Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Ready for Public Review

Jonathan P. Ela Unit of the Bailey’s Harbor Boreal Forest State Natural Area along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The public has an opportunity to review and comment on the draft Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. The plan provides guidance to public outdoor recreation policy and planning decisions and is used in allocating recreation-related grants administered by the Department of Natural Resources.

This report is used to help make grant funding decisions for programs like the Knowles-Nelson stewardship program, Land and Water Conservation funding, and the Rec Trails program.

Interesting bike-specific tidbits revealed include:

  •  When respondents were asked to name their favorite outdoor activity, the top five responses were walking/hiking, fishing, hunting, bicycling, and camping.
  •  Trends in participation at county parks, forests and trails – activities with largest increases were bicycling – winter/fat tire biking and bicycling – mountain biking.
  •  In the last 12 months, 50% of WI residents bicycled at least once,  — 61% had a boating-related experience, 66% observed nature and 68% hiked– biking is in the top 4 activities.
 This iteration of the SCORP covers the period from 2019 to 2023 provides updated information on Wisconsinites’ participation in outdoor recreation, existing opportunities, and future needs. The plan was developed with the assistance of an advisory team comprised of a diversity of representatives.
Adding additional trails, such as the recently completed portion of the Great Sauk Trail, is one of the priority needs identified in the plan.

Photo from Great Sauk Trail website.

The DNR will host an open house meeting on Wednesday Dec. 19 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Alumni Room of the Dreyfus University Center on the UW-Stevens Point campus. The Center is located at 1015 Reserve St. Stevens Point.

The SCORP provides guidance for public outdoor recreation policy and planning decisions in the state. The plan also guides the allocation of recreation-related grants administered by the department, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund program.

The plan lays out five overarching goals for outdoor recreation in Wisconsin:

  • Boost participation in outdoor recreation.
  • Grow partnerships.
  • Provide high-quality experiences.
  • Improve data to enhance visitor experiences and benefits.
  • Enhance funding and financial stability.

People can review the plan and the appendices  on the DNR website.  In addition to the open house, people can also comment on the plan through a public input form on the SCORP page of the DNR website. The form is intended to gather perspectives about the draft SCORP and ideas people may have to improve the document. People can provide input on an online questionnaire, or can download a form and mail it in. Comments, either online or hardcopy, are due by Jan. 4, 2019.

For more information contact John Pohlman, DNR planner, 608-264-6263

About Carolyn Dvorak, Southwest Region Director

Carolyn lives in La Crosse with her husband and two daughters. She has loved riding a bicycle throughout her life. She enjoys working in the La Crosse area helping to create great places to bicycle.

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