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.

MISSOURI New admin halts state park expansion

Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Missouri’s state park policy has taken a sharp turn under Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

For the past eight years under former Gov. Jay Nixon (D), the state has consistently bought land for the state Department of Natural Resources to preserve as parks.

The new administration has halted for now any new land purchases and stopped a purchase of a historic building in Ste. Geneviève, the last colonial French town in the country.

The moves come on the heels of the dismissal of Bill Bryan, the former parks director. The Republican governor’s administration also closed the state’s newest park, which had been named after Nixon.

An administration spokesman said the focus is now on maintaining existing parks.

The state added seven parks during Nixon’s tenure, angering GOP lawmakers. Some have proposed bills that would sell some of the land acquired with funds from a pollution settlement.

Last year, the last of Nixon’s administration, set a record for Missouri state park tourism (Kurt Erickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb. 28). — NB

WideOpenSpaces’ Top 25 State Parks

WideOpenSpaces has posted their top 25 state parks in America.  But then there are over 10,000 to choose from ….

 

CA State Parks Bring Live Field Trips into Classroom Virtually

ports

In order to provide unique, hands-on learning experiences for children, California State Parks has been working to expand its distance learning program, PORTS(Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Schools).

PORTS is a collaboration with innovative ed tech companies to provide one-of-a-kind learning experiences for teachers and students. For instance, in a partnership with Belkin Education, a networking and accessories company, PORTS is offering real-time virtual field trips in 10 California state parks, conducted by state park rangers. Units of study include kelp forests, redwood ecology, monarch butterfly migration and historical subjects like the Gold Rush.

Full story >>

Record Participation in the Guided First Day Hikes In America’s State Parks

 

American’s Enjoy the Guided Hikes in State Parks on January 1

Across the nation thousands of Americans started 2017 off on the “right foot” by attending a First Day Hike in America’s State Parks. On January 1, 2017, more than 1,300 First Day Hikes were offered in all 50 states from Alaska to Florida to 61,800 participants covering over 111,850 miles.

“America’s state parks offer diverse and unique natural and cultural resources. First Day Hikes are a way park rangers, naturalists and volunteers can bring history to life and share their insights of nature,” said Ellen Graham, First Day Hikes Coordinator and Chief Naturalist, Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites.

Iowa almost tripled the number of participants and miles hiked in 2016. This year they added nine new parks and the annual event is becoming a family friendly tradition with returning hikers in spite of the 30-degree temperatures. As a hiker in a Washington State Park stated, “I like walking in the park in the winter, no snakes and no bugs, and it is so quiet I can hear my heartbeat.”

Despite temperatures that never got above freezing in South Dakota, they saw the highest attendance in six years. Two parks got out the snowshoes and one even had cross-country skiers! In Montana with sub-zero temperatures and heavy falling snow in many areas, there were hearty souls hiking along the trails. Over 700 hikers braved 5-12 inches of snow in in New Hampshire parks and enjoyed the winter wildlife, spotting 3 bald eagles.

In Hawaii some hikers began their trek to see the sunrise at 2:30 a.m. over the ocean with views of Molokai and Maui from 560-foot cliff top perches. Several states hosted fun runs and fitness challenges. In Indiana there were over 200 participants for a 3.5 mile run.

As an Arkansas hiker stated, “We were here last year and enjoyed it so much we wanted to come back this year!”

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The National Association of State Park Directors promotes and advocates for the state park systems across America in providing for conservation and management of natural and cultural resources, quality outdoor recreation experiences, connecting children and families to nature and the outdoors, and more. With more than 10,200 park areas and visitation of 760 million annually, the economic impact to local communities is estimated to exceed $20 billion each year. America’s State Parks is an alliance of state park systems in all 50 states.

Below is a brief video link from Hawaii on their pre-dawn hike, as well as a sampling of the media reports from various states.


AL http://www.annistonstar.com/news/state/rain-starts-new-year-dampens-mount-cheaha-hike/article_8b727f68-d084-11e6-bea9-53e886f1a078.html
AZ http://www.havasunews.com/news/first-day-hikes-boat-rides-a-hit-with-participants/article_389939e4-d0b6-11e6-83ae-ab53e83bfb24.html
IL http://www.newstrib.com/free/volunteer-serves-and-defends-starved-rock-promotes-park-etiquette/article_0707e67a-d0eb-11e6-9146-bfcc32c1aa45.html
IA http://www.thehawkeye.com/news/local/large-crowd-hikes-lake-darling-state-park/article_81a22c90-6bb9-5ddd-92fe-3f50f52edf62.html
FL http://staugustine.com/news-local-news/2017-01-02/new-year-new-look-nature
KS http://www.hutchnews.com/eedition/page-a/page_f7c7dc42-2a10-5c69-82a6-b0efbad2423f.html
MD http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/environment/ph-ac-cn-first-day-0102-20170101-story.html
MN http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/4190598-first-day-hikers-burn-calories-snowshoes-jay-cooke-state-park
MO http://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/columbia-residents-venture-to-rock-bridge-state-park-for-first/article_270c9f16-d059-11e6-9285-8b16098182a2.html
NHhttp://www.concordmonitor.com/new-years-nh-first-day-hikes-7212679PA http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-pa-first-day-hike-jacobsburg-20170101-story.html
NJ http://www.njherald.com/20170102/a-walk-in-the-woods-to-start-the-new-year#
NM http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/2017/01/01/hikers-walk-nature-new-years-trek/96071810/
NY  http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2017/01/01/hundreds-mark-launch-2017-stroll-walkway/96063914/
NC  http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/durham-news/article124095069.html
PA http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-pa-first-day-hike-jacobsburg-20170101-story.html
SD  http://www.blackhillsfox.com/content/news/First-day-hikes-gaining-populartiy-in-the-Hills-409205845.html
TN http://www.jacksonsun.com/story/news/local/2017/01/01/chickasaw-state-park-starts-year-first-day-hike/96022800/
TX  http://www.heralddemocrat.com/news/20170101/take-hike