Recipient Biography

Katie Porter


As Chair of the National Recreation and Park Association from 1989 through 1991, Katie Porter steered the organization through some turbulent times, helping to keep the Board focused on the important needs of the membership. Katie served on a plethora of committees, including the development committee, audiovisual awards committee, Mid-Atlantic Regional Council, public policy committee, site selection committee, awards committee, communication and information committee, National Committee on Arts and Humanities, and the executive committee. NRPA honored Katie as a life trustee in 1998 for her accumulated efforts.

Katie has a calm, reflective and reassuring manner. People she works with are impressed with her wisdom and foresight. She has been sharing her excitement and dedication for parks and the preservation of the natural environment for over 50 years.

She has also been recognized for her lifelong work within her home state of New Jersey. The New Jersey Recreation and Park Association honored her with the Frederick C. Sutro Memorial Award in 1985. This award requires that the individual has made outstanding contributions and rendered dedicated and devoted service to public recreation, parks, conservation or leisure services. For many years, Katie was chair of the highly acclaimed Morris County Park Commission, as well as vice chair of the Governor’s Council on New Jersey Outdoors, chair of the New Jersey Natural Areas Council, a commissioner with the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, a board member of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, a board member for the New Jersey Committee for the Trust for Public Lands and was elected as the mayor of Mendham Township. She has been a strong advocate for parks, recreation, and open space. She was the recipient of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council Citizen Citation and the Past President award for the Junior League of Morristown.

On a national level, Katie serves as on the governance council and as past-president of the National Recreation Foundation. Its mission is to be a life-enhancing force for youth by investing strategically in recreation with a special focus on programs for those who are economically, physically, or mentally disadvantaged. The foundation also supports aggressive campaigns to increase the fitness levels of all Americans. The National Recreation Foundation considers health and wellness particularly important in view of the ever-escalating cost of health care in the United States.

In addition to these volunteer activities, Katie has managed to have a fulfilling personal life as well. She is a graduate of Bradford College in Massachusetts and attended Ecole du Louvre, La Sorbonne in Paris where she studied art history. Her spouse, Jim, has been a supportive advocate of her contributions to the community throughout their life together. Jim and Katie have been married for 54 years. They have two daughters, one son, and five wonderful grandchildren, ranging in age from 11 to 21.

The Pugsley Award seeks to recognize outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of public parks in the United States. Katie Porter exemplifies such lifelong commitment and is an outstanding example to others. [October 2014]