compare to that still make that a really good deal,” Bergey said. “Wisconsin state parks and trails would still be a good option for economic value compared to a lot of other options that are out there today.”

Bergey said flexible pricing might also be used to discourage some people from going to a park that’s already crowded on a particular day.

An annual state parks sticker for Wisconsin residents for all park properties might increase by up to $10 to $38, while a more limited-access sticker might remain at $28, Bergey said.

Speaking to members of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee earlier this month at a public hearing, Whitefish Bay resident Virginia Goode pointedly asked lawmakers to restore some general tax revenue to the state parks because they are a shared resource.

Goode, who described herself as a retired parks and recreation worker, told lawmakers she’s worried parks can’t make it on fee revenue alone.

“Parks and recreation are sometimes viewed as discretionary. But professionals know there are costs that are to be made public and shared with all taxpayers,” Goode said.

It’s unclear if the Legislature will shift some dollars to the parks. Meanwhile, the DNR continues to rely on donations to enhance the parks experience.

For example, last week, the Friends of Devils Lake State Park gave $28,000 to fund limited-term employees in the visitor services, maintenance and interpretation areas at the park near Baraboo. A portion of the donation also will be used to fund ongoing maintenance and repair of park facilities and grounds.

Jackie Murphy, president of the friends group, said they have made similar donations during the group’s 20-year history.

“It’s needed,” Murphy said. “The state parks funds are very limited. We like to be able to do as much as we can to not only maintain, but also have fun activities.”

That includes things like monthly concerts for campers that the friends group pays for during the summer.

Also last week, the DNR announced the park’s concessionaire, Devil’s Lake Concession Corp., will donate $68,800 to fund temporary positions, maintenance and long-term lake monitoring of Devil’s Lake. The company has donated money before, according to the DNR.

Wisconsin Public Radio

Posted on Apr 18, 2017 at 2:16 p.m.