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2020 NDRPA State Conference & ND Trails Conference

September 15 - September 17

This year is unique as the NDRPA State Conference and the ND Trails Conference will be held jointly in Bismarck Sept. 15-17 encouraging more conversations on “Navigating Our Future.” North Dakota’s park and recreation professionals will join forces with trail users, advocates and managers from across the state under one roof to hear educational sessions and network with peers from across the state.

Download the preliminary schedule for details. 

Register today! The registration deadline is Aug. 17.


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck. All the education sessions, the awards banquet and the exhibitor showcase will take place at the Ramkota. The room block deadline is Aug. 26. Call 701-258-7700 to make reservations.

NEW – Pre-Conference Sessions

Something new this year are pre-conference sessions held in the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 15. One option is a hands-on session about maintaining ice and aquatics facilities. Attendees will visit the Capital Ice Complex and the BSC Aquatic & Wellness Center to learn from Bismarck Parks and Recreation District staff and share tips with each other. Transportation details will be provided to registrants.

The other pre-conference option is learning about accessibility for all. Sessions on “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Special Events,” and “ADA/ABA/ADAAG: Which One Applies?” will be presented.

Keynote Speakers

Andrea Travnicek, the newly appointed director of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, will be the opening keynote speaker. Travnicek, a Minot native, returned to North Dakota after three years of service in leadership positions at the U.S. Department of the Interior, including Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. She was also a senior policy advisor under former North Dakota Governors Hoeven and Dalrymple. Travnicek’s keynote session will provide overview of the North Dakota State Parks system, associated programs, and their relationships with communities and people.

Chris Nunes will be presenting “Creating and ensuring a relevant parks and recreation agency.” Nunes is the Director of Parks and Recreation for The Woodlands Township, in The Woodlands, Texas. In his position, he oversees a $36.3 million operational budget and is accountable for the management of 148 parks, 15 swimming pools and aquatic facilities and 220 miles of pathways. He speaks around the country on topics including business plans, contracting, creative programming, marketing, external funding, communication, leadership and succession planning.

Let’s Be Social

There are several opportunities to enjoy Bismarck and the company of fellow professionals at the state conference.

Tuesday’s Downtown History, Art & Spirits Walk features sights and tastes of downtown Bismarck. Attendees will tour Camp Hancock, the former ND Governor’s Mansion, hear chilling tales of Murderer’s Gulch and wander through an art gallery and an Art Alley. The walk includes a pause for refreshments and video games at CraftCade, and a final stop at Gideon’s Brewery to sample an ale brewed especially for conference attendees.

It wouldn’t be the state conference without a golf tournament. Get ready to play beautiful Riverwood Golf Course on Tuesday afternoon.

Another option for attendees on Tuesday afternoon is the trails field session, an ATV ride exploring Rough Rider Trail. Space is limited to 15 people and a helmet is required. Transportation will be provided for attendees and departs from Riverwood.

Tuesday night’s social and dinner will take place at the Sertoma Community Center in Sertoma Park. Activities include some mini-golf, yard games, taking several trips down the SuperSlide, or perhaps wandering through Dakota Zoo with other conference attendees and exhibitors.

Wednesday Afternoon Activities

Take a tour of a few Bismarck Parks and Recreation District facilities on Wednesday afternoon. Attendees will see some facilities that have been renovated and upgraded in the past few years, including the Capital Ice Complex, the Bismarck Municipal Ballpark, Cottonwood Park and New Generations Park. There are other visits and stops in the planning stages.

An alternative to the facility tour are trails sessions: “ND Moves Active Transportation Plan” presented by David Leingang from the ND Department of Transportation and “Bicycle Tourism and the Main Street Initiative,” presented by Saara Snow from Adventure Cycling.

Scholarships Available for Small Park Boards

NDRPA is pleased to announce five conference registration scholarships are available to park board commissioners or staff from park districts that have part-time and/or up to 1-2 full-time, year-round staff.  The scholarship is limited to two people per park board and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.  If a park board submits more than two scholarship requests, additional requests will be placed on a waiting list to be awarded after Aug. 10. To request a scholarship contact Katherine or Shannon at the NDRPA office at 701-355-4458 or send an email to NDRPA.

Silent Auction Items Requested

This year’s conference will include a silent auction to raise funds for NDRPA scholarships. Each park district is encouraged to bring at least one auction item valued at $50 or more.


The following sponsorships are available:

  • Downtown Tour
  • Attendee Gift
  • Transportation
  • Breaks (1)
  • Printed Program
  • Door prizes

For sponsorship details, download the 2020 Sponsor Benefits. If you are interested in sponsoring, please contact NDRPA at 701-355-4458. Sponsorships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

The deadline for sponsor recognition in the conference booklet is Aug. 28.

Exhibit Hall

NDRPA invites you to exhibit at the conference. Each exhibit booth fee includes a full conference pass, including all meals for one exhibitor representative.  Additional exhibitor passes are $80 each.  Exhibit hall space is limited to 40 booths including equipment booths, also on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are interested in exhibiting, reserve your booth today!


September 15
September 17