Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department Awards

The Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department takes pride in the recreational programs, special events and facilities that are provided for the enjoyment of the public. Over the years the department has received numerous awards in recognition of excellence and outstanding efforts in delivering quality programs and facilities.

Department Awards


2019 & 2018 Recipient of the American News Reader's Choice award winner for Lee Park Golf Course voted Best Golf Course, Wylie Park voted Best Family Entertainment Area and Wylie Park Campground voted Best Campground.

2019, 2018 & 2017 Recipient of the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor for Wylie Park and Storybook Land for the consistent achievement of high ratings from visitors.

2018 Wylie Park Campground, Storybook Land and Lee Park Golf Course voted to receive the Northeast South Dakota Reader's Choice Award through the American News promotion.

2018 Recipient of Excellence in Tourism Innovation Award presented by the South Dakota Department of Tourism presented to industry partners for their innovative thinking in making their destination, business or attraction even more appealing to visitors.  Wylie Park and Storybook Land received the award in recognition of their innovative programming and approach in developing the park.
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Accepting the award left to right: Governor Kristi Noem; Lynn Lander, City Manager; Mark Hoven, Park Superintendent; Dawn Thorstenson, Wylie Concessions Manager; Doug Johnson, Director of Parks and Recreation; Mark Grote, Wylie Park Manager and Jim Hagen, South Dakota Secretary of Tourism.
2015 Recipient of the Health and Wellness Award presented by the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce in recognition of exceptional performance in providing health and wellness programming in the community.
2011 Recipient of the George S. Mickelson Great Service Award presented by the South Dakota Department of Tourism in recognition of outstanding customer service at Wylie Park.
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George S. Mickelson Great Service Award
Left to Right: Doug Johnson, Director of the Aberdeen Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department; Mark Hoven, Park Superintendent; Dixie Daly, Gift Shop Concession Manager; Wylie Park Workers - Robert Teachout and Jason Leinen; Janice Reich, Food Concession Manager; Jim Hagen, Director of the South Dakota Department of Tourism; Dan Pirlet, Wylie Park Manager and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.

2010 Recipient of the South Dakota Governor's Award in the Arts presented by the South Dakotans for the Arts in recognition of outstanding support of the arts by a business or organization.
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South Dakota Governor's Arts Award
Left to Right: Governor Mike Rounds, David Eckert-ARCC Supervisor, Gene Morsching-Recreation Superintendent, Lois Beckner-Cultural Arts Supervisor and Doug Johnson, Director of the Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

The Governor’s Award for outstanding support of the Arts by an organization was presented to the Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department in honor of their long-term commitment to providing programming and facilities in the arts for the people of Aberdeen and the surrounding area. The department’s art programs were recognized as a model of creative thinking and cooperation used to foster community-wide appreciation and participation in the arts.

Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department established the first Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center (the ARCC) in 1976. The ARCC has become the center for arts programming in the Aberdeen area, and now provides over 600 programs led by more than one hundred local and regional professionals in the arts and humanities. These programs encompass visual arts, folk arts, dance, music, theatre and literature and annually reach over 45,000 people of all ages.

2009
Recipient of the South Dakota Parks & Recreation Association Facility Design and Development Award in recognition of excellence in the construction of the Aberdeen Aquatic Center.

2008 Recipient of the "Dorothy Mullen Arts and Humanities" Award in recognition of the ARCC Dance Program. Presented by the National Recreation and Park Association.

2008 Recipient of the Project of the Year presented by the South Dakota Parks and Recreation Association in recognition of outstanding performance in the development of the Aberdeen Aquatic Center

2007 Recipient of the STAR (Students Taking Active Responsibility) Award from the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce in recognition of outstanding service to the community by a student group.

2007 Recipient of the “Midwest Regional Arts and Humanities” Award in recognition of the ARCC Dance Program. Presented by the Midwest Regional Council of the National Recreation and Park Association.

2004 Wylie Park named No. 2 of the Nation’s Top 10 Lawns for Family Fun by Briggs and Stratton.

2000 Recipient of Hershey’s Track and Field Outstanding local program award presented by South Dakota Parks & Recreation Association in recognition of commitment and dedication to youth in the community.

1997 Recipient of Best of South Dakota Award for Storybook Land being recognized as best tourist attraction for children by readers of Eyes on You magazine.

1995 Recipient of the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce “People’s Choice” Abby Award for outstanding achievement in the pursuit of business performance, excellence and local customer satisfaction within the community.

1994 Recipient of the National “Dorothy Mullen Arts and Humanities” Award in recognition of the Youth Heritage Arts Festival. Presented by the National Recreation and Park Association.

1994 Recipients of the National “Midwest Regional Arts and Humanities” Award in recognition of the Youth Heritage Arts Festival. Presented by the Midwest Regional Council of the National Recreation and Park Association.

1993 Recipient of the “Infrastructure Award” in recognition of outstanding accomplishment in infrastructure improvements at Wylie Park. Presented by the American City and County Magazine.

1993 Recipient of the “Friends of the Arts” Award for outstanding contributions to support and promote the arts. Presented by the Aberdeen Area Arts Council.

1992 Recipient of the “Citation Award” in recognition of outstanding achievements in recreation and therapeutic programming. Presented by the South Dakota Parks and Recreation Association.

1991 Recipient of the “Professional Grounds Maintenance” Grand Award in recognition of the professional accomplishment and excellence in grounds care at Storybook Land. Presented by the Professional Grounds Maintenance Society.

1990 Recipient of the National “Dorothy Mullen Arts and Humanities” Award in recognition of the Storybook Land Theatre Company. Presented by the National Recreation and Park Association.

1990 Recipient of the “Midwest Regional Arts and Humanities” Award in recognition of the Storybook Land Theatre Company. Presented by the National Recreation and Park Association.

1989 Recipient of the “Award of Achievement” in recognition of the Coaching Certification Program. Presented by the National Youth Sports Coaching Association.

1985 Recipient of the “Midwest Regional Arts and Humanities” Award in recognition of the Performing Arts Camp. Presented by the Midwest Regional Council of the National Recreation and Park Association.

1982 Recipient of the “Friends of the Arts” Award for outstanding contributions to support and promote the arts. Presented by the Aberdeen Area Arts Council.

1980-2010
Recipient of the “Tree City U.S.A.” designation. Presented by the National Arbor Day.