MADISON – The public will have opportunities over the next several months to weigh in on how they recreate in Wisconsin’s outdoors and what they feel should be priorities for receiving funding for recreational development and opportunities.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is in the process of updating the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, or SCORP, for 2017-2022. The plan serves as a blueprint for state and local outdoor recreation planning as required by the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides funds to state and local agencies for acquisition, development and maintenance of outdoor recreational land and facilities.
“By identifying outdoor recreation demand throughout the state and by projecting outdoor recreation activity trends relevant to the immediate future, SCORP gives Wisconsin communities direction in outdoor recreation planning,” said John Pohlman, a planner with the DNR Bureau of Facilities and Lands.
Fifteen combined federal and state outdoor recreation programs use the priorities established in the SCORP to rank projects for funding. This includes grants for recreational trails, snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle facilities, recreational boating facilities and grants to local government through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for a variety of park facilities.
The DNR will be sending out a survey to assess Wisconsinites’ participation in outdoor recreation and to better understand citizens’ concerns and needs related to satisfying experiences in the outdoors. This fall, department staff will also survey visitors at a variety of properties, focusing on learning what activities they pursued, what features and attributes lead them to the properties, their level of satisfaction with the visit, and travel‐related spending.
This information will ultimately help set priorities for funding future recreation projects from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This year Wisconsin is expected to receive about $1.6 million from the LWCF grants.