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CARPD President's Message - March 2024 

Last week, along with several CARPD board members and staff, we spent a day at the California state Capitol speaking with legislators and key state agency staff about current legislative challenges and opportunities. As I was traveling north to Sacramento from Thousand Oaks, and again while I was walking around the Capitol grounds, I was reflecting on how I happened to be a participant in this adventure, far from my home, my local park district and represented constituents. Afterall, it was my interest in our own community, parks, recreation and open space that led me to seek a seat on our local board of directors, not a passion for state-wide issues and the hubbub of Sacramento politics.

While the day was productive in accomplishing its intended purposes, I was more impressed with the peers I was fortunate to spend time with. This group of local elected officials, agency general managers and association staff are dedicated not only to their own community, but to communities around the state that share a common interest in how park districts benefit them. It is comforting to know that while striving to meet recreation and park needs locally, there are many others around the state on the same mission, and when we work collectively, we can multiply our efforts times over. Whether it be at the state Capitol, board meetings, annual conferences or online committee calls, our joint effort continues to be successful, through we may not always see immediate results.

Perhaps the island “mall” surrounding the Capitol, with green grass covered by mature native trees from around the state, is emblematic of the fact that quick access to a park is necessary for a respite from political debates. Those of us in the recreation and park business are fully aware of that – we just need to remind those in Sacramento in creative ways that will lead to ongoing support.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Santa Rosa later this spring at our annual conference. Come to fellowship, learn and share. While alternative forms of communication are beneficial, face-to-face conversations still can’t be beat.


Doug Nickles,

Conejo Recreation and Park District

President, CARPD


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