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M-NCPPC “Best in Nation” with Unprecedented Sixth Gold Medal Award Win

September 15, 2015

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) today won the prestigious 2015 National Gold Medal Award for excellence in Parks and Recreation Management. The Gold Medal is one of the highest professional awards available to parks and recreation agencies throughout the country and involves a stringent qualification and judging process.  The Gold Medal Award is presented annually by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

M-NCPPC has a long history of Gold Medal successes, winning the prize in 1973, 1977, 1984 and 2003. M-NCPPC won its fifth Gold Medal in 1983 for leadership in special recreation and outstanding community achievement in serving people with disabilities. This year’s win secured the agency’s sixth Gold Medal. No other agency in the country has ever won six.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary with NRPA, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Gold Medal Award winners were selected from finalists in five population classes, and Grand Plaque recipients were announced today, September 15, during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The Commission is extremely honored and privileged to receive this unprecedented, sixth National Gold Medal on behalf of the 1.8 million residents we serve in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and on behalf of our talented and creative staff members and unselfish volunteers’” M-NCPPC Chairman Elizabeth M. Hewlett said. “In partnership with our actively engaged citizens, M-NCPPC has worked diligently throughout our 85-plus year history to successfully deliver outstanding, affordable parks and recreation opportunities and experiences for all.”

“This award is a product of the hard work and dedication of our staff,” M-NCPPC Vice Chair Casey Anderson said. “I’m thrilled that they are getting the recognition they deserve. They know that we need to innovate and adapt to meet the challenge of being the best, and I am proud to work with them.”

“We continue our commitment to delivering outstanding parks and recreation services to the residents of Prince George’s County,’” said Ronnie Gathers, Director of the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation. “Recognition by this distinguished organization honors the dedication of our staff and motivates us to continue to perform at the highest level.”

Michael F. Riley, Director of Montgomery Parks, said, “This prestigious national award reflects the high standards of excellence we strive for. This award also reflects that hard work and commitment of our talented staff and community volunteers who support our mission as well as our parks, facilities and programs. We are both honored and humbled by this award, and are committed to continuing our efforts to protect and provide excellent, safe and accessible parks and programs to the residents of Montgomery County.”       

Established in 1927 by state law to acquire, develop and maintain park land and open space, and to plan for the orderly development of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, M-NCPPC has grown and evolved to keep pace with the growth and diversity of the bi-county area it serves. Under direction of its Montgomery County Department of Parks and Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Commission today maintains more than 57,000 acres of parkland and open space, operates more than 200 recreational facilities, and attracts more than 25 million visitors each year. 

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit or

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks