Posts Tagged With: parks

Connecting Seniors to Parks and Rec

Originally posted on NRPA’s Open Space blog on December 17, 2013.

Aunt Mary didn't let age stop her from being one of the most active people I knew.

Aunt Mary didn’t let age stop her from being one of the most active people I knew.

December’s cover story by John Crompton focused on the evolving lifestyle and financial factors motivating today’s seniors toward recreation, and as I worked on editing this article and incorporating it into the rest of the magazine, it occurred to me that the seniors in my life have really found a wide range of ways to stay active and well. There are a bunch of stereotypes surrounding recreation for people of a certain age (water aerobics, anyone?), but the seniors I’ve known don’t fit that mold at all.

My great aunt Mary passed away last year at age 81, and until shortly before her death, I don’t think it ever occurred to her to consider age a reason to slow down or not do something she wanted to do. When she was about 60, I remember her trying to teach me how to “skin the cat” (grab a horizontal bar, lift your legs off the ground and do a backwards aerial somersault, flipping your legs between your head and the bar before landing back on the ground). She had recently undergone cancer treatments and didn’t have the strength she previously had, and I remember her being absolutely baffled that she wasn’t able to lift her feet off the ground. As a vibrant single living independently in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, she walked the 20 blocks to and from church multiple times a week and considered anything in that radius to be her “neighborhood” and therefore too close to bother taking the subway or a cab. Even into her 70s, I often had trouble keeping up with her.

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It May Be Over, But the Federal Government Shutdown Could Affect You

Originally posted on NRPA’s Open Space blog on October 16, 2013.

deal may be struck and the shutdown may nearly be over (or at least temporarily held off until early 2014), but after the federal government shut down more than two weeks ago, one of the loudest frustrations from the public was the closing of our national parks. The average American might not feel the immediate sting of many government offices closing down, but with an October average of 715,000 visitors per day to the 401 National Park Service (NPS) sites, it’s no surprise that the loss of access to these public lands caused a major uproar. According to the Department of the Interior’s contingency plan published on September 26, 21,379 of the current 24,645 NPS employees were expected to be furloughed in the event of a shutdown.

Fortunately for park professionals like you as well as the public, state and local parks aren’t under the financial umbrella of the federal shutdown. However, this event still has the potential to affect you, as past federal shutdowns have caused some state agencies to step in to keep services coming.  In fact, just this week a few states stepped in to temporarily open some of the national parks, footing the bill themselves, as detailed in this Associated Press news story.  In addition, past shutdowns on the state and local levels have forced furloughs of thousands of park employees as well.

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