New COVID-19 Report Highlights Need for Additional Investment in Parks and Recreation

SOURCE: National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)

National Recreation and Park Association report focuses on response, recovery and support 

Ashburn, Va. (March 11, 2021) — One year ago, today, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. In the year that followed, park and recreation agencies stepped in to fill critical roles in their communities — establishing shelters, providing food, supporting learning, aiding testing sites and vaccination distribution, and much more. These roles were carried out in conjunction with maintaining the parks, trails and programs communities have come to rely on for their mental and physical health and well-being.  

COVID-19 and Parks and Recreation: Response and Recovery, a new report from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), details the vital role parks and recreation has played throughout the pandemic and will continue to play into the future. It demonstrates COVID-19’s impact on local park and recreation agencies, the unprecedented response from park and recreation professionals, and highlights policy changes and opportunities to support needed investments.  

“Over the past year, park and recreation professionals have pivoted to provide their communities with essential services when they needed them most,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA President and CEO. “These same park and recreation professionals are now facing budget cuts, furloughs and hiring freezes. While these problems are not unique to parks and recreation, we know from experience that park and recreation agencies are often the first to lose their budgets and the last to recover them. We must be proactive in garnering support for the people, places and programs that have played a critical role in supporting our mental and physical well-being throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we must ensure that our critical community infrastructure — park and recreation spaces, programs and services — can benefit all people, now and in the future.” 

With widespread disruptions to our normal way of life, more people have turned to their local, close-to-home parks, green spaces and trails for essential physical and mental health benefits during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted — and continues to highlight — what has been true for many years: parks and recreation provides essential services and infrastructure that advance equity, resiliency and well-being. 

To view the report, click here

To learn more about NRPA, visit

About the National Recreation and Park Association 

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

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