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America's state park leaders gather to discuss data, innovation and accessibility during annual conference in Nevada

Sep 26, 2023

State Leaders Meet in Nevada Discuss Management Issues, Recognize Leaders and Advocates

America's state park leaders gather to discuss data, innovation and accessibility during annual conference in Nevada


National Association of State Park Directors

26 Sep, 2023, 16:13 ET

STATELINE, Nev., Sept. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- State park directors, staff and vendors from across the nation gathered on the shore of Lake Tahoe in west central Nevada Sept. 12-15 to celebrate America's state parks during the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) annual conference.

The National Association of State Park Directors held its annual conference on Sept. 12-15 at Lake Tahoe.

The National Association of State Park Directors held its annual conference on Sept. 12-15 at Lake Tahoe.

Nevada State Parks was the host of the 2023 conference, which took place at Tahoe Blue Center in Stateline, Nev., about an hour's drive from Reno, Nev. As part of the conference, participants had the opportunity to visit multiple Nevada state parks, recreation areas and historic sites across the region.

More than 430 state park directors, deputy directors, operations managers, support staff and sponsors and exhibitors attended the conference. Keynote speakers included:

  • Shannon Estenoz, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Kristine Stratton, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Recreation & Park Association
  • Myron F. Floyd, Dean, College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University
  • Patrick Renvoise, Co-Founder and President, SalesBrain
  • Matthew Saponaro, Founder, A.I. Whoo
  • Courtney Schultz, Executive Director, Health and Technology Partners
  • Darin Uselman, Chief Operations Officer, KOA
  • Yu-Fai Leung, Professor and Director of North Carolina State University Graduate Program, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; Director, Annual Information Exchange, NASPD

Session topics ranged from the growing role of data in park management, innovative opportunities for outdoor recreation development, bridging accessibility gaps in outdoor recreation opportunities and strategies for recruiting and managing park staff.

"Each year this conference is an opportunity for the leaders of America's state parks to come together to compare notes and learn from leading voices from across the outdoor recreation industry," said Lewis Ledford, NASPD Executive Director. "This year participants had the opportunity to gain encouragement and inspiration while taking in beautiful Lake Tahoe. State parks across the country will benefit from the time their leaders spent together during this event."

NASPD honored nine organizations and individuals at its annual award ceremony, including:

  • Director of the Year Distinguished Service Award
    • Linda Lanterman, Director, Kansas State Parks, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
  • Rockefeller-Udall Award
    • Amy Berry, Chief Executive Officer, The Tahoe Fund
  • Innovation Award
    • Colorado Parks and Wildlife, "Keep Colorado Wild Pass"
  • President's Award
    • Friends of Ludington State Park, a Michigan 501(c)(3) volunteer organization
    • Joanne Kittel, Co-Chairperson, View The Future
    • Dr. Jun-Hyun Kim, School of Planning, Design and Construction, Michigan State University
  • Ney C. Landrum Park History Award
    • Alan Levere, Volunteer, Connecticut State Parks
    • Alaska State Parks and Office of History Archaeology, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation
  • Malia French Floyd, Director of Client Marketing for Aspira, was recognized for her numerous efforts supporting America's state parks, including coordinating the annual America's State Parks Photo Contest for the past seven years.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly congratulated Lanterman on being awarded NASPD's highest annual honor.

"Congratulations to Kansas State Parks Director Linda Lanterman for earning the prestigious Distinguished Director Award from the National Association of State Park Directors," said Gov. Kelly. "As a previous Executive Director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association, I know firsthand how important this role is to our communities and to our overall economy. I appreciate Linda's tremendous dedication to Kansas state parks."

Presentations by both STIHL Inc. and Bronco Wild Fund during the conference included the announcement of separate grant opportunities to a total of 24 state parks across the country in support of increased accessibility and conservation work.

For more information about the NASPD, please visit To view photos from the 2023 NASPD awards ceremony, click here.

About the NASPD

The mission of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) 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.

Media Contact:

Lewis Ledford, Executive Director

SOURCE National Association of State Park Directors