December 2016

City of Henderson Awarded for Water Safety Programs

The City of Henderson, Nev., was awarded the Kelly Ogle Memorial Safety Award at the World Waterpark Association Symposium and Trade Show, which was held in New Orleans this past October. This award is given to an individual or organization for significant contributions to guest and employee safety in the water attractions industry. Noted as one of the Top Six Safest Cities in America by Forbes, the City of Henderson is nationally recognized for its stunning parks, trails, master-planned communities, and outstanding quality of life.

Grant Brings Outdoor Fitness Area to Park

Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles, Ill., recently installed a new outdoor exercise facility, bringing free fitness opportunities to the community, thanks to a funding grant.

Alliance Recommends Actions to Improve Kids' Activity Stats

Only 21.6 percent of children between 6 and 19 years old are meeting physical activity guidelines, according to the 2016 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Here’s a look at some of the findings, as well as suggestions for improving the situation.

November 2016

Retractable Enclosures Help YMCAs Cut Costs, Boost Membership

YMCA facilities are able to reduce operating costs, increase membership and create all-seasons environments for communities thanks to retractable enclosures.

Huge Project Seeks to Rebuild Monarch Habitats

Earlier this October, the Conservation Foundation of Naperville, Ill., was granted $250,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for the Fox Valley Corridor Project. This project is part of larger, national effort to restore habitats of the North American Monarch Butterfly across the United States. The Conservation Foundation is one of 22 organizations to receive a grant for this kind of project. All 22 chosen projects come to a total award amount of $3,048,887 according to the Nation Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s 2016 Monarch Grant Slate.

Report: Camping More Popular Than Ever

The 2016 North American Camping Report is out, and it shows us that camping is more popular than ever. Even more encouraging is the fact that everyone wants to spend more time outdoors—all ethnic groups and age categories, from millennials to seniors.

ACSM Predicts 2017 Fitness Trends

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has announced its annual fitness trend forecast, and exercise pros say wearable technology will again be the top fitness trend in the coming year. Read on to find out about more top trends in the coming year.

October 2016

CDC: More Than One-Quarter of 50-Plus U.S. Adults Don't Exercise

Despite the many benefits of moderate physical activity, 31 million Americans (28 percent) age 50 years and older are inactive—that is, they are not physically active beyond the basic movements needed for daily life activities. This finding comes from a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Park District Recognized for Collaboration Efforts

St. Charles Park District in Illinois recently earned a prestigious award from the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) for intergovernmental collaboration. The Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) awarded the St. Charles Park District its coveted Intergovernmental Award for the park district’s extensive and dedicated collaboration with Community Unit School District 303 for managing the John B. Norris Recreation Center’s programs, memberships and services.

Americans Support Increased Local Funding for Parks & Rec

Americans’ support for local parks and recreation is strong, with a majority of Americans agreeing that parks and recreation are important services delivered by local government, and that funding for local parks and recreation agencies should be increased.

High School Sports Participation Up for 27th Consecutive Year

When you were in high school, do you recall the option to participate in organized bocce, sailing, air riflery or rock climbing? What about squash, rodeo, canoe paddling or ultimate Frisbee? These are some of the non-traditional sports listed in the annual High School Athletics Participation survey, which shows that in 2015-16, the number of participants in high school sports increased for the 27th consecutive year.

National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years of Successful Partnerships

Partnerships play a vital role in protecting and enhancing National Park Service sites and programs. Recently, a variety of groups that have made significant contributions were named as the recipients of the 2016 Director’s Partnership Awards.

September 2016

Study Shows High Obesity Rates Among Student Athletes

Similar rates of obesity and high blood pressure readings have been found in student athletes that you would see in the general adolescent population, according to researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Forest Service Celebrates 100-Year-Old Campground

The Eagle Creek Campground in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area turned 100 this past July, and the USDA Forest Service threw a birthday party at the northern Oregon site. The anniversary is significant because Eagle Creek was the first Forest Service campground developed to provide basic amenities for campers, such as a comfort station (restroom), picnic tables, cook stoves, parking areas, Eagle Creek Trail, a trail register and interpretive guide map, and a ranger station with a full-time ranger—Albert Wisendanger—on duty during the summer season.

Study Shows Artificial Turf Composition Influences Injury Prevention

It turns out that the composition of artificial turf surfaces is the key to preventing high school football injuries. This, according to new research that shows how the infill weight of artificial turf surfaces can directly affect the number of injuries to high school football players, according to a recent news release from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), an organization that specializes in orthopaedic sports medicine education, research, communication and fellowship.

August 2016

Study Shows Artificial Turf Composition Influences Injury Prevention

It turns out that the composition of artificial turf surfaces is the key to preventing high school football injuries. This, according to new research that shows how the infill weight of artificial turf surfaces can directly affect the number of injuries to high school football players, according to a recent news release from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), an organization that specializes in orthopaedic sports medicine education, research, communication and fellowship.

Council Announces Release of Second Edition of Model Aquatic Health Code

The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2016 Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) on July 15, 2016. This second edition of the MAHC includes important updates to the first edition released in 2014.

Study Finds Seniors, Women Less Likely to Use Parks

In the spring and summer of 2014, the RAND Corporation sent observers into 174 neighborhood parks in 25 cities with 100,000 or more residents, with the goal of learning how people used the parks. The study concluded that neighborhood parks, along with their programmed activities, are geared more toward youths, limiting their use by adults and seniors. The study also found that younger females were less likely to use the parks, with females representing only 40 percent of children and 35 percent of teens observed. And females of all ages were less likely to play any organized sports and were more sedentary than males.

Level Up Your Park With Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm, and many parks are finding ways to use this phenomenon to boost their visitors and engage people in the outdoors. Find out how your park can take advantage of this new craze.

July 2016

Research Shows Light Pollution's Impact on Night Sky

New research reveals how light pollution has an impact on the night sky. The New World Atlas model provides a compelling illustration that sky glow extends large distances from cities, and offers a tool for national parks to work in partnership with all stakeholders to pursue restoration of night skies.

Trail-Oriented Development Eases Congestion, Encourages Activity

Urban traffic congestion is a seemingly unavoidable part of everyday living in major metropolitan areas. In collaboration with real estate developers, city planners have started implementing new solutions to this age-old problem. They’ve noticed a surge in commuter usage of alternative transportation methods such as biking and walking. Their data analysis has led to new innovations in city and neighborhood construction.

Nonprofits Aim to Boost Inclusive Fitness Opportunities

Two exciting launches recently took place at the American Heart Association in Washington, D.C.: The UFIT (Universal Fitness Innovation and Transformation) USA launch, and the global launch of the Marseille Declaration. Both initiatives strive for social change and aim to increase fitness opportunities for people with disabilities, ultimately gaining more inclusion in society.

June 2016

Research Shows Benefits of Nature for Older Adults

A newly published research brief, "The Benefits of Nearby Nature in Cities for Older Adults," provides an overview of the health and wellness benefits of urban nearby nature—parks, gardens and trees that are easily accessible and close to one's residence.

Destination Play Comes to Draper, Utah

Developing a destination playground requires a combination of imagination and ingenuity. That's why Wheadon Farm Park deserves special credit. This recent project took a century-old piece of land and rebuilt it into a popular park featuring vestiges of American culture. Equal parts restoration and new creation, Wheadon Farm Park hearkens back to the final days of pioneer life while offering all the modern amenities parents and kids expect from a playground.

New Report Breaks Down the Data on City Parks

Recently, TPL's Center for City Park Excellence released the 2016 City Park Facts report, the nation's most complete compilation of data about parks in the nation's 100 largest cities. The report includes breakdowns of spending on public parks and recreation, acreage, number of park units, parkland by city and agency, comparison of designed versus natural parkland, data on specific recreational facilities, and much more.

Virtual Reality, Immersion & Interaction Lead Amusement Park Trends in 2016

As amusement parks and attractions begin to open their gates for the summer season, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) released its annual compilation of new attractions opening this year. Exciting trends for 2016 include virtual reality roller coasters, immersive 3-D/4-D attractions, interactive guest experiences, and edutainment.

May 2016

National Leaders Team Up to Promote Physical Activity Plan

The U.S. National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) recently released an updated roadmap that details specific actions that encourage all Americans to partake in regular physical activity.

Growing Economic Confidence Means More Visitors for Attractions Industry

A majority of respondents to a recent survey said they intend to travel for leisure in 2016, in large part due to an overall increase in the confidence of the U.S. economy, according to PGAV Destinations' inaugural "Voice of the Visitor" report.

SHAPE America Recognizes Just Dance School of the Year

Congratulations are in order for Moscow Middle School in Moscow, Idaho, for being named the first ever Just Dance School of the Year. The honor comes from SHAPE America – the Society of Health and Physical Educators, and Just Dance, makers of the active video game used for exercise and entertainment in schools and homes worldwide.

Surgeon General Visits Gregory Gym in Austin

During a recent visit to the University of Texas at Austin, the 19th Surgeon General took a step back in time when he toured Gregory Gymnasium Aquatic Complex, one of the oldest swimming institutions of any major college.

April 2016

Are States Dropping the Ball on Keeping Kids Active?

Students across the nation would benefit from strong state requirements for physical education. However, "2016 Shape of the Nation," released by SHAPE America (Society of Health and Physical Educators) and Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows most states are dropping the ball on keeping kids active and fit, and preparing them for a healthy future.

U.S. Masters Swimming Campaigns to Reduce Adult Drowning

April is Adult Learn to Swim month. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, about 10 people drown every day in the United States, and the majority of them are adults or young adults. Here's how a campaign by U.S. Masters Swimming is aiming to reduce adult drowning by training and certifying instructors and providing grants for swim lessons.

Grants for Urban Outdoor Recreation Available

The National Park Service (NPS) is offering $15 million in grants to develop outdoor recreation spaces in urban areas, according to NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. The deadline for applications is May 20, 2016. Those who may apply include state and local government agencies (cities, counties, park districts, etc.) and federally-recognized Indian tribes within or serving areas delineated by the Census Bureau from the 2010 Census as having populations of 50,000 or more people and consisting of densely settled territory.

Physical Education Program Grant Competition Opens

The Department of Education announced that it will award $23 million in Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grants for the 2016-17 school year.

March 2016

Nature Play Comes to Wildwood

Natural play combines children's love of parks with their need for outdoor play. Take, for example, the city of Wildwood, Missouri. In 2007, the local government polled its constituency, asking if they'd like to use available funding to buy new land. Its express purpose was as a community park, but the surprising aspect from the results wasn't about the acquisition itself. A plurality voted against more traditional play areas such as a baseball field or skatepark, instead choosing walking trails and fishing ponds.

Miracle Swimming Opens First Pool Dedicated to Those With Water Fears

Nearly half (46 percent) of American adults cannot swim because they are fearful in deep water, creating a need for swimming lessons designed specifically not just for adults, but also to overcome those fears. On April 16, 2016, a new swimming pool dedicated specifically to teaching adults to swim is scheduled to open in Sarasota, Fla.

Managing Concussion Risk: Communities Switch From Contact to Flag Football

An NFL report showed that concussions rose 30 percent in 2015, to a total of 271—the highest number in four years, despite tougher concussion protocol compiled by the NFL's Head, Neck, and Spine committee. News like this is causing many parents to become fearful about letting their kids play contact football. And now there's a growing list of communities nationally making the switch from contact to flag football.

Gallup Study Looks at Long-Term Well-Being of Former Student Athletes

According to a recent study conducted by Gallup in collaboration with NCAA, past participants in college sports fared better in four out of five measures of well-being. When it comes to purpose, community, social well-being and physical well-being, former student athletes are in better shape.

February 2016

Purdue University Simplifies & Boosts Security

It's a dilemma faced on campuses across America: recreational centers frequented by hundreds or even thousands of students daily, with lockers for storing books, clothing and other possessions. Staff time is often devoted to

Fitness Fosters Better Mental Health

Mental illness is no longer the taboo subject it once was in our society. Thanks to social media, people have a deeper awareness of the difficulties such patients face in their daily lives. Historically, businesses have ignored the ripple effects of failing to treat such maladies. In recent years, health insurers discovered and addressed this issue. Their forward thinking provides a financial and ethical opportunity for fitness facilities.

Restricting Diving May Have Little to Do With Preventing Injury, Study Says

Protecting patrons at the pool is important, but an overabundance of rules isn't necessarily the right approach, according to new research. When it comes to dives—and restricting what's allowed on the diving board—the rules don't necessarily have a big payoff, in terms of protecting people from injury, according to the Society for Risk Analysis.

National Parks Work to Protect Bats and Their Habitats

If you've ever been jolted awake in the night by a ruckus—only to find a frantic bat flying around the room—you may have felt a bit…creeped out. But bats play an important role in a healthy ecosystem: They eat insects, pollinate plants, serve as prey base and disperse seeds. And now bats face a new threat—white-nose syndrome (WNS). The National Park Service (NPS) has dedicated $3 million to address WNS-related issues. Learn more about what the NPS is doing, and how local parks can help.

USTA Helps Communities Boost Tennis Participation

Via facilities grants and other assistance, the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) has been helping communities provide more opportunities for learning and enjoying the sport of tennis since 2005. From concept plans and professional construction document review to grants for a wide range of construction and facility improvement projects, the association partners with communities to grow the sport.

January 2016

Organizations Aim to Clarify Dangers of Hypoxic Blackout

The practices of hyperventilation preceding underwater swimming and extended breath-holding in the water are dangerous and potentially deadly activities. These actions can put the body in a state of hypoxia—a condition in which the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. The American Red Cross, the YMCA of the USA and USA Swimming aim to educate the public about the risks of hypoxia in the water.

NRPA Receives Grant to Celebrate Those Advancing Health Equity

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has awarded the National Recreation and Park Association a $60,000 grant spanning seven years to help establish the RWJF Awards for Health Equity.

Expanding Education on Concussion in Sports

The new film Concussion follows the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of what is now known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in those with a history of repetitive brain trauma such as concussion. While the film will bring the issue of brain injury and sports participation to many people's attention for the first time, many organizations and professionals have been hard at work trying to expand our understanding of concussion in sports like football and boxing.

Omnibus Budget Boosts Funding for National Parks, Extends LWCF

The fiscal year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill passed in mid-December 2015 extended funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and also included significant increases in funding for national parks.