By Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan’s outdoor recreation system – including public lands and waters, playgrounds and bike paths, and so much more – provides critically important social, health, economic and environmental benefits to us all.
Over the past several months, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been compiling information about the state’s integrated system of federal, state and local recreation assets.
The DNR is seeking input on its draft 2023-2027 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). A comment period is open through Dec. 1.
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The DNR’s SCORP is:
- A broad, flexible, five-year strategic plan designed to evaluate ongoing and emerging outdoor recreation trends, needs and issues, and to establish priorities for achieving outdoor recreation goals.
- An ongoing framework and action plan for state and local recreation partners to guide their outdoor recreation management and policy decisions.
- Required to access certain federal grants; it shapes investment by the state of Michigan and local communities in priority outdoor recreation infrastructure, land acquisition and programming.
Most significantly among the plan’s activities, a statewide survey was conducted in coordination with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and other partners.
The results of this effort have demonstrated the significance of outdoor recreation to the state’s economy, health and well-being. The plan provides regional breakdowns of data collected.
Among the results, Michigan’s outdoor recreation system provides a total net economic value of $165 billion. The cost of annual illness savings realized through outdoor recreation totaled $2.76 billion.
The top motivations to participate in outdoor recreation in Michigan were to study nature (94%), feel better mentally and emotionally (93%), have time away from work or life routines (89%) and exercise and being physically challenged (82%).
The top three recreation activities by participation respectively included, going for a walk on streets or sidewalks, visiting the beach but not swimming and going for a walk on local unpaved trails or paths.
Public input on the draft will be incorporated, as appropriate, in development of the final plan, which will be submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service by Dec. 31.
Early next year, the plan will be put into effect for the next five years, guiding actions of numerous entities seeking to improve outdoor recreation opportunities for everyone across the state of Michigan.