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St. Louis, Missouri - If you love San Diego County Parks, know that it is in rare company. The County Parks and Recreation Department earned reaccreditation this week from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies.

CAPRA, the only national accreditation for parks and recreation operators, measures agencies for excellence in operation and service through 152 benchmarks of quality. Accreditation was announced Wednesday at the National Recreation and Park Association Congress and Expo in St. Louis, Missouri.

This is the second time County Parks received this national commendation. It is one of only 25 counties in the nation to be accredited and the first in California to be reaccredited.

“Earning national accreditation means you have been identified as running a best-in-class operation,” said Chairman Ron Roberts, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Clearly, from the top down, our County Parks and Recreation department staff members have shown they understand what it takes to go above and beyond for our residents.”

County Parks and Recreation Director Brian Albright said this accomplishment recognizes the department’s commitment to building and enhancing a system that is the pride of San Diego County and beyond.

“This reaccreditation validates ongoing efforts to enhance recreational opportunities in San Diego, while balancing the specific needs of the wildlife and ecosystems that are unique to our region,” Albright said. “We appreciate the endorsement and invite residents to enjoy all that parks have to offer.”

CAPRA commended Parks in many areas, including the department’s high-quality planning processes, collaboration with other agencies, and diversity of park amenities and offerings.

The County Department of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 120 parks, preserves, historic sites, sports complexes and community centers across 50,000 acres of land. Some 350 miles of trails take visitors through multiple climates and habitats, with hundreds of planned outdoor activities for all ages, interests and abilities.

The two-year accreditation process required County Parks’ leaders and staff to conduct an extensive self-assessment, compiling data and documents to demonstrate best practices in all aspects of the department. A committee of industry professionals evaluated this information during a site visit earlier this year. Agencies must be reaccredited every five years.

Learn more about San Diego County’s parks and recreation opportunities at www.sdparks.org.