The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that its draft 2018-2022 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan is available for public review on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants.
The DNR will accept comments on the draft plan through 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. Feedback submission options include via survey from the DNR grants website; email to DNR-SCORP-Comments@michigan.gov, or mail to SCORP c/o Cheryl Nelson, Michigan DNR, 525 W. Allegan St., P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, MI 48909.
“Our chief goal with the new five-year plan is to create new and better ways to leverage Michigan’s wealth of diverse natural and cultural resources to meet the fun, relaxation and health needs of more Michigan’s residents and visitors, as well as the economic development needs of the state and local communities,” said Marc Miller, DNR regional initiatives deputy. “Public feedback is critical to a process like this. To ensure we’re on the right track, we are hoping to hear from a broad cross-section of our natural resources and recreation stakeholders.”
The draft 2018-2022 SCORP includes seven key objectives and several dozen targeted action items designed to help the state and its public and private outdoor-recreation partners achieve this goal. The seven objectives include:
- Foster stewardship and conservation: Natural and cultural resources are protected and residents and visitors are effective stewards of those resources.
- Improve collaboration: Outdoor recreation stakeholders collaborate and cooperate to ensure that Michigan’s recreation system meets the needs of residents and visitors.
- Raise awareness: Residents and visitors are aware of the variety of outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan and have access to relevant information to connect with these opportunities.
- Improve recreational access: Recreation opportunities are connected and accessible to residents and visitors of all backgrounds, abilities, means and geographic locations.
- Provide quality experiences: Michigan’s outdoor recreation system provides users with quality experiences in balance with resource management and conservation.
- Enhance health benefits: Outdoor recreation increases physical activity and the health of Michigan’s residents and visitors.
- Enhance prosperity: Outdoor recreation advances economic prosperity and supports a high quality of life as well as talent retention in Michigan’s communities.
In developing the draft plan, the DNR sought substantial input from Michigan’s parks and outdoor recreation stakeholders in a variety of ways, including online surveys of local public officials, park districts and outdoor recreation industry representatives, 13 focus groups in different regions of the state, and discussions with relevant state advisory groups (such as the Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee). Additionally, a statewide phone survey of 1,550 Michigan residents was conducted to gather information about users’ recreation preferences and satisfaction with local outdoor recreation resources and opportunities.
The DNR creates these five-year plans to meet a requirement of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a funding source the department uses both for the development of park and recreation lands and the administration of pass-through grants to local units of government for outdoor recreation projects.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund requires each participating state to have a comprehensive outdoor recreation plan to ensure wise use of grant funds. This federal fund was created in 1964 and, since that time, the DNR has received more than $135 million to support over 1,800 outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the state. To be eligible for funding, the DNR must submit its final 2018-2022 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan to the National Park Service by Dec. 31, 2017.
Learn more about the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other grant programs on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants.
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