Trends are important factoids in parks and recreation. What's a factoid? I'm not sure, but I sure like the word...

Anyway, factoids aside, whether they're demographic or usage trends, they play a major role in determining present and future development.

And, whether they're dog parks, skateparks, sprayparks or any myriad of facilities and programs that have become hot-button issues for citizens across North America, parks and recreation departments must be prepared to meet that demand.

These trends are compounded by larger demographic changes, such as the phenomenon of exurbia and a still very explosive housing market.

Variously defined, exurbia is basically the astounding growth of smaller communities surrounding larger metropolitan areas.

Exurbia is often used in a negative context, as anti-growth groups tend to view it as a scourge upon the land, while those who are in charge of providing services in exurbia are trying their best to maintain community identity and establish it as more than just a feeder for their big brothers.

The latest census information shows definitive evidence of this widespread trend, and it's one that will markedly effect most of our readership.

This month, Marty McDonald, director of parks, recreation and libraries in Maricopa, Ariz., kicks off a series of articles detailing the off-the-charts growth in Maricopa and his recently-created department's response to that growth, beginning on page 6.

Like all parks and recreation trends, we'll continually cover the issue and provide first-hand accounts of how the trend is being dealt with, and help find solutions and ideas along the way.

That's one of the reasons we're providing another peer-to-peer venue at Parks & Business LIVE! -- being held at Salt Fork Resort & Conference Center (Ohio), Sept. 13-14. This interactive event being held in and all around the grounds of Salt Fork State Park will serve every need.

Want to take equipment for a spin and try it out firsthand? Or see the latest aquatics products in action, in their environment? Want to tap the experience and expertise of others in your profession? Parks & Business LIVE! will provide the perfect venue.

Go to or call us at (866) 444-4216 to find out all about this interactive, practical and fun event.

Regan D. Dickinson