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Roanoke Parks and Recreation News

Posted on: November 13, 2018

Roanoke Parks and Recreation Receives Statewide Conservation Award

Earlier this month, the Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS) presented Roanoke Parks and Recreation with the “Best New Environmental Sustainability” award, in the 50,001-100,000 population category, for its collaborative work in preserving the historic Sycamore tree in Elmwood Park.  The award was presented at the VRPS 63rd Annual Conference in Short Pump, during a ceremony to honor individuals, departments, and organizations throughout Virginia that have demonstrated excellence during the previous year. A total of 114 submissions were received, vying for awards in 14 different categories, which are judged by a jury of peers.

Working with Bartlett Tree Experts, Manning Arboriculture, Downtown Roanoke, Inc., and the Roanoke Tree Steward volunteers, Parks and Recreation’s Office of Urban Forestry went to extraordinary lengths to save this veteran tree. During the renovation of Elmwood Park, up to 70 percent of the tree’s roots were removed to build the stage and seating area for the new amphitheater. An innovative and creative approach was necessary not only to revitalize the tree, but also to reach out to various groups to participate with this project due to budget challenges. The goal of this project was to save an important tree in one of the city’s flagship parks. To date, the tree has responded well but, as is the case with all tree work, it will take some time for the full results to be realized.

For more information about this project or about the City’s Office of Urban Forestry, please visit or call 540-853-1994.

About Roanoke Parks and Recreation 

Roanoke’s Department of Parks and Recreation is a full-service, nationally accredited municipal agency that maintains nearly 14,000 acres of public land and provides the Roanoke Valley with thousands of recreational opportunities each year. The department employs 62 full-time employees and roughly 160 part-time and seasonal employees, offering in excess of 2,000 programs annually in 61 parks, six greenways, four plazas, two outdoor swimming pools, and seven recreation centers. For more information, please visit

About the Virginia Recreation and Park Society

The Virginia Recreation and Park Society is a private, non-profit professional organization, founded in 1953 and incorporated in 1956. Its purpose is to unite all professionals, students, and interested lay persons engaged in the field of recreation, parks and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia, into one body. The members work together to promote and improve the profession in all its diversity. For more information, please visit