DNR to look at recreational opportunities statewide

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is kicking off an effort to look at recreational opportunities and needs across Wisconsin. The project, officially called a Recreation Opportunities Analysis, or ROA, aims to identify future recreational needs across the state, and the role of DNR lands in helping to meet those needs.

The ROA will rely on the same eight regions that the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan — known as SCORP — uses to evaluate outdoor recreation trends and issues. Recommendations resulting from the Analysis will then be used to help inform decision-making about use of DNR lands, including in future master planning efforts.

One element of the effort is to facilitate full implementation of 2013 legislation requiring that roads on department property be designated as open or closed for motorized use. However, motorized recreation is not the primary purpose of the project. The department is using this opportunity to work with the public to evaluate the full spectrum of recreational opportunities and demands commonly sought on DNR lands.

“Taking a holistic view at the statewide level while engaging stakeholders allows the department to better understand the current opportunities and existing conditions, and position ourselves to make more informed decisions regarding the gaps, demands and where to best place recreational infrastructure to meet statewide needs,” said Diane Brusoe, DNR master planning supervisor.

Initial steps of the phased project include gathering data on existing recreational opportunities currently available to the public, and working with key statewide stakeholder groups in developing the process to engage regional and local user groups. The goal is to create a regional-based recreational opportunity analysis that is inclusive in design and holistic in approach.

Public involvement in this effort will be extremely important. Open house meetings and outreach by the DNR early this year to user groups and others with an interest in the recreational uses of public lands will provide key opportunities for public involvement and ultimately the success of the project.

For more information about the recreational opportunities analysis and to sign up to receive information about the project and learn how you can participate, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “ROA.”

For more information about the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “SCORP.”