Source: National Recreation and Park Association ASHBURN, VA., June 13, 2013 - The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce the Finalists for the 2013 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. This year's proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards program is Musco Lighting LLC.

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. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation communities and the State Park System Class awarded every other year. This year, AAPRA and NRPA will award the prestigious and highly sought State Park System Class Gold Medal award. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. Four finalists in each class are chosen to compete for grand honors each year.

The 2013 Gold Medal finalists are:

State Award § Florida Park Service, Environmental Protection§ Missouri State Parks§ North Carolina State Parks & Recreation§ Virginia Conservation and Recreation Division of State Parks

Class I (population 250,000 and over)§ Henderson (NV) Parks & Recreation§ Long Beach (CA) Parks, Recreation & Marine§ Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission§ Plano (TX) Parks & Recreation

Class II (population 100,001 - 250,000)§ Round Rock (TX) Parks & Recreation§ South Suburban (CO) Park & Recreation District Class III (population 50,001 - 100,000)§ Allen (TX) Parks & Recreation§ Kettering (OH) Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts§ Roswell (GA) Recreation, Parks, Historic & Cultural Affairs§ Waukegan (IL) Park District Class IV (population 25,001 - 50,000) § Doral (FL) Parks & Recreation§ St. Charles (IL) Park District§ Westerville (OH) Parks & Recreation§ Winter Park (FL) Parks & Recreation

Class V (population less than 25,000) § Erie (CO) Parks & Recreation§ Frankfort (IL) Square Park District§ Middleton (WI) Public lands, Recreation & Forestry§ Oak Brook (IL) Park District

Armed Forces Recreation § Fort Knox (KY) § Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay (GA) § Naval Base San Diego (CA) § US Coast Guard Base Kodiak (AK)

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.

This year's finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during NRPA's Annual Congress & Exposition in Houston, TX, Oct. 8-10 2013.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/awards or www.aapra.org.

About AAPRThe American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both 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 www.aapra.org.

About NRPAThe 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 www.NRPA.org. For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org. 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 www.musco.com.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.