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A New Splash Pad Surfacing Standard

By: Briana Massie, Marketing Manager for Life Floor ([email protected])

Playgrounds and splash pads are designed with very similar intentions in mind. Both provide play features and open spaces that encourage imaginative exploration, running, and risky play opportunities. Playgrounds feature spring riders, slides, and play panels whereas splash pads feature spray jets, dump buckets, and water slides. Where playgrounds are generally dry, splash pads feature constantly flowing water. However, where playgrounds require safety surfacing, splash pads are still being commonly surfaced with concrete, tile, or stone. If splash pads are essentially wet playgrounds (leaving visitors more prone to accident and injury), how are hard, slick surfacing options still permitted?

Why Don't We Often See Safety Surfacing at Splash Pads if They're Playgrounds too?

The aquatics industry is so accustomed to seeing concrete and other surfaces at pools that it has turned a blind eye to the problem with using it at splash pads. Many people believe that concrete isn’t an issue at all and that it’s perfectly safe for aquatic play areas. Forty years ago, concrete was considered perfectly safe for dry playgrounds too. It took 78 years from the time dry playgrounds were first introduced in 1903 for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to publish the Handbook for Public Playground Safety in 1981. 

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Increasing Play Value At Aquatic Facilities

By: Briana Massie, Marketing Manager for Life Floor ([email protected])

Everyone experiences play in different ways. It’s the reason why there isn’t just one type of spray feature or just one type of pool. Aquatic environments are always changing and adapting to new trends and regulations in the industry. Likewise, aquatic facility directors and operators are constantly evaluating updates that will deliver increased value to their guests and members. In order to provide features that appeal to a wide variety of individuals, facility staff members need to choose what combination of elements will allow for limitless play for their intended audiences.

Providing options for guests to engage with a facility in different ways is a crucial component of play value. Play value directly influences guest perception of a facility and can be a determining factor of whether or not guests will return. For example, if a child has a better experience at a park farther away, parents may be more inclined to return to that park even if it is more inconvenient. 

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2022 Supplemental Operating, Capital, and Transportation Budgets

2022 Supplemental Operating, Capital, and Transportation Budgets

Learn More About Governor Inslee's E-Memo

On Thursday, December 16, 2021, Governor Inslee released his 2022 Supplemental Operating, Capital, and Transportation budgets with a strong emphasis on investments to address climate change, housing and homelessness and poverty, salmon recovery, and transportation needs.

Building on a two-year budget of roughly $59 billion, the Governor’s supplemental Operating Budget would use the state’s robust revenues, federal infrastructure, and coronavirus relief monies, and some transfers to invest $61.79 billion. Inslee touted the additional investments as critical to addressing glaring needs while minority Republicans criticized the Governor for not looking for ways to provide funds back to taxpayers, businesses, etc. The Governor’s budget does not include new taxes and would put an additional $600 million – what his office calls the largest rainy-day fund deposit ever -- into the state’s “Budget Stabilization Account” (more commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund) in addition to $574 million already in the BSA under the enacted-two year budget.

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Ice Rink Interview with Scott River, Director of Recreation and Facilities for Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation

Written by Sylvana Niehuser, WRPA Communications Committee Member

Some of the best ideas must ripen on the shelf before they can be enjoyed. Director of Recreation and Facilities at the City of Olympia, Scott River, speaks to how Oly on Ice (a WRPA spotlight award winner in 2019) came about and what makes the seasonal ice rink successful.

The idea for an ice rink first surfaced internally 10 or more years before the doors were opened to the public. At the time, the department shelved the idea due to a lack of resources (recession cuts). Around 2015 or 2016 the idea was brought back into the light on a cold, crisp, and clear day. The vision of ice skating downtown with views of the State Capitol building on one side of you and the Puget Sound on the other side was exhilarating. Over the course of two years of planning, Oly on Ice opened in 2018 at the Isthmus Park in downtown Olympia.

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Washington Community Forestry Council (WCFC) Recruitment

Join Our Advisory Council

Support the mission of DNR's Urban & Community Forestry Program

The Washington Community Forestry Council (WCFC) is a statewide advisory council comprised of volunteer members representing diverse perspectives on urban forestry in Washington state. Their purpose is to help support the mission of DNR’s Urban & Community Forestry Program* and advise the Commissioner of Public Lands and DNR on statewide issues pertaining to urban and community forestry.

The council is currently recruiting for three positions that need to be filled by early 2022. In general, the council is seeking applicants who can represent the following interests:

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Take Our Survey: RCO Acquisition-Development Funds

RCO Acquisition-Development Funds

RCW 79A.15.050

RCO’s Outdoor Recreation Account is distributed according to RCW 79A.15.050.  We want to assess if there is interest by the WRPA membership to recommend changes to these allocations.  

Take the Survey

Outdoor recreation account—Distribution and use of moneys.

(2) Moneys appropriated beginning July 1, 2016, for this chapter to the outdoor recreation account shall be distributed in the following way:



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New! Discover Pass Free Days 2022

Discover Pass free days honor Indigenous people, Black history, mental health

A News Release from Washington State Parks

OLYMPIA – Nov. 10, 2021 – Washington State Parks has designated the free days in 2022 when visitors will not need a Discover Pass to park at state parks and on recreation lands managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

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Call for 2021 Local Success Stories

Share Your Greatest Achievements from the Past Year

WRPA is bringing back the Success Story Program.

2021 has not quite been the year we were hoping for. However, WRPA is proud to see so many professionals from our industry are who still hard at work making this pandemic a little easier for our communities.

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RCO Needs Your Feedback About Recreation

RCO Needs Your Feedback About Recreation

Where Do You Recreate, What Gaps Are There, and Where Should State Money Be Invested?

A message from the Recreation and Conservation Office

You probably have heard that the state is looking for public comments about where they like to recreate, what gaps there are, and where they think the state should invest money in recreation. Below are links to the news release and social media about how we are collecting data / what it will be used for. Be sure to also take the survey.

Take the Survey

Call to Action: Help The Washington Invasive Species Council

Guest Post By Justin Bush, Executive Coordinator to the Washington Invasive Species Council, Washington Recreation and Conservation Office

Washington Invasive Species Council LogoHello all,

I wanted to let you know about an exciting event that the Washington Invasive Species Council is hosting throughout October. During the month of October, the Council in partnership with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington Noxious Weed Control Board, and others, are asking people to report any sightings of tree-of-heaven to the Washington Invasives app (Download via Google Play or download via the App Store). The goal of this campaign is to collect data on the range and density of this noxious weed in addition to raising awareness about the risk of spotted lanternfly, which is an invasive species not known to be in Washington. We have created a communications schedule, shown below, that highlights a different aspect of the issues each week.

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State Officials Ask for Public’s Help in Tracking the Invasive Tree-of-Heaven

Guest Post from the Washington Invasive Species Council

For Release:
September 29, 2021

Contact: Justin Bush
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office
360-704-0973
Contact: Karla Salp
Washington State Department of Agriculture
360-480-5397
 

OLYMPIA–State agencies are asking the public to report an invasive tree called tree-of-heaven throughout October to help prevent the introduction of a harmful insect, the spotted lanternfly.




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Auburn’s REC Teen Center Is Full of Energy this Fall

WRPA Agency Member Spotlight

Photo of kids preparing for a race outside Photo of kids doing crafts at a table Photo of a kid blowing bubbles with their mask down Photo of a kid playing about to shoot a basketball

Teens in Auburn, WA were excited to hang out, have fun, and play as Auburn’s REC Teen Center reopened in September after an 18-month closure due to pandemic restrictions.

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WA State Parks: Equity & Inclusion in WA Outdoor Spaces

Washington has an abundance of natural beauty and a rich tradition of outdoor recreation. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent social and political unrest across the nation have simultaneously shined a spotlight on the high-value people place on outdoor spaces and the inequities that exist within them. 

A recent national survey found that 70% of city-dwelling Americans agree that parks are critical to preserving an individual’s physical and mental health amid today’s challenges. Yet, as the demographics of our state change, historically and currently marginalized communities still do not have the same opportunities as their non-marginalized counterparts across nearly every measure including education, poverty, employment, health and more. Inequities based on race, ethnicity, gender and other characteristics continue to be deep, pervasive and persistent; coming at a great economic and social cost. 

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Fire Restrictions and Park Closures—Effective: August 12, 2021

Washington State Parks

Fire Restrictions and Park Closures—Effective August 12, 20201

Washington State Parks is working with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to identify wildfire high-risk areas and taking steps to mitigate those risks while closely coordinating with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Governor’s Office on closure planning.

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Enumclaw to Open New Outdoor Fitness Feature

The Fitness Court® Opens August 11, All Welcome at Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

New, State-of-the-Art Facility Made Possible with Grant from the National Fitness Campaign

Outdoor fitness court featuring metal bars and rings, as well as concrete platforms of various heights

In 2020, the City of Enumclaw was awarded a $30,000 grant from the National Fitness Campaign (NFC) as part of its annual grant program in the 2020 Healthy Cities Campaign. Additional funding for the project was made possible by the City and local businesses, both financially and in-kind.

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Northwest Region Meets to Talk Membership

Regional Meetings Move Back to In-Person

Current Members Reconnect and Talk Member Benefits with Newcomers

The Northwest Region had a great in-person gathering on Thursday, July 22 at Farmstrong Brewing Co.. Everyone who attended really enjoyed reconnecting! The Northwest Region is looking to continue connecting this fall. Much of the conversation revolved around what WRPA has to offer to members. The Northwest Region hopes to gain some new members following these conversations.

Thank you to all who showed up to connect. Here are a few photos from the event!

Three men standing together in front of a wooden fence. One is wearing a pale orange shirt, sunglasses, and a baseball cap. One is wearing a blue button down shirt and has sunglasses on his head. The third is wearing a dark blue button down shirt.   Four people standing together outside and smiling.
A man in a blue button-down shirt and a woman in a sleeveless salmon-colored top standing together outside.   Six men standing together outside, in front of a wooden picnic table.

Opinion Piece: Importance of Urban Park Land

Puget Sound Parks Should Be Protected and Preserved

Port Ludlow Resident Shares Opinion in Seattle Time Article

The following article, "Protect the legacy of our urban parks, a classic public good," was posted to the Seattle Times on July 22, 2021 and was written by Lee Springgate.

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Make a Difference in the Outdoors

Join a Volunteer Advisory Committee

Help improve and protect Washington's outdoors for years to come. Join a Recreation and Conservation Office advisory committee.

You can make a difference. 

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$2,523,416 Awarded by the 2021 SEEK Program

By Jennifer Papich, 2021–2022 WRPA President

Happy Monday, everyone!

SEEK Fund LogoLast week, individual agencies that applied and were awarded SEEK (Summer Enrichment Experiences for Kids) funds through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and in coordination with the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) were notified of this most exciting opportunity.

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Keeping Youth Safe Playing the Sports They Love – BIAWA’s Connection to Parks & Recreation

Guest Post by the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington

By Suzette Hart, Marketing & Development Director, Brain Injury Alliance of Washington

Youth sports create a direct connection between the parks and recreation field and the work of the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (BIAWA). WRPA members organize and administer sports leagues and/or coordinate with sports leagues that use public facilities. BIAWA fully embraces the importance of play, participation, and engagement in sports. That said, BIAWA also recognizes the possibility that injuries can and do occur during play.

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