Delaware State Parks named finalist in national competition for excellence

Delaware News Desk
Delaware State Parks is a finalist in the 2021 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management awarded by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. Delaware’s state parks abound with offerings for visitors, along with history and beautiful views like the World War II-era fire control towers along Delaware’s Atlantic coast.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced that its Division of Parks and Recreation has been named a finalist for the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration 2021 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.  

The award is given in coordination by the AAPRA with the National Recreation and Park Association. 

“We are proud that the Division of Parks and Recreation is a finalist in this prestigious competition, especially while celebrating the 70th anniversary of Delaware State Parks this year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Achieving this level of recognition among other high-caliber park systems across the country is commendable and puts a spotlight on how talented and passionate our staff and volunteers are.” 

This is the second time Delaware’s state parks are in the running for the award, having won it previously in 2015. The state park award category is awarded every other year and Delaware State Parks was required to wait to apply again until this year. If selected as this year’s winner, Delaware would be the second state park system to win the award twice. 

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff members and elected officials. Applications are separated into six classes, with five classes based on population and one class for armed forces. Delaware State Parks joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for the Grand Plaque, which will be awarded in September. 

The National Gold Medal Awards program, founded in 1965 and sponsored by Musco Lighting LLC, 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. 

For more on the Gold Medal Awards, visit