Salt Lake City, UT (Vocus) October 15, 2009
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) inducted association founder Laurance S. Rockefeller (May 26, 1910 to July 11, 2004) into the Robert W. Crawford Recreation and Park Hall of Fame this morning during the NRPA Congress & Exposition Opening General Session at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Established in 1987, NRPA’s Crawford hall of fame recognizes individual pioneers and leaders who have made extraordinary and lasting contributions to the advancement of parks and recreation in the U.S., as well as to the mission of NRPA. It is a posthumous honor that may be presented no earlier than five years following the death of inductees, in order to assure their contributions have had a long-term impact. Rockefeller was unanimously selected by NRPA’s hall of fame committee in June and inducted this morning along with park and recreation pioneer Ralph C. Wilson. Rockefeller and Wilson joined a list of more than 30 people to have received the honor since 1987.
Laurance S. Rockefeller was a prominent, third-generation member of the New York Rockefeller family. In addition to his successful career as a financier and venture capitalist, he was a life-long supporter of parks, recreation and conservation, and has been described as one of the most influential parks and conservation figures in the second half of the 20th century.
Rockefeller was the prime mover and the first chairman of NRPA in 1965. He promoted the unique concept of the citizen and the professional working together to advance the movement. During the 1960s, Rockefeller led the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission that resulted in the creation of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He was also involved in several other national programs for parks and outdoor recreation, including the Wilderness Act, the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and the Advisory Committee for Environmental Quality. Rockefeller was a generous financial supporter of the National Park Service and was responsible for the formation of the National Park Foundation.
Rockefeller gave generously to establish a number of state and national parks, most notably the Grand Teton, Acadia and Virgin Islands national parks. His 1,100 acre JY Ranch was added to the Grand Teton National Park in 2007.
A champion of urban park and recreation development, Rockefeller influenced the National Park Service to create national recreation areas close to urban areas, such as Gateway, Golden Gate and Santa Monica Mountain, and championed the concept of providing nature centers in urban communities for use as outdoor classrooms through experiential learning.
President George H.W. Bush awarded Rockefeller the Congressional Gold Medal and called him a “hidden national treasure” in 1991.
Rockefeller married Mary French in 1934. The couple had three daughters and a son.
For more information on the Robert W. Crawford Recreation and Park Hall of Fame or NRPA’s individual awards programs, call Jackie Wallenstein, senior manager of region services, at (703) 858-4731.
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. Through its network of some 21,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.
Headquartered in Ashburn, Va., NRPA works closely with local, state, and national recreation and park agencies, citizen groups and corporations to carry out its objectives. Priorities include: advocating favorable legislation and public policy; continuing education for park and recreation professionals and citizens; providing professional certification, university accreditation, research and technical assistance; and, increasing public awareness of the importance of parks and recreation. For more information, visit http://www.nrpa.org.