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The Premiere Award in Parks & Recreation – the National Gold Medal Award 2023 Applications Now Open

Apply for a National Gold Medal Award

Viewed as the premiere award in park and recreation, the National Gold Medal Program seeks to identify those agencies, state park systems, and military installations who display excellence in the management of their parks, open space, facilities, and recreation services. 

So…why go for a National Gold Medal Award? Watch the 2023 National Gold Medal Award video to learn more. 

Public agencies select a class based upon their population: Class 1 (population 400,001 and over); Class II (population 150,001 to 400,000); Class III (population 75,001 to 150,000); Class IV (population 30,001 to 75,000) and Class V (population less than 30,000). Armed forces installations and state park systems do not have population categories. 

The Gold Medal application asks agencies to identify what they do well in managing their agency and why that is considered the agency’s most outstanding effort; the activities undertaken externally to connect with its community and partners; examples of the agency’s innovation and creativity; and how it addresses the issue of access to all; community health and well-being; and climate-ready parks. Finally, it asks agencies to share challenge(s) it has faced in the last three (3) years; how it addressed those challenge(s); and the results achieved. 

Applicants must complete an online Gold Medal application by March 3, 2023, at which time a panel of five (5) independent Gold Medal judges carefully review each application and select 4 agencies per category as a Gold Medal Finalist. Finalist applicants then submit a five (5) minute video highlighting the activities and results noted in their application. The Gold Medal judges then select one (1) agency per category to receive the Grand Plaque. Finalist and Grand Plaques will be awarded either virtually or in person in Dallas, Texas, as part of the 2023 National Recreation and Park Association Conference, October 8-10. 

In 2022 the following agencies received the coveted Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award: Recreation & Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, LA; City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation, IA; South Bend 

Venues Parks & Arts, IN; Waukesha Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department, WI; Town of Fountain Hills Community Services, AZ; and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, GA. 

The National Gold Medal Award Program is administered by the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) and is sponsored by Musco Lighting, LLC.


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