What is SCORP?
Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans (SCORP) are created, in part, to comply with the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants program. States are required to complete their SCORP every five years to be eligible to participate in the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) State Assistance Program. The idea is to get a picture of related recreation trends and issues of statewide importance. This provides a broader framework to properly address needs across the state and helps develop a more complete picture for counties and other local governments to take steps to meet recreation needs at their level. SCORP does not intend to provide guidance at a site or a project level and it does not address all outdoor recreation issues. SCORP identifies general outdoor recreation participation patterns, trends, issues, and opportunities and can provide recommendations for future steps to be taken. OHV recreation is part of what is addressed by SCORP.
How does SCORP get a picture of where we are at and where we are going with outdoor recreation?
To have a plan for outdoor recreation, we first need to understand current participation patterns and what is anticipated for the future. Our DNR formed an advisory group that included qualified representatives from public agencies, conservation organizations, recreation groups, the university system, the health care industry, and others.
Our State undertook a Recreation Opportunities Analysis. The study collected and analyzed information from across the state. Sources included the public, local governments, recreation groups, and DNR property managers among others to help to develop a picture of existing opportunities and future needs.
Part of the information gathering for the SCORP included using random surveys that concentrated on participation, concerns, and future needs. After the random survey, an online survey was used to gain additional information.
Accounting for a recreational activity for a grant.
One of the basic tenets of the program is that the activity must be accounted for in the SCORP to be able to qualify for LWCF grants. There are also Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans (CORPs) that are used on a more local level. These are developed by local communities and typically contain an inventory of existing outdoor recreation facilities, needs, and projects that may be implemented to meet needs. The local plans must also be updated every five years. A regional planning commission may assist counties and communities with their plans. Sample plan. As an advocate I try to keep track of when counties are revising their plans to ensure that (if appropriate) the potential for off-highway motorcycle trails is accounted for in the plan.
SCORP and advocates for motorized recreation.
Data about motorized recreation that is part of SCORP can be a useful tool when advocating for more opportunities for OHV recreation. It is important to note that SCORP is a source of information about needs but not completely authoritative. Numbers listed may not be keenly accurate. Participation numbers can be limited by a lack of existing facilities. Create opportunities for unmet demand and numbers will go up – more opportunity can create even more demand. If you are in a state that is lacking opportunities for OHV recreation and thus shows relatively low numbers of participation, it can be useful to cite numbers from other states, where there are more opportunities in place already, when arguing about the need for expanding OHV recreation.
Statewide and local comprehensive outdoor recreation plans provide a picture of where we are at with outdoor recreation and where we need to go in the future. Grants and development opportunities are often evaluated against the documented needs and priorities in these plans. It is important for advocates to be involved with these plans to help ensure that the interests of OHV recreation are properly represented.