General Info

Uniquely Baton Rouge

  • In 2016, BREC celebrated 70 years of offering parks and recreation programs to transform the physical, cultural and economic well-being of the community. BREC was among the first park agencies in the nation to earn national accreditation and recently earned reaccreditation for an unprecedented fifth time, meeting all 144 standards. BREC is a two-time Gold Medal Award winner and 14-time national finalist.
  • BREC offers and houses a unique mix of facilities, mirroring the history and rich natural resources of south Louisiana, including: a state-of-the-art observatory, swamp nature center, equestrian park, AZA accredited zoo, performing arts theatre, arboretum, botanical garden, a water park with the only surfing simulator in the state, six golf courses, a 126,000 square-foot library, a world class children’s museum constructed by private donations, and an extreme sports park with a 30,000-foot concrete skate park, rock-climbing wall, and BMX track.
  • Through these facilities and through creative community partnerships, BREC continues to grow its innovative program offerings to our community. Program registrations have increased by 30% over the past 3 years, from ~20,000 in 2015 to ~26,000 in 2017.

BREC strives to improve the East Baton Rouge Parish community and in 2017, we continued to see improving numbers in all of our efforts. With over 400 partners and more than 12,000 volunteers in 2017 alone, BREC involves the community in making our home better.

To see more about the information in the video above, check out the
2017 Annual Report.

BREC Announced as Finalist for the 2018 National Gold Medal Awards in Parks and Recreation

May 2018

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce BREC is once again a finalist for the 2018 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting LLC has been a proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards program for more than 10 years.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class for state park systems awarded on odd numbered years.

BREC is a finalist in the Class 1 Recreation category, which is the largest category and includes agencies serving communities with populations over 400,000. Previous winners in this category include Johnson County, Kansas (2017), Cleveland Metro Park System (2016.), Maryland-National Capital park and Planning Commission (2015) and Chicago Park District (2014). BREC is a two-time national Gold Medal award winner (1991 and 1975) and a 14-time national finalist, including the past three years.

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. BREC joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for grand honors this year.

“We are gratified to have earned national recognition for the good work that BREC does in this community. It comes on the heels of major announcements about BREC playing a huge role in bringing a soccer tournament with a $20M economic impact to the Baton Rouge area, public meetings to create a master plan for an ambitious plan to connect the entire parish through bicycle and pedestrian trails and an effort to create three state of the art recreation centers across the parish than can also be used as safe rooms for emergency personnel in the event of a disaster,” said BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight.

“These are the types of initiatives that the Gold Medal organization expects to see from park systems across the country. While we have also been embroiled in a sometimes contentious discussion about how to best modernize and locate our Zoo, we are confident that our planning process will result in a facility unlike anything this community has had before and is exactly the type of community participation that NRPA encourages and expects from its highest performing agencies,” said McKnight. 

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels. 

This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during the NRPA General Session at the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sept. 25-27, 2018.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit or

BREC is the agency that connects people to parks and nature in East Baton Rouge Parish. It is a political subdivision of the state of Louisiana created in 1946 to develop, maintain and operate public park and recreational facilities. Throughout its 70-year history, BREC has taken seriously its responsibility to improve the health, safety, environment and quality of life for all citizens. BREC was among the first park agencies to earn national accreditation and recently earned reaccreditation for an unprecedented fifth time, meeting all 144 standards. BREC is a two-time National Gold Medal Award winner and 14-time national finalist. For more information, visit

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

Musco Lighting, LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting services range from neighborhood fields to NASCAR super speedways. For more information, visit

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