|SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources (PRNR) received three 2022 National Association of County Parks and Recreation Officials (NACPRO) awards for accomplishments in calendar year 2021. |
PRNR earned awards in the Conservation, Outstanding Support Organization, and Trails and Corridor categories. These awards were in recognition of best practices, innovation, and excellence in parks and recreation at the county-level.
“We are so excited to be selected as the winner of not one, or two, but three NACPRO award categories! These three awards highlight a range of accomplishments Sarasota County parks has achieved in the last year, including the incredible partnership and dedication of the Friends of The Legacy Trail,” said PRNR Director Nicole Rissler.
Conservation: PRNR received this award in recognition of the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP) accomplishments. Through five land acquisitions, the department successfully protected 1,725 acres of vital watershed, wildlife habitat, and greenway corridors for connectivity. In addition to the environmental benefits, these protected lands provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, environmental education and the cultivation of stewardship of the natural environment.
The Conservation Award recognizes exceptional efforts to acquire, restore and preserve natural areas or significant conservation areas and programs that create public awareness and appreciation for conservation efforts. Since its inception in1999 the ESLPP has protected over 39,000 acres and conservation easements.
Outstanding Support Organization: In recognition of the support by Sarasota County’s Friends of The Legacy Trail, Inc. (FLT) group, PRNR received the Outstanding Support Organization award. The FLT promotes, enhances and protects The Legacy Trail, and supports the trail’s community of users. In addition to funding trail improvements and donating amenities, FLT has also devised a new way to count and maintain trail use data.
The Outstanding Support Organization award is presented to an organization that has made a significant contribution benefiting park and recreation programs, facilities, operations, or organizational support. FLT was created in 2006 as a chapter of the Friends of Sarasota County Parks, a nonprofit organization, and later in 2016, became a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Trails and Corridors: In recognition of The Legacy Trail Extension Project – Segments 1, 2, and Ashton Trailhead projects, PRNR received the Trails and Corridors award. In2021, PRNR celebrated the opening of the Ashton Trailhead, providing parking, trail access, and a community park, in addition to the construction of five additional miles, which extended the trail from its terminus at Culverhouse Nature Park into downtown Sarasota.
The Trails and Corridors Award recognizes excellence in a trail, greenway, waterway, corridor or other linear park development project. In December 2004, Sarasota County acquired its first rails-to-trails corridor commencing at Culverhouse Nature Park in Sarasota and extending south to Center Road in Venice for a total of 10.6 miles. The trail was constructed in 2007 and named The Legacy Trail.
Awards of excellence will be presented during the NACPRO Annual Meeting, Sunday, May 15, at the Rainwater Conference Center in Valdosta, Georgia.
Registration and more information are available at https://www.nacpro.org/annual-meeting.
NACPRO is a nonprofit professional organization that advances official policies to promote county and regional park, recreation and conservation issues.
NACPRO is also an affiliate of the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).
For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit scgov.net.
Sarasota County prohibits discrimination in all services, programs or activities. View the complete policy at
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