At its annual meeting in Lexington, Ky., on Sept. 6, the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) recognized the contributions of individuals, non-profits and public agencies for their support of state parks and state park systems across the nation, according to a news release.

“It is truly a privilege to honor people who are so passionate about America’s State Parks that they devote their time, talents and resources to protecting and enhancing them for all to enjoy. We value and celebrate their unique contributions not only in their home states, but across the nation,” said NASPD President Priscilla Geigis.

Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors

President’s Award winners were:

  • The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. This 6,500-member organization whose mission is to protect Iowa’s land, water and wildlife has worked to add over 3,000 acres to the Iowa state park system over the years. Through their efforts, Stone State Park in the Loess Hill country of Iowa has expanded by nearly 40 percent. This special landscape is visited by over 200,000 visitors annually.
  • The Friends of Audubon State Park, Kentucky. The Friends have worked to improve, preserve and expand this historic park through work parties, fund raising, events, and acquisition of property. The park which houses collections of paintings and works of John James Audubon was recently expanded by 649 acres through the generosity of six of its members. Committed to ensuring that visitors of all abilities have access to the treasures this park holds, the Friends are working with park staff to provide trails accessible to all.
  • Ellen Arnold, Friends of Upton State Forest, Massachusetts. As the founder of the Friends of Upton State Forest, Ellen Arnold’s zeal, passion and enthusiasm for the story of the Civilian Conservation Corps and its role in creating Upton State Forest is exemplified through her efforts to carry this story to school children and the local community. She believes through education and understanding others will share her passion for preserving this unique treasure and all of our state parks.
  • Michigan State Parks. In a partnership established with Merrill, the outdoor shoe manufacturer, Michigan State Parks created a program that introduces and engages kids and families to outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, photography, geo-caching, birding, and many others. Merrill and Michigan State Parks have introduced a whole new generation to the healthful benefits and fun of outdoor recreation at over 400 events.

The Ney C. Landrum Park History Award, named for retired long-time Florida State Park director and author of several books about the state park movement, is awarded to individuals or organizations whose research and study have made a significant contribution to the historical record of a state park, a state park system, or the state park movement nationally. Two awards were presented:

  • Fort Miles Historical Association, Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware. The Association has raised funds and contributed the skills and talents of its members to restore this coastal defense site at Cape Henlopen State Park and to create a museum showcasing military history of the Cape. They also acquired a naval gun from the battleship USS Missouri for display and conduct firing demonstrations for the public. Their work has brought history alive.
  • Dr.Dave Brauner and Oregon State University. Over nearly a decade, the Oregon State University (OSU) through Dr. Dave Brauner and doctoral candidate Mollie Manion have been working with Oregon State Parks to build the historical record of “the birthplace of Oregon” at Champoeg State Historic Area. Through field schools conducted by the OSU Archaeology Department, digs have revealed a rich treasure of artifacts that have challenged how historians think about Euro-American settlers of this site and how they lived. This summer, nearly 1,000 visitors observed the students excavating the site and documenting their finds and learned of treasures and history of this significant site.

Several recipients were on hand to accept the awards.

The National Association of State Park Directors is a non-profit organization of state park directors whose mission is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy. NASPD under the banner of America’s State Parks sponsors “First Day Hikes” in state parks nationwide on New Year’s Day.

The National Association of State Park Directors