Something a Little Different

This morning, I got a message from my local park district, letting me know that it’s time to sign up for anyone interested in learning fencing or archery.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a soft spot for archery ever since it was the only sport I excelled in during P.E. in school. But I’m not signing up just yet.

Why? Well, the classes are for anyone 8 years old and up, and my little girl is only 7. We made a deal that we’d learn archery together, so for now, I’m waiting patiently until sometime next year.

But in the meantime, I’m struck by how many great and diverse programs are offered through the local park district.

And you should bear in mind that I don’t live in a large town. Sure, it’s a suburb, but the population is less than 15,000 people. So the fact that we can find fun programs like fencing and archery, as well as a fantastic dance program, a pretty nice fitness center, pickleball, tai chi, obedience school for pups, suspension training, nutrition lessons, swimming (even though the town has no pool! that’s partnership in action for you), cooking classes for kids — not to mention all the usual suspects like personal training, aerobics and yoga, karate and basketball and so on and on — is pretty impressive in my book.

So tell me. What kinds of out-of-the-ordinary programming do you offer?

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Parklands vs. Mother Nature

We spend a lot of time at Recreation Management thinking about the myriad benefits that recreation, sports and fitness facilities deliver to their communities. Quite frankly, I often am astounded to think about how much I took these things for granted before I started covering them for the magazine.

Today, let’s talk about another benefit parks and parklands deliver. I can’t say it any better than U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell:

“What we witnessed during Hurricane Sandy was that our public lands and other natural areas are often the best defense against Mother Nature. By stabilizing marshes and beaches, restoring wetlands, and improving the resiliency of coastal areas, we not only create opportunities for people to connect with nature and support jobs through increased outdoor recreation, but we can also provide an effective buffer that protects local communities from powerful storm surges and devastating floods when a storm like Sandy hits.”

We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of that impressive storm, and while recognizing that existing public lands were a huge boon to the areas hardest hit, public officials have acknowledged that there’s yet more work to be done. That’s why they’ve announced an investment of $162 million into 45 restoration and research projects that aim to better protect Atlantic Coast communities from future storms. The projects will continue the good work of restoring marshes, wetlands and beaches, rebuilding shorelines, as well as researching the effects and modeling mitigation of storm surge impacts.

Take the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge as just one example of how public lands can help. Its more than 47,000 acres of wetlands span from Brick Township to the suburbs of Atlantic City, and the refuge absorbed much of Hurricane Sandy’s energy and storm surge, ultimately protecting some of the local communities in the path of the storm. Sandy destroyed refuge roadways and dumped boats, fuel oil tanks, chemical drums and other debris across 22 miles of refuge lands. But the natural buffer provided by the refuge’s marshes, beaches and forests protected its visitor center and headquarters, as well as surrounding communities, from severe flood damage.

And when they’re not acting as a storm buffer, Forsythe’s lands provide outdoor recreation for more than 250,000 visitors each year, who support $8 million in economic activity. The refuge also provides a crucial, if temporary, home for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds.

Here’s just a sampling of some of the projects the Interior Service has planned:

  • $19.8 million to restore a highly damaged tidal salt marsh/barrier beach ecosystem within the former impounded wetland system on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware.
  • $24.9 million to restore Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve south of Alexandria, Va., which is currently retreating six to eight feet per year.
  • $11 million to restore natural functions in damaged and degraded salt marshes at Seatuck, Werthein and Lido Beach National Wildlife Refuges on Long Island, N.Y.

An additional $45 million is being invested in assessments, modeling, coastal barrier mapping and other projects to provide federal, state and local land managers and decision-makers the information and tools to improve resiliency and prepare for future storms.

Learn more about the projects by visiting

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Emphasize Water Safety This Month

May is National Water Safety Month. Are you prepared?

Here are 10 tips for parents from the World Waterpark Association and Water World in Hyland Hills, Colo.:


  1. Provide swim lessons for children before third grade if possible.
  2. Read and discuss safety rules with children upon arrival at the pool or waterpark.
  3. Make sure any personal floatation devices are Coast Guard approved.
  4. Stay in close proximity to your children at all times.
  5. Wear water shoes to protect feet from hot sidewalks.
  6. Never bring a sick child (especially a child suffering from diarrhea) to the pool.
  7. Remind children to avoid ingesting water and to take regular bathroom breaks.
  8. Change diapers in designated areas only.
  9. Sun safety: Apply sunscreen a half hour before going out into the sun for maximum absorption. Use sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF–and reapply every 2 hours. Stay hydrated with water and other clear liquids or sports drinks.
  10. Never swim alone, especially at neighborhood pools where no lifeguards are on duty.

Now is a good time to remind your patrons about these water safety tips–before summer is in full swing.

Posted in aquatics, pools, swimming, Water Safety | Leave a comment

Did Hurricane Sandy Trash Your Pool?

If you’re a pool professional, owner or operator faced with cleaning up your hurricane-damaged pool, you’ll be glad to know that you’re not alone.

Industry veteran Terry Arko of SeaKlear has created an online, step-by-step program to ensure your pool water is clear and clean and ready to open by Memorial Day weekend.

Pools that have been overwhelmed by hurricane flood waters can contain seawater, salt, sand, high levels of phosphates — maybe even some sewage. To clean water hit heavily by the storm, read the checklist designed to help get your pool opened without the sludgy dirt and microorganisms.

Arko is well known for seminars on water chemistry, and his hurricane program is designed with pool professionals in mind.

Arko’s online help can be found at this site. And more information to help your cleanup efforts can be found here.

Posted in aquatics, chlorination, swimming | Tagged | Leave a comment

429 Pages of Raw Data

I’ve just received the raw end of our Industry Report data. This is before the couple of months of digging and interpreting and calculating that lead up to our June issue, where we report the results to you.

This early part of the process is always exciting for me.

What will this year’s data tell us about the state of the industry? Impossible to know until it’s all untangled, but if past reports show a trend, things should be getting better and better, with budget belts loosening a bit while revenues grow.

Stay tuned for June, when we’ll have all the details ready for you!

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Add Another One to the List

A long, long time ago — back when I was in my late teens or early 20s — I told myself that someday, I’d like to visit every National Park in the United States.

Not a bad goal, right?

Of course, I’ll never get there. Especially if they keep adding new parks to the list.

Last week, Pinnacles National Monument in California became Pinnacles National Park. This makes it our 59th national park — the ninth national park in California alone. (I’ll never make it to all of them!)

“Like other national parks across our country, Pinnacles not only takes visitors’ breaths away with its natural beauty, but it also provides opportunities for outdoor recreation and supports economic growth and jobs in the local community,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

In 2012, Pinnacles saw more than 343,000 visitors, who spent $4.8 million and supported 48 jobs in the local economy, Salazar added.

Located near the San Andreas Fault in the Gabilan Mountains east of central California’s Salinas Valley, Pinnacles is a living example of tectonic plate movement. The Pinnacles rocks are part of a volcanic field born 23 million years ago near present-day Lancaster, Calif., some 195 miles southeast. The San Andreas Fault split the volcanic field as the Pacific Plate crept north, delivering the Pinnacles to its present location.

The park encompasses 27,000 acres of wild lands, where visitors can see massive monoliths, spires, cave passages and canyons. Climbers are especially attracted to the rock formations, and every spring the landscape busts out into a spring display that attracts more than 400 species of native bees.

The park also provides habitat for 63 endangered California condors.

“Pinnacles National Monument has long been a shining example of California’s unique ecosystem, geology and unrivaled beauty,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird.

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