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The National Gold Medal Awards are governed and managed by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, and proudly sponsored by Musco Lighting.

2022 - National Gold Medal Award FINALISTS

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2022 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC continues its 20+ years as the proud sponsor of the National Gold Medal Awards program. 

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the United States that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class, awarded on odd numbered years, for state park systems.

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff and elected officials. Four finalists in each class are chosen to compete for grand honors each year.

In announcing the 2022 National Gold Medal Finalists, AAPRA Executive Director Jane H. Adams shared, “Each Finalist is commended for receiving this prestigious award. We know local communities and military installations worldwide continue to meet the demands of delivering services during the COVID 19 pandemic which includes increased visitations at trails, parks, playgrounds, and greenways. Park visitors and program participants rely upon their service provider for physical, mental, and emotional support during this continuing pandemic.  The Academy congratulates each Finalist for their management excellence during this unprecedented time.” 

The 2022 Gold Medal finalists are:

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, Tampa, FL
  • Johnson County Park & Recreation District, Shawnee Mission, KS
  • Recreation & Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC), Baton Rouge, LA
  • Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, Virginia Beach, VA

Class II (population 150,001 –400,000)

  • City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Des Moines, IA
  • City of Henderson Parks and Recreation, Henderson, NV
  • City of Plano Parks & Recreation Department, Plano, TX
  • Wichita Park & Recreation, Wichita, KS

Class III (population 75,001–150,000)

  • Champaign Park District, Champaign, IL
  • Roseville Parks, Recreation & Libraries Department, Roseville, CA
  • South Bend Venues Parks & Arts, South Bend, IN
  • Waukegan Park District, Waukegan, IL

Class IV (population 30,001 –75,000)

  • Bristol Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services, Bristol, CT
  • Hoffman Estates Park District, Hoffman Estates, IL
  • Park District of Oak Park, Oak Park, IL
  • Waukesha Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department, Waukesha, WI

Class V (population less than 30,000)

  • Deerfield Park District, Deerfield, IL
  • Dickinson Parks and Recreation District, Dickinson, ND
  • East Goshen Township Parks and Recreation, East Goshen, PA
  • Town of Fountain Hills Community Services, Fountain Hills, AZ

Armed Forces Recreation

  • Naval Air Station Whiting Field, FL
  • Naval Submarine Base King Bay, GA
  • U.S. Army Fort Drum, NY
  • U.S. Army Garrison Fort Campbell, KY 

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation both locally and nationally.   

This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honor, and the seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced at the 2022 NRPA Annual Conference in Phoenix, AZ, Sept. 20-22, 2022.

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The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For information, visit www.aapra.org.  

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

Musco Lighting, LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting services range from neighborhood fields to NASCAR super speedways. For more information, visit www.musco.com.

The National Gold Medal Awards are Proudly Sponsored by Musco Lighting.