The Department of Natural Resources today announced the National Park Service has approved the department’s 2013-2017 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). With this important approval in place, the state of Michigan and its partners throughout local units of government are now eligible to receive funding under the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program for the acquisition and development of outdoor recreation resources.
The state and its local outdoor recreation partners use the SCORP as an ongoing framework and action plan for guiding their decisions on outdoor recreation management and policy. This updated plan focuses on leveraging Michigan’s diverse, abundant natural resources to meet residents’ relaxation and health needs, as well as the economic development needs of the state and local communities.
“This Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan provides strategic direction about how to make the most of our state’s outdoor recreation opportunities for the people of Michigan,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “The information collected in preparing the SCORP helps us understand trends, needs and emerging issues that affect outdoor recreation. The SCORP priorities reflect this information and will help inform recreation decisions.”
The LWCF program, established in 1965 and administered in Michigan by the DNR, supports the state and cities, counties and townships in their efforts to provide better public outdoor recreation opportunities for their residents. In order to be eligible for LWCF grants, states must prepare and gain approval of a comprehensive outdoor recreation plan, which needs to be updated every five years. LWCF grant dollars are derived from royalties on oil and gas off-shore production at the federal level. Approximately $40 million is available for projects annually nationwide.
As part of Michigan’s recreation grant program, local units of government that prepare five-year recreation plans for their communities are eligible to receive portions of the LWCF grant dollars. In Michigan, approximately 50 percent of LWCF grant dollars goes to local units of government and requires a 50-percent match.
Committed to ensuring broad public input on the development of the 2013-2017 SCORP, the DNR provided many opportunities for feedback, including presentations at five public workshops and eight stakeholder meetings around the state. Additionally, the draft SCORP was available on the DNR website for review and feedback.
The 2013-2017 SCORP identifies six key objectives:
Improve the collaboration and cooperation between all outdoor recreation providers in Michigan;
Ensure the maintenance and continuous improvement of outdoor recreation facilities;
Improve access to and connectivity between recreation opportunities;
Integrate the provision of outdoor recreation with economic development plans and activities to advance economic prosperity;
Market outdoor recreation opportunities and their associated amenities; and
Contribute to the protection of Michigan’s high-quality natural and cultural resources.
The final plan is available on the DNR’s website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants. More information on the Land and Water Conservation Fund may be found at www.nps.gov/lwcf.