Enrollment Open for 12th Annual State Park Leadership School

The National Association of State Park Directors and the National Training Center at Oglebay Park have opened the registration for the 2019 School.  More info:  curriculum and online registration.

Founded in 2007, the State Park Leadership School was formed with hopes to fill a void that was trending due to the baby boomer generation of state park employees approaching retirement. Assistant Park Managers, as well as people coming in from other industries, were in need of professional development in order to step into park manager and other leadership positions.

Ideal students include new supervisors, mid-level managers moving into greater responsibilities and high-potential employees. The program covers core competencies that are essential to effective professional state park management.

Students are able to network with peers from all over the country and receive instruction from professionals with state park management experience.

The two-year certificate program through North Carolina State University consists of both distance education and on-site components. Students begin the program receiving an on-line distance learning module that provides instruction on the curriculum. Each module includes study guides, sample test questions, and recommended supplemental resources. The on-line portion is followed up by an on-site experimental learning forum at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. Each year concludes with a written exam covering the various topics within the curriculum. After the second year, an average score of 70% is required to earn the certificate.

State Park Leadership School … Serve, Lead, Inspire!

America’s State Parks 2018 Photo Contest


The National Association of State Park Directors Announces Launch of America’s State Parks 2018 Photo Contest
Packed with Prizes Valued at $4,500, the Photo Contest That Celebrates State Parks is Now Open for Submissions

Raleigh, NC – June 4, 2018 – Armed with a mission to promote and advance the state park systems of America, the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), today announced the launch of America’s State Parks 2018 photo contest. The contest, which is open to residents of the U.S. age 18 and over, provides an opportunity to visually share experiences captured at the nation’s state parks over the last year1. The contest returns for a second year after receiving more than 8,000 qualified photo submissions and 105,000 website engagements during its inaugural 2-month run in 2017.

“The outdoor recreation community has been built on the concept of sharing and America’s State Parks photo contest perfectly aligns with that,” said Lewis Ledford, executive director at National Association of State Park Directors. “NASPD looks forward to continuing to offer a forum in which the community can easily connect with each other and share the experiences our state parks have afforded them.”

With focus on highlighting real-life moments and celebrating the marvelous essence of the country’s public lands, the contest encourages amateur photographers to submit photos taken at a state park within the five categories of camping, wildlife, activities, friends & family, and scenic & seasons. Qualifying submissions will be judged on originality, artistic composition, technical quality, and effectiveness of the image in showcasing the best of America’s State Parks.

The contest’s grand prize winner will be awarded a package valued at $2,000, including a 7-day RV rental from Mighway, an innovative RV sharing platform dedicated to connecting RV owners with travelers. Winners will also be selected from each of the contest’s five categories and will each receive a $500 REI gift card. From now until July 31, 2018, interested participants can submit their entries on the official parks photo contest website.

To ensure the delivery of modern, convenient online experiences to its contest entrants, NASPD engaged its trusted partner, AspiraTM, to manage the operations and promotion for the contest. Aspira, seasoned in providing technology and marketing services to park and conservation agencies across North America, will utilize its popular online camping community, ReserveAmerica.com, to increase awareness of America’s State Parks photo contest.

“We’re thrilled to team up with Aspira and Mighway to deliver a strong, convenient, and rewarding experience to America’s State Parks photo contest participants and winners,” continued Ledford. “Together, we look forward to receiving this year’s submissions and with it, celebrating the nation’s state parks.”

Winners of the contest will be announced in September during the National Association of State Park Directors Conference.


The National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) is devoted to helping state park systems effectively manage and administer their state park system. The mission of the Association is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy. For more information, visit www.stateparks.org.

About Aspira

Aspira provides connected experiences for the outdoor recreation industry. Its comprehensive suite of reservation and licensing technology and service solutions support federal, state, provincial, and local government park, campground, and conservation agencies, conveniently connecting them with outdoor adventure seekers from around the world. Aspira is headquartered in Dallas, TX with nine offices worldwide. For more information, visitwww.AspiraConnect.com.

About Mighway

Labeled the ‘Airbnb’ of RVs, Mighway is an innovative RV sharing platform, raising the bar in service and consumer protection, and connecting RV owners with travelers. While other RV sharing platforms serve more as booking engines, Mighway assists travelers throughout the road trip and often beyond. More than that, Mighway changes the game by offering the option to manage everything for owners as well. For more information, visit www.Mighway.com.

Complete eligibility rules are available at: http://americasstateparksphotocontest.reserveamerica.com/

Job Opportunities – ND – Exec. Staff Officer, Admin. Officer

Executive Staff Officer: Work involves a wide variety of tasks associated with administrative and programmatic responsibilities within the North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department. Duties include responsibility for making decisions that significantly impact agency operations and programs in terms of budget obligations, continued funding, and policies. Responsibilities include knowledge of and involvement in a variety of programs affecting the agency and requiring research and analysis. Duties include development, implementation, and interpretation of organizational and program policies and standards. Extensive communication with internal and external contacts to plan, organize and evaluate the operations of the agency.  More job details and how to apply here.

Administrative Officer I: This position reports to the Chief of Business Services and will be responsible for performing work duties associated with functions requiring accounting and other identified duties within the parameters of approved policies and procedures for the agency.  More job details and how to apply here.

MD State Parks Provide Veterans Free Access Year Round

Maryland State Parks instituted on November 10, 2017 a new policy to allow all veterans free, year round, day use access to state parks. Historically, active duty and National Guard members free access.


The following is an amendment to existing Maryland Park Service Policy 17-37 – Free or Discounted Use of State Facilities or Services. These changes have been approved by the Superintendent, effective immediately. As such, they carry the full force and effect of Agency Policy.

This amendment provides direction regarding the application of Governor Hogan’s executive action granting day-use waivers for veterans of the United States Armed Forces. It replaces the previous Veterans Day-only waiver for veterans, as well as the year-round 50% discount for veterans.

A copy of these amendments should be inserted into the appropriate location in any printed copies of the 2017 Maryland Park Service Policy Manual (dated July 1, 2017). These amendments will be reflected in the 2018 revision of the MPS Policy Manual.






1 July 2017





…H. In addition to the case-by-case waivers or discounts identified above, the following day-use waivers / discounts have been granted through administrative action by the Governor / Secretary of Natural Resources. These waivers / discounts may not apply when honor systems or coin-operated gates are in use…

                  …4. Day-Use Waiver for Veterans of the United States Armed Forces

                            All applicable day-use entrance charges are waived for all veterans of the United States Armed Forces.  This waiver applies to both resident and out-of-state veterans. The waiver is applicable to the veteran only and not others in the same vehicle, unless a per-vehicle charge is in effect at the time. In that                                      case, the per-vehicle fee is waived.

More Expensive National Parks May Threaten Access to Nature

The proposed entrance fee increase could price out minority and low-income Americans, experts warn.

A tourist photographs Grand Teton National Park from a car window.


Under a new proposal from the National Park Service, 17 of the most popular U.S. national parks could see entrance fees for weeklong passes increase from around $25 to $30 to $70 for a single private vehicle.

Fees would also increase to $50 per motorcycle and $30 per person on bike or foot. The near doubling in park fees is expected to generate an additional $70 million annually, which the NPS says would pay for the parks’ neglected infrastructure.

Fee increases would go into effect during the five-month season that parks are most visited. The exact duration of these peak seasons vary by park but generally begin in late spring.

Full article >

Job Opportunity – MI – Departmental Analyst, Recreation Trail Specialist

Job Description

Position is responsible for coordination of recreation trails programs such as Snowmobile, ORV, Rail Trails, Equestrian Trails, Pathways and other trail programs that are administered by Parks and Recreation Division. The person will coordinate the implementation and operation of these programs over large geographical area to include the entire Cadillac District and various adjacent counties. This position will work cooperatively with local units of government, user groups, as well as other agencies on PRD related trail issues. This position will need to have an understanding of GIS and other computer based programs and be able to handle several county land reviews as it relates to the impact on state designated trails.

More Details ..


A Nation-Wide System of Parks – CCC

Great vintage footage video of the CCC era – Civilian Conservation Corps – and its considerable work in America’s State Parks.

Storm recovery – Support for Texas state park staff

The record storm has impacted many including our colleagues with Texas state parks. The following link has been set up by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to provide support to the employees who have had their homes and more destroyed. Please share the link with others.



TPWD staff and first responders have saved hundreds of lives and as you might imagine, everyone, regardless of their position has a critical role in making this incident response function well, despite many of them having their own homes destroyed. 30 state parks are currently closed due to storm impacts and the other 60+ state parks that remain open are hosting thousands of evacuees. Times like these sure make you proud to be in this profession. #rangerfirst

A 1,000-Year-Old Texas Oak Tree Stands Firm

A natural treasure is weathering the calamitous storm.

TROPICAL STORM HARVEY HAS FORCED people from their homes and patients from hospitals, and turned quiet streets into turbulent torrents. For the city’s 2.3 million residents, it has been terrifying, catastrophic, tragic. Amid this ongoing disaster, one iconic local inhabitant is standing its ground: the 1,000-year-old Big Tree at Goose Island State Park near Rockport.

Big Oak

The 1000-year-old Big Tree at Goose Island State Park near Rockport is okay! Some younger trees are down.  You don’t get old by being weak.

Full Story >>

Learn more about one of the oldest live oak trees in the nation at Big Tree

Boat waste pumpout program secures $2.5 million in funding

Boater sewage, a source of pollution in Washington state waters, can contaminate shellfish beds or spread waterborne diseases at popular swimming beaches.

Washington State Parks Department’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) program works with the University of Washington’s Washington Sea Grant to help boaters and marinas safely dispose of vessel waste and reduce the amount of sewage entering bays, lakes and Puget Sound, according to a recent UW news release.

Two recently awarded grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will bolster local CVA services, which include installing and operating septic pumpouts and educating boaters and marina owners about the importance of clean water and proper onboard sewage disposal.

Full article >>