Thursday, September 29, 2011

Special Park Districts Forum

We just completed a 3.5 day conference of park officials from all over North America. This gathering has been going on for 40 years, and this year it was our honor to host it. With over 100 people as excited about parks as we are, it was a great time. A time of learning, networking, sharing successes and for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority a little showing off.

From the perspective of NVRPA it was a great teambuilding process. Today as I reflected back on the last few days I sent the following message to all of our employees:

Dear NVRPA Staff,

I would like to express how proud I am of everyone!

We just completed the Special Park Districts Forum, a conference for 100 park leaders from all over North America. We had participants from as far away as Vancouver Canada, and many points along the way. These people all came from agencies with great facilities and employees. Everyone was impressed with the amazing park system that is NVRPA!

Every one of you that helped out in any way brought your A game to the task. Our parks, facilities, programs and staff have never looked as good as we did this week! We showed a large cross section of some of the best park agencies in the field that NVRPA is among the best park systems in the world. I think we may be the very best!

I could make a very long list of all of you that did a great job. You all know what you did, and your contribution was fantastic. I saw our team working together in new ways. I saw a lot of initiative being taken to make every element of this conference just as great as it could be. And I saw a lot of very proud staff!

Thank you all so much for what you do everyday, but particularly for stepping up and making this conference such a shining moment for our organization.

Paul Gilbert

Below are some of the images from this great event:

At Brambleton

Board Members, Barry Buschow, Jeff Tarbert & Michael Nardolilli at Brambleton

Bryan McFerren on pesticides

Kieth Tomlinson on connecting children and nature
Matt Woods showing Pirate's Cove Waterpark
Participants from Califoria visiting Mt. Vernon
Dustin Betthauser & Eric Ferguson on Campground Management
Hiking the Bull Run/Occoquan Trail
Learning new things about American history
Discussing regional opportunities

paddling Pohick Bay Marsh
Touring Manassas Battlefield
Civil War Re-enactors at Bull Run
Barry Biggar on the Tourism value of parks
Jim Morgan on the Battle of Balls Bluff
Giant pumkin blasters at Temple Hall Farm
Touring the river front cottages at Algonkian

Learning about the Suffragist Memorial at Occoquan
Thanking our sponsors
A few of the many, many people that worked to make it a success


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

3 new awards for NVRPA

The judges have tallied their scores and the awards are in. At the 2011 Virgina Recreation and Park Society Conference in Norfolk this week, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority came away with three top awards. 
The awards were won for our renovations that resulted in creating Volcano Island Waterpark at Algonkian. This waterpark features the only semi-functional volcano in Northern Virginia, and has attracted many more park users than ever before.
We also received recognition of a great promotional flyer made for Atlantis Waterpark at Bull Run Regional Park.
And finally our 2010 Annual Report that doubled as a 2011 calendar won the gold.
It is a great honor to work for such a great organization and to have such an innovative and motivated team to work with.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Park, Health & Tourism Professional of Tomorrow

Todd Hafner Speaking to Students from GMU
This fall I am teaching a class at George Mason University on the administration of park, health & tourism organizations. Several expert guest speaker are schedule to share their real life experience is the great class. Today Todd Hafner, Director of Planning and Development spoke to the class about capital budgeting, and the development of capital projects. As someone with over 20 years of experience in park related capital development, Todd brought a world of great experience to the class.

Todd Hafner covering the challenges of large captial projects

The students, most of them Juniors and Seniors at GMU were engaged by his great presentation and gave him a warm round of applause at the end of class.

These students are thinking, writing and learning a great deal about organizations and how they operate this term.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Storms impact W&OD Trail, Occoquan and other parks

The record rain fall over the last few days has created a number of issues within the parks of the Northern Virginia Regional Park System.

In the Vienna area Piney Branch has eroded the bank and created a situation where the end of the pavement has a steep drop off in places. The damaged areas are marked. Please use caution riding or walking through this area to stay away from the eroded bank.

Occoquan Regional Park is open, but the entrance road is down to one lane due to storm damage.

Use great caution on any and all trails, because bridges and crossing may be damage. Near Algonkian Regional Park the bridge over Sugarland Run on the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is damaged and will need repair in the weeks ahead.

One area of W&OD Trail damage