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Date: July 01, 2013
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442,

Virginia State Parks named a finalist for the 2013 National Gold Medal Awards

(RICHMOND) – The Virginia State Parks system has been named a finalist for the 2013 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. The award is given by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and sponsored by Musco Lighting LLC.

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. The state park system award is given every other year.

“It’s easy for visitors to see that Virginia State Parks are among the best in the nation, and this year we may be judged to be the very best state park system,” said David Johnson, director, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. “Simply being recognized as one of the top four in the nation is a significant accomplishment that reflects the daily dedication of State Park Director Joe Elton’s staff and volunteers.”

Florida, Missouri and North Carolina are the other state finalists.

A panel of five parks and recreation professionals reviews and judges application materials. Judges are chosen for their experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on the local and national levels. The judges will evaluate long-range planning, challenges and strategies, unique projects, stewardship efforts, technology innovations, program evaluation, specialized services and citizen support.

Virginia State Parks received the National Gold Medal Award in 2001.

“We’ve been down this trail before,” Joe Elton said. “Our work to provide affordable and enjoyable recreational opportunities to millions of visitors was recognized with the Gold Medal Award more than a decade ago. Today, we have more parks, millions more visitors, hundreds more programs, festivals and activities, and we continue to do more with less. We are honored and humbled to have our efforts recognized at the national level.”

The Gold Medal winner will be announced during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Houston, Texas, Oct. 8-10.

For more information about Virginia State Park activities and amenities, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit

For more information about the Gold Medal Awards, visit or

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a nonprofit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 30,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

Musco Lighting LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting services range from neighborhood fields to NASCAR super speedways. For more information, visit

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