About the Parks & Recreation Department
acres of park land
miles of paved, multi-use trails
fully inclusive parks (and more on the way!)
The Fort Smith Parks and Recreation Department provides maintenance services to approximately 686 acres of Park land in the city of Fort Smith. There are 20 miles of paved multi-use trails throughout the Fort Smith parks.
The Parks & Recreation facilities offer rooms for rent all week with hours varying throughout the week. Visit our various facility pages in the menu above to learn more about rental possibilities.
We were chosen as the winner of the Southwest Times Record best of the best seasonal attraction for our Christmas lights and train in 2018 by their readers. That same year, Creekmore park was also voted best of the best for Best Park by their readers.
The Parks & Recreation Department is proud to have 28 full-time employees to mow, weed eat, edge the curbs and sidewalks, pick up the trash in the parks, maintain rental facilities, host recreational events throughout the year, and provide burial services at Oak cemetery.
Inclusivity in Our Parks
The Parks Department believes that all individuals, no matter their ability, should be provided with active and passive recreation activities. In support of this belief, our parks system is beginning a transformation from meeting accessibility standards to becoming inclusive to all abilities. As part of this effort, citizens will see playground equipment designed to meet the needs of diverse children, sidewalk improvements to allow proper transitions, paved trails that are easily accessible, recreation events that offer activities for individuals of all capabilities, and more.
What is the difference between accessibility and inclusivity?
Put simply, accessibility allows users access to the amenity. Inclusivity allows access and usability.
Director of Parks and Recreation
Doug has been employed by the City of Fort Smith since 2015. Since then, Doug has expanded the Parks and Recreation Department to meet the community’s needs and growth.
With the help of the City’s 1/8% cent sales tax, Doug and his team has been able to focus on the expansion of Fort Smith’s community parks, inclusive recreation, and trail system. As the City’s Park system has grown, Doug has prioritized the rehabilitation of older infrastructure and established more efficient methods of maintenance.
Doug strives to do the greatest good, for the greatest number of people, in his job. He has worked in Public Service since 1992. Before coming to Fort Smith, he gained experience with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the City of Ottawa, Kansas.
As a native Kansan, he grew up with a love of the outdoors and is committed to providing recreational space for individuals of all ages, abilities, and interests for his community.
The American Public Works Association recognized Doug for his leadership in active park use and the National Park and Recreation Association recognized him for his focus on inclusion (a.k.a. adaptive or accessible recreation). In 2012, Doug co-authored “Recommendations for Sustaining Sustainability Initiatives in City Government,” published by the University of Kansas. His professional certifications include Playground Safety Inspector, Park Professional, Arborist, Aquatics Facility Operator, and Pool Operator.
Doug earned his Bachelor of Science in Recreation Resource Management from Utah State University in 1998. He earned his Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas in 2014.
Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation
Sara joined the City of Fort Smith as a part-time employee, and joined the City’s staff full time in 2014. After working in various jobs at the City, Sara was promoted to Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation two years later.
Sara is proud to be part of the inclusion movement throughout the City’s parks system. She says, “Through the work of our department, Parks Commission, and citizens, Fort Smith has made inclusion one of the main focuses for improvements. This is evidenced through the donation of two wheelchair swings, budget appropriations specific for inclusion improvements, and a shift in the direction of the Parks and Recreation Five-Year Comprehensive Plan. Rather than see a list of park improvements, citizens will now see the term “inclusive” in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP).”
Sara stays active in professional organizations such as the Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association, National Recreation and Parks Association, Arkansas Government Finance Officers Association, Zonta – Fort Smith Chapter.
Sara obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Level Education from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Public Budgeting and Financial Management from Indiana University, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Arkansas State University. She is currently working on her second Master’s degree in Public Financial Management.