This award recognizes an individual or organization that has made an extraordinary contribution, innovation and/or best practice at a a state, regional or national level, furthering the goal of a system of state parks. This year's award winners are:
Steve Wang, Washington State Parks
For 30 years, Steve Wang has dedicated his professional life to providing the historical context and interpretation of Washington State Parks. As Parks Historian and Interpretive Services Program Manger, Steve has exercised his passion for conveying the human and natural history of the great Pacific Northwest through an impressive menu of activities and accomplishments. While his influence can be seen in many subject areas throughout Washington State Parks, one of his major achievements was to bring to the nation a greater awareness and appreciation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He spent a decade fully committed to unveiling the state of Washington's part in that historic experience, which resulted in a marvelous interpretive video and complimentary publication, two major interpretive center renovations, over 50 new highway interpretive markers, installation of artwork, monuments at trail heads in parks, a series of special youth oriented activities and programs during the bicentennial period, and a continuing array of interpretative programs along the route. The great state of Washington is proud of Steve for his exceptional career of public service in sharing the unique history of Washington State Parks.
Paris Mountain State Park Friends, Greenville, South Carolina
The familiar motto of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), "We Can Take It," was embodied by the Paris Mountain State Park Friends as they breathed new life into an old CCC bathhouse. The Friends demonstrated the essence of stewardship and service through their tireless efforts to assist park staff in bringing a new vision for the facility to reality. They transformed an old and unused historic bathhouse into a visitor center and educational classroom. By raising hundreds of thousands of dollars through small and large donations and in-kind contributions for this project, the Friends created a wonderful recreational and historic resource that will be enjoyed by schoolchildren and park visitors for generations to come. Their efforts reinvigorated the park, leading the community to embrace it like never before, and set the standard for future projects. The great state of South Carolina is proud of the work of the Paris Mountain State Park Friends and looks forward to partnering with them on future projects.
Keely Walker-Muse, Georgia Public Broadcasting
While every state boasts beautiful state parks, the ones in Georgia are truly sites to behold. To commemorate and celebrate the 75th anniversary of Georgia's State Parks, Keely Walker-Muse produced Sites to Behold: The History of Georgia's State Parks. This Georgia Public Television original production begins with the exciting tale of Indian Springs State Park and covers the gamut of Georgia's cultural and natural history. From the gold mines of Dahlonega to the former capital of the Cherokee Nation and from" the peak of Black Rock Mountain to the floor of Tallulah Gorge, this documentary of Georgia's state parks and historic sites is the story of Georgia herself - a story of fortitude, character and high expectations. Sites to Behold features outstanding photography and archival materials supported by interviews with past and present park staff, historians, authors, and luminaries such as Jimmy Carter and Sonny Perdue. The great state of Georgia is proud of Keely's initiative and creativity in producing meaningful and thoughtful programming to mark the momentous occasion in Georgia State Park's history.
This award recognizes an individual for dedicated service to furthering the goals of our state parks.
BEAR TRAP AWARD
This humerous award is traditionally presented to a State Park Director for reasons – generally entertaining - that are not allowed to be disclosed. The Bear Trap Award has a colorful history and was first presented to the National Association of State Park Directors by the Canadian Provincial Parks at a joint meeting in Banff, Alberta in 1985. The first award recipient was Aubrey Rozzell, Director of Mississippi State Parks. It had such a profound affect on Aubrey that he retired shortly after receiving the award. The selection of the annual winner is made by the unfortunate individual currently in possession of the award. This year's award winner is:
Priscilla Geigis, Director, Massachusetts State Parks and Recreation
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
This highly coveted award recognizes a state park director who has demonstrated a long-term sustained record of professional accomplishment in the field of parks and recreation management. Each year, the identity of the recipient is revealed at the annual awards banquet. This year's award winner is:
Doug Prchal, Director, North Dakota State Parks
Doug Prchal served as a park planner for eleven years where he took the Department's planning efforts to the next level. After a brief exit to the Bureau of Reclamation, he returned to State Parks as director and has served in that position for the past 14 years.
Doug began his public service career in the United States Airforce where he served a tour of duty in Viet Nam. After his service in the Airforce, Doug went on to earn his bachelor's degree in Recreation Resource Management from Montana State university and his Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University.
As Director of North Dakota's State Park System, Doug has committed his energy to protection and preservation of many of the same projects he designed as a planner through establishment of maintenance trust funds. He has a history of strong support group relationships which have fostered the success of his maintenance trust fund initiative. Key units of the ND Park System are in operation today due to Doug's perserverance to establish these trusts with support groups. Examples include:
As noted by his staff, Doug stand by his department's mission to provide and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities through diverse parks and programs that conserve the state's natural and cultural diversity. His overall goal has always been to protect the integrity of the Noth Dakota Park System.