June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 18

RESEARCH
Stronger Partnerships and New
Responsibilities Emerge From the Pandemic
Examining the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the park and recreation field
By Kevin Roth
T
he World Health Organization's declaration that the novel coronavirus
(COVID-19) outbreak was a global pandemic in March 2020
caused nothing short of a dramatic change in society. The pandemic
had a tremendously detrimental impact on many people's
physical and mental health, led to significant economic instability, and highlighted
challenges that our most vulnerable community members faced. The
past few years also showed how parks and recreation is essential. Parks, trails
and outdoor amenities offered respite from stress, and park and recreation
agencies provided childcare to essential workers, served as distribution points
for nutrition assistance, and made their facilities available for COVID-19 testing
and vaccinations. But what are the lasting effects of the pandemic?
The NRPA Research team partnered
with the following researchers
to understand the pandemic's
legacy on parks and recreation:
* Andrew J. Mowen, Ph.D.
The Pennsylvania State University
* Sammie Powers, Ph.D.
George Mason University
* Nick Pitas, Ph.D.
University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign
*
Alex Caraynoff, M.S.
The Pennsylvania State University
The team conducted a survey and
reported on park and recreation
leaders' opinions on their agencies'
resiliency and innovation, budgetary
and staffing impacts, how they
communicated the local impacts to
political leaders, and how agencies
took on new responsibilities and
formed partnerships.
Innovation
A large majority of park and recreation
leaders agree that they and
their peers were innovative during
18 Parks & Recreation | JUNE 2 0 2 3
the pandemic; 76 percent rank their
profession a 4 or 5 on a five-point
scale. A mere 3 percent characterize
the industry as not having been resilient
at all during the pandemic. A
smaller majority describe their own
agencies as having been innovative
in response to the pandemic. Sixtytwo
percent assigned a 4 or 5 on a
five-point scale when rating how
innovative their agency's response
was. Fewer than 1 in 10 indicate that
their agencies were not innovative.
Park Visitation and
Program Participation
Parks, trails and open spaces were
among few recreational
has proven to be durable; 80 percent
of park and recreation professionals
report that park visitation levels currently
are higher than pre-pandemic
levels. A third of park and recreation
leaders indicate visitation levels have
" increased significantly, " while 47
percent report that usage has increased
" somewhat. "
Advocacy and Vocalness
Park and recreation leaders utilized
many strategies when advocating
to local officials for greater funding
and investment. The most common
strategy, used by 89 percent of survey
respondents, focused on oneon-one
conversations with public
officials. Beyond these discussions,
agency leaders invited local officials
to tour their agencies' facilities to
see the impact of COVID-19 (73
percent). Agency leaders also drew
upon the experiences of residents
through
storytelling
(81
percent)
and community member testimonies
at public meetings (75 percent).
resources
available early in the pandemic. As a
result, 4 in 5 park and recreation leaders
report that park visitation levels at
the peak of the pandemic were higher
than before the global health crisis.
Sixty percent characterize park visitation
levels as having " increased significantly "
compared to pre-pandemic
levels. The growth in park usage
| PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
Conclusion
The way park and recreation professionals
and agencies responded
to the pandemic highlighted how
their work is essential. However,
most agencies still operate without
the financial support needed to fully
deliver on their mission.
Kevin Roth is NRPA Vice President of
Research, Evaluation and Technology at
NRPA (kroth@nrpa.org).

June 2023 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2023 - Parks & Recreation

June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 1
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 2
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 3
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 4
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 5
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 6
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 7
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 8
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 9
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 10
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 11
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 12
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 13
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 14
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 15
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 16
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 17
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 18
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 19
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 20
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 21
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 22
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 23
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 24
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 25
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 26
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 27
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 28
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 29
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 30
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 31
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 32
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 33
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 34
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 35
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 36
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 37
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 38
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 39
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 40
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 41
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 42
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 43
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 44
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 45
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 46
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 47
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 48
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 49
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 50
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 51
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 52
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 53
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 54
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 55
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 56
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
June 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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