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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan, julie.buchanan@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-2292.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 26, 2012
Contact: Gary Waugh, DCR Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-5045, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia State Parks Director wins national award

(RICHMOND, VA)  -- Joe Elton, state parks director with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, was recently awarded a 2012 Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of Recreation Resource Planners. The award was presented last week at the NARRP annual meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Elton was recognized both for his work with the Virginia State Park system, as immediate past president of the National Association of State Park Directors and as a founder and the current president of the America's State Park Foundation.

 The distinguished service award is presented annually to those who have made significant and lasting contributions to the outdoor recreation profession. The award recognized Elton's "lifetime of leadership and significant and lasting contributions to the outdoor recreation profession and America's State Parks" An NARRP news release announcing the award said of Elton: "Joe is known by many as a tireless advocate for state parks, and has displayed a crusader's zeal and reformer's impatience in helping to create the America's State Parks alliance and developing public-private partnerships to benefit state parks across the country."

"It is gratifying to see one of our own receive this high, national recognition," said DCR Director David Johnson. "Joe is sharing nationally the talents we have seen on display here in Virginia for years." DCR manages the Virginia State Park system. Elton has been director of the system since 1994.

Elton called receiving the award an honor and credited his success with being surrounded by great people who love the outdoors as much as they love helping people discover and enjoy outdoor recreation.  "Our local and state parks are the places most Americans learn the health and well being benefits of hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, camping, swimming and all the other pursuits that make the outdoors fun and healthy."

The NARRP is a nonprofit organization comprised of outdoor recreation professionals and others interested in recreation resource planning. It is a nationwide organization with members in nearly every state, representing federal, state, regional, and local agencies, consultants, non-profits, and academic institutions. The mission of the association is to advance the recreation resource planning profession.

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