State Park Director Receives Prestigious National Award

MONTPELIER – Craig Whipple, Director of Vermont State Parks, will be presented with the prestigious national “Legends” award by the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration at an awards ceremony next week.

The Legends award is presented to distinguished leaders who have made outstanding contributions to the field of parks and recreation. Video interviews are conducted with each recipient, exploring their personal background, professional insights and philosophical beliefs and are made available to educate and inspire others working in parks and recreation administration. Only a few recipients are awarded each year, and Craig is only the third Vermonter ever to receive the award, joining Theresa Brungardt, Vermont’s first Director of Recreation, and Edward Koenemann, former State Park Director.

Whipple was nominated by Cindi Wight, Superintendent at Rutland Recreation and Parks Department. Wight explains, “Craig demonstrates exemplary leadership. He is a fantastic mediator and has a special talent for acknowledging and appreciating others’ point of view. Craig is an inspiring leader who fosters a cooperative, collaborative culture.”

Just a sampling of Whipple’s accomplishments includes working with health officials to create the Park Prescriptions Program and the Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge. Whipple was also the primary driver on the Governor’s Commission on the Future of State Parks which evolved into Vermont Parks Forever, the statewide foundation supporting Vermont State Parks. Nationally, Craig was a founder of the State Park Leadership School and served on the Board of Regents for the Park Maintenance School and as a board member of the National Association of State Park Directors. Whipple also serves on the board of the Vermont Campground Association, and is a member of Vermont’s Governor’s Council on Physical Recreation.

In 2014 Whipple was presented with Vermont’ highest Recreation and Parks award, the Theresa Brungardt Professional award.

Michael Snyder, Vermont’s Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation adds, “We are all very proud of and pleased for Craig; this is a prestigious and very well-earned award. Craig is a visionary and effective leader who keeps it fun and all Vermonters should be proud that our Director of State Parks is being honored nationally as the legend we know him to be.”