County Parks and Recreation Wins National Accreditation

Otay Valley Regional Park
November 2, 2011 | 11:15am

The County’s vast Parks and Recreation system has earned national accreditation, making San Diego the only county in California and one of just 13 counties in the U.S. with the stamp of excellence.

The evaluation by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) is the only national accreditation for park and recreation operations. In the accreditation, CAPRA measures an agency’s facilities, management, and benefit to the public with144 benchmarks of quality.  

“National accreditation means San Diego County residents and visitors can be sure they’re going to have a great experience when they visit a County park or join a County park or recreation program,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn. “This is external validation for taxpayers that the County’s managing a model park and recreation system on their behalf.”

The County’s accreditation was announced Wednesday at the National Recreation and Park Association Congress and Expo in Atlanta. The commission noted San Diego County’s success in meeting the challenges of managing a parks system across a large jurisdiction.

“The accreditation process allowed us to evaluate our operation through the lens of objective standards of quality and see ourselves through an outsider’s eyes,” said County Parks and Recreation Director Brian Albright. “CAPRA commended us in many areas, including our amazing diversity of parks and programs, our frequent collaborations with local, state and federal agencies to serve more people, and how we involve the community whenever we plan anything—a trail, a playground, a program or a new park.”

The Department of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 45,000 acres of land, including 34 local parks, seven regional parks, more than 300 miles of trails, fishing lakes, open space preserves, campgrounds, five community centers, sports parks and historic sites. The department runs over 200 programs for kids, families and adults.

Accreditation was a two-year undertaking that required County Parks leaders and staff to conduct an extensive self-assessment and demonstrate best practices in all aspects of the department.

A committee of experienced park and recreation professionals evaluated the County system in a site visit earlier this year. Agencies must be reaccredited every five years.

For more on the County’s parks and recreation opportunities, visit