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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.

Gold Medal Award Resources

Just the Facts


  • The 2022 National Gold Medal Award Program is open to any public park and recreation agency, state park systems, and armed forces recreation programs (worldwide).
  • NO membership with any organization is required to apply.
  • Finalist Award recipients may re-apply year to year; Grand Plaque Award recipients must wait 5 years to re-apply.

Application Fee:

  • NO fee is paid to submit an application for a National Gold Medal Award.

Award Timeline:

The week of January 10, 2022: Applications Open
March 25, 2022: Application Deadline
Week of May 2, 2022: Applicants Notified of Judging Status    
Friday May 27, 2022: Video Deadline for Agencies Chosen as a Finalist
Week of September 19, 2022: Presentation of Finalist & Grand Plaques/NRPA Conference, Phoenix, AZ or Virtually

Gold Medal Award Classes:

  • 5 Public Agency Categories Based on Population:
    • Class I: 400,001 and over
    • Class II: 150,001 to 400,000
    • Class III: 75,001 to 150,000
    • Class IV: 30,001 to 75,000
    • Class V: Less than 30,000
  • Armed Forces Recreation (worldwide)
  • US State Park Systems (odd-numbered years)

Application Requirements:

  1. Completion of the online application Public Agency and Armed Forces Recreation
    1. For the 2022 application period, data for the years 2019, 2020, and 2021 should be used.
  2. 3-page Executive Summary PDF of the applicant’s most recent Master Plan and the applicant's Strategic Plan (Note, if the Executive Summaries are in excess of 3-pages, they must be shortened to meet the 3-page requirement.)
  3. Provide links to applicant’s website home page; recent program brochure; Executive Summary of Master Plan; and Strategic Plan.

NOTE: If the applicant is selected as a Finalist, a 5-minute social media type video must be submitted by May 27, 2022.


  • Keep a copy of your completed application for your records.
  • If your application is successfully submitted, you will receive a confirmation email.  If you do not receive a confirmation receipt within 24 hours after submitting your application, contact

Questions? Contact  

Musco Lighting is the proud sponsor of the National Gold Medal Award Program