Governor Bullock Announces New Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan -

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Governor Bullock Announces New Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan

Tuesday, December 17, 2019/Categories: Former Governors,

Governor Steve Bullock today announced the release of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), which will provide the state with a five-year strategic framework for identifying trends, issues, and challenges facing the state’s outdoor recreation and natural resources and offers recommendations for outdoor recreation priorities across the state.

“It’s no secret that Montana is an incredible place to live, work, play and raise a family. The quality of life that our state offers is second to none, with unparalleled access to world class recreational opportunities,” Governor Bullock said. “The plan addresses how we, as a state, can protect and enhance the outdoor recreation assets that sustain our economy and our livelihoods and support opportunities for residents and visitors alike.”

“At Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, we believe that the ‘outside is in us all’. The SCORP report reinforces this sentiment and shows that Montanans cherish their time outside and the incredible experiences that Montana’s outdoor resources offer," Martha Williams, director of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said.

“A statewide plan ensures Montanans are in the driver’s seat when it comes to growing and enhancing our outdoor recreation identity,” Rachel VandeVoort, director of the Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation, said. “The 2019 SCORP elevates and broadens the strategic plan to take action and I anticipate that it will take us and our outdoor way of life to a whole new level, setting the bar for state planning.”

Efforts to develop a statewide plan were led by an advisory council comprised of stakeholders representing the public and private sectors, local, state, tribal and federal agencies, and advocacy organizations. The council held public meetings to hear directly from Montanans about the issues they deem most important.

The 2020-2024 SCORP identified six high-level goals and recommendations:

  • Promote outdoor recreation opportunities for all Montanans
  • Enhance public access to outdoor recreation resources and facilities
  • Support the economic vitality of communities and the state
  • Improve quality of life through outdoor recreation experiences
  • Adapt outdoor recreation for a changing environment
  • Honor Montana’s outdoor legacy

The plan also relied on expertise from Dr. Elizabeth Covelli Metcalf, a University of Montana professor who served as the SCORP planning leader. Metcalf is an associate professor of parks, tourism and recreation management in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, Department of Society and Conservation. Metcalf holds dual doctoral degrees in recreation, parks and tourism management and human dimensions of natural resources and the environment from Pennsylvania State University.

“As a social scientist and a professor of outdoor recreation, leading the planning efforts for SCORP was an invaluable opportunity to work with Montana State Parks and connect with the outdoor recreation community to develop goals that meet the needs of the state,” Metcalf said. “As a Montanan who enjoys recreating with my family, the completion of this project is also deeply rewarding as it will impact our own experiences in the years to come.”

In addition to its value as a planning document, every state must complete a statewide plan to be eligible for Land and Water Conservation Funds (LWCF). Since 1965, Montana has received over $38 million from this federally funded program supporting outdoor recreation projects in Montana communities. Montana State Parks administers the stateside LWCF for Montana.

The release of SCORP comes on the heels of a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that shows Montana is a national leader in outdoor recreation, coming in second in the nation for percentage of GDP, at 5.1%, tied to the outdoor recreation economy. 

The 2020-2024 SCORP report can be found here.




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