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Montana State Parks Leads Effort on New Outdoor Recreation Strategy in Montana

(Helena, MT) – Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) announced today that it is leading the effort on a new outdoor 5-year recreation plan for Montana. The Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) will be completed by the end of 2013.

“Montana’s SCORP is a roadmap for public recreation across the state,” said Chas Van Genderen, Administrator for Montana State Parks. “We are proud to lead in this effort on the future of outdoor recreation and its positive impacts on our families, communities and local economies.”

SCORP is a collaborative effort between Montana’s diverse outdoor recreation providers, the tourism community, and Montana residents. The goals are to:

• help identify major outdoor recreation trends, priorities and issues
• assess the recreation supply and demand of facilities and resources
• provide guidance for future statewide recreation funding decisions
• build partnerships among stakeholders

The public will have the opportunity to comment when the draft SCORP is released next summer for review.

“The public doesn’t care who maintains the trail, but they care that it’s family friendly and well-maintained,” said Kory Thomson, Recreation Supervisor, City of Billings Parks and Recreation Department. “SCORP is a great opportunity for all organizations to work closer together with a more driven agenda and guidelines to provide a greater level of service for Montanans.”

The state is required to prepare this strategic plan in order to receive recreational funding through the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) (http://www.lwcfcoalition.org).
Nationwide, the majority of available LWCF funds go toward federal land acquisitions. The SCORP, however, refers to a smaller portion of LWCF funds that go to states to fund community projects. Montana State Parks administers funds for community projects in Montana such as; local parks, ball fields, and swimming pools. LWCF funding has been helping Montana communities since 1965.

In 2012, Montana’s LWCF grant applications totaled more than $398,000 in funding requests. The state’s funding level varies based on the federal allocation process.

“This strategic plan is the spring board to providing Montana families with enhanced opportunities for outdoor active recreation close to home,” said Rick Potts, Refuge Manager of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.

Outdoor recreation in Montana contributes $2.5 billion annually to Montana’s economy, and supports 34,000 jobs across the state, according to a 2008 report by the Outdoor Industry Foundation (www.outdoorindustryfoundation.org).

Visitors to Montana State Parks in 2010, alone, generated $289 million for local and state economies, according to a survey by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

The SCORP advisory committee includes members representing Montana State Parks, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Montana Recreation and Parks Association, Montana Office of Tourism, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and University of Montana.

For more information about SCORP visit: http://stateparks.mt.gov/about-us/parksData.html
and/or contact Montana State Parks at (406) 444-3750.

Visit Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) and enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and more and discover some of the greatest natural and cultural treasures on earth.

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stateparks.mt.gov

Contact:
Jennifer Lawson
Marketing and Communications Manager,
Montana State Parks
(406) 444-3818
Jlawson3@mt.gov