Arkansas to Host the National Association of State Park Directors Conference

 

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State park leaders from across the country and Canada will meet in Rogers, Arkansas during the first week in September for the annual conference of National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD).   The mission of NASPD is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy.

This is the first time since 1968 that this prestigious organization chose the Natural State for its annual gathering. Linda Lanterman, President of the National Association of State Park Directors and Director of Kansas Department of Parks and Wildlife stated, “For over 50 years, leaders in America's State Parks have had a tradition of gathering to share experiences, challenges and solutions.  This year, we will gather in "The Natural State" of Arkansas, honoring traditions and seeking innovations. Arkansas State Parks has a rich history of providing fun outdoor activities while giving down home hospitality. We are excited to carry on this tradition as we come together the first week of September." These annual conferences promote professional development for park directors and their senior staff.  State Park leadership has been meeting in various states since 1962. 

“Our passion is our state parks and each one has a unique story,” according to Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann. “They are places where you can create lifelong memories. Hosting this year’s conference in Arkansas is an honor.  We have the privilege to showcase four Arkansas State Parks.  In addition, we want to highlight the food, art, architecture and the impact of investing in quality of life in northwest Arkansas.  One of these investments is how our parks are partnering with non-profits and communities to honor tradition while seeking innovative ways to connect with tomorrow’s generation.  A sense of place with adventures, natural areas, and unique experiences create the extraordinary state we call Arkansas.” This year’s conference theme is honoring tradition and seeking innovation, a tenet of Arkansas State Parks.

The 2019 event in Northwest Arkansas is designed to be an inspiring experience. This diverse and growing area is home to several state parks, including Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area, Lake Fort Smith State Park, Devil’s Den State Park and Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. Visitors from around the globe make it their destination to explore the wide range of recreation and learning opportunities that are located here. From traditions of the Civilian Conservation Corps to world class mountain biking trails to preserved Civil War battlefields, Northwest Arkansas is a hotbed of activity.  The conference will also highlight best practices and contemporary topics important to state park professionals. 

A significant goal of the 2019 NASPD conference is to provide a time of connecting with other park professionals from across the United States and Canada and to get a firsthand look at many of the innovative and unique ways that Arkansas creates public spaces that entice visitors. Attendees can draw inspiration from these experiences and hopefully create their own version of it.

Keynote speakers include Governor Asa Hutchinson and ADPHT Secretary Stacy Hurst.  Media attending the conference opening day can receive their credentials at the check in table.

This conference would not be possible without the generous sponsors who are underwriting the event. They are:

 

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