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Posted on: October 11, 2018

State Park director inducted into prestigious parks academy

Don Hoch is the only active member from Washington state


OLYMPIA – Oct. 11, 2018 – Washington State Parks Director Don Hoch was inducted into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration at its annual meeting of the National Recreation and Parks Association Conference held in Indianapolis last month.

Don Hoch, right, is inducted into the Academy by 2018 President Mark McHenry.The Academy is a group of distinguished practitioners and educators from across the country who are leaders in the field of parks and recreation. Criteria for membership includes having served for at least 15 years in a high level of administration in a park and recreation agency. Members also must have demonstrated outstanding ability in administration, management or education in the profession; displayed broad interest with a direct service benefit to the advancement of public parks and recreation; or assumed leadership with a keen desire to contribute to the advancement of the field.

“It’s very humbling and an honor to be included in this prestigious organization, which is dedicated to advancing the parks and recreation profession and mentoring up-and-coming park administrators,” Hoch said. “I look forward to working with members who have national and international reputations to promote a broader understanding of the importance of parks and recreation.”


The Academy is limited to 125 active members. Hoch becomes the only active member of the Academy from Washington state.

About Director Don Hoch

Don Hoch has served as director of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission since December 2010 and has been with the agency almost 14 years. As director, Hoch oversees Washington state’s system of 125 parks and properties totaling 120,000 acres, numerous heritage sites and statewide programs such as Winter Recreation, Boating and long-distance recreation trails.  

Hoch has 40 years of parks and recreation experience at the municipal, county, state and federal level. A ranger and park manager for several years, he has had leadership roles in tourism and parks organizations in Georgia, and he previously worked for the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

An award-winning community activist, Hoch also has held numerous leadership positions with civic organizations. In 2017, he received the National Association of State Park Directors’ top honor — the Distinguished Service Award. Under his leadership, Washington State Parks was recognized by the Academy/National Recreation and Parks Association as one of the best-managed state park systems in the country.


More details about Don Hoch’s biography is available on the Academy’s member page at: http://www.aapra.org/members/donald-hoch


About the Academy for Park and Recreation Administration

Established in 1980, the Academy was formed to:

  • Advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks.
  • Encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators to enhance the practice of park and recreation administration.
  • Promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good.
  • Conduct research, publish scholarly papers and/or sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration.

More information about the Academy is available at www.aapra.org.  

Note to media: A higher resolution photo of Don Hoch (right) receiving award from 2018 Academy President Mark McHenry is available upon request. Contact Toni Droscher at toni.droscher@parks.wa.gov.  

Media contacts:
Virginia Painter, Communications Director, (360) 902-8562
Toni Droscher, Communications Office, (360) 902-86004


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About Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. 

News release number: 18-062


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