ATLANTA — Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites was recently named a finalist for the 2015 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management — the most prestigious accolade a recreation agency can achieve. The award is sponsored by the National Recreation and Park Association and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.
In addition to Georgia, other finalists in the state-parks-system category were the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Missouri State Parks and Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails.
Judges look for excellence in categories such as long-range planning, resource management, environmental stewardship, volunteerism and an ability to meet the needs of a diverse population.
In both 2007 and 2009, Georgia was a top finalist for the award, which is bestowed every other year. This year’s gold-medal winner will be announced during the National Recreation and Parks Association Conference on Sept. 15 in Las Vegas.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ parks division manages more than 85,000 acres that provide outdoor recreation, protect natural environments and preserve historic resources. Despite significant budget cuts in previous years, the division continues to thrive, serving more than 10 million visitors each year and consistently scoring highly on customer satisfaction surveys.
During the past few years, the division has renovated numerous facilities, added new accommodations, and provided recreational opportunities that help park visitors have a great time every time.
“I am truly honored that Georgia’s great park system has once again been selected as a finalist for this national award,” said Georgia State Parks Director Becky Kelley. “Our team, from our leadership to the front line, has worked hard and smart to move our system to a more sustainable place. We’re on a great path forward now and know that winning this gold medal will be a testament to all that we’ve done and plan to do to ensure that Georgia’s natural, cultural and recreational assets are here for generations ahead to enjoy.”
Georgia’s state parks and historic sites are as diverse as the state itself.
Overnight accomodations range from campgrounds to cottages, and from lodge rooms to yurts.
Recreational offerings include boat and bike rental, fishing, swimming beaches, hiking and biking, archery, golf and ranger programs. Picnic shelters can be reserved for parties, reunions and other large groups.
For more information, go to www.GeorgiaState
Parks.org, or call 1-800-864-7275 for a free brochure.