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How Many Parks and Trails are Enough? Preliminary Thoughts on How to Estimate Need for Active Local Recreation Facilities Our assignment

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how many parks and trails are enough

How Many Parks and Trails are Enough?

Preliminary Thoughts on How to Estimate Need for Active Local Recreation Facilities

our assignment
Our assignment
  • The interagency committee for outdoor recreation shall develop recommendations for a statewide approach to a recreation level of service for local and regional active recreation facilities, including indicators with which to measure progress in achieving level of service objectives.
what we did
What We Did
  • Formed advisory committee
  • Secured independent assistance
  • Defined terms
  • Developed and tested options
  • Consulted with the public
  • Narrowed the options
  • Selected a recommendation
formed advisory committee
Formed Advisory Committee
  • Larry Otos, Washington Parks and Recreation Association
  • Speed Fitzhugh, recreation planner, Avista Utilities
  • Nancy Craig, recreation planner, Grant County PUD
  • Grant Griffin, planner, Pierce County Parks
  • Greg Jones, Wenatchee Park Board
  • Linda Steinman, Office of Financial Management
    • Leonard Bauer, CTED
secured independent assistance
Secured independent assistance
  • Competitive process
  • Hired EDAW
    • Seattle office of an international consulting firm
    • Extensive recreation planning, GIS and other expertise
defined terms
Defined terms
  • Local: division of local government
  • Regional: purpose built to serve multiple jurisdictions
  • Active: predominantly human muscle powered
we did not include
We Did Not Include
  • “Open space”
  • School facilities
  • Activities not predominantly human-muscle powered (e.g., picnics)
  • Low- or no-data activities (e.g., paddling)
  • … because of our instructions and our need to narrow our focus
the context big picture
1. Walking

2. Picnic, cookout

3. Sightseeing

4. Nature: gardening, wildlife viewing

5. Bicycling

6. Sports, play

7. Water: swimming, boating

8. ORV use

9. Fishing

10. Camping

11. Hunting

12. Snow/ice

13. Equestrian

14. Air (ultralight)

The Context (Big Picture)
what is covered big picture
1. Walking

2. Picnic, cookout

3. Sightseeing

4. Nature: gardening, wildlife viewing

5. Bicycling

6. Sports, play

7. Water: swimming, boating

8. ORV use

9. Fishing

10. Camping

11. Hunting

12. Snow/ice

13. Equestrian

14. Air (ultralight)

What is Covered (Big Picture)
developed options
Developed Options
  • Original options developed by staff
  • Expanded by IAC-EDAW collaboration
  • Refined by advisory committee
the options
The Options
  • A. Population ratio (NRPA)
  • B. Service area (GIS-based)
  • C. Community-driven (“those who speak up”)
  • D. Demand-based (“actual play”)
  • E. Service area/population ratio
  • F. Community-Driven/demand based
  • G. Preferred service area
testing the options
Testing the Options
  • Selected 6 Washington communities
  • Collected available data on inventory, participation, population from each
  • Calculated estimated outcomes
slide13

Test Communities

Winthrop

Snohomish County

Spokane County

Aberdeen

Wenatchee

Tacoma

outcomes from the test
Outcomes from the test…

Compared results to reality when possible

  • Example finding: “Population ratio” says Winthrop should have zero facilities
consulting with the public
Consulting with the Public
  • 8 workshops in 5 communities
  • Web page made avaiable for those not able to attend
typical public comments
Typical Public Comments
  • “Population ratio” does not work
  • “Community driven” favors vocal special interests
  • “Demand based” has merit
  • Scale or modify method for different size communities if possible
  • Consider health benefits in the recommendation
our conclusions
Our Conclusions
  • There is no simple one-size-fits all formula
  • It is desirable to offer options for local application
  • Options should result in measurable outcomes: for example, overall participation, satisfaction
reviewing priorities of government
Reviewing Priorities of Government
  • Recreation is a priority of government
  • Measured by participation, equity, and volunteer hours
  • Participation and equity can be addressed by LOS criteria
  • “Recreation” facilities can contribute to other priorities, such as health and mobility
pulling the pieces together
Pulling the Pieces Together
  • Old formulas
  • New approaches
  • Public input
  • State priorities
  • Local resources
  • Measurable outcomes
our approach
Our Approach
  • A self-assessment guide for local agencies
  • Respecting approaches already in use
  • Based on demand, service area, population, and function (how well a park/trail works)
  • Use of the tool would result in a score of the local system of active facilities, 1 through 5
the preliminary guide
The Preliminary Guide
  • Baseline measure: existing participation
  • Enhanced measures:
    • Service area
    • Function
guide cont
Guide, cont
  • State and local use of the same tool can help better define “Need”
  • The tool includes indicators (e.g., demand, service area) that can be measured
implementation
Implementation?
  • Any local agency can use the guide for general planning purposes
  • The state could use the guide for capital budgeting purposes
  • Grant programs could adapt the guide to help determine “Need” (e.g., answer evaluation questions)
outcomes
Outcomes
  • A better idea locally and (over time) statewide of “where we are”
  • Better estimates of the need for investment in local active facilities
  • Ability to better address priorities of government
  • Ability to track progress (if any)
inputs
Inputs
  • YOUR thoughts