A comprehensive five-year plan to develop and preserve Minnesota's outdoor recreation systems has been announced by the DNR.
The State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan for 2003-2008, "Enjoying and Protecting Our Land and Water," was created by the Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Policy Advisors, a 29-member group of outdoor recreation and natural resource leaders.
Emmett Mullin, a DNR planner who worked with the group and authored the plan, said the advisory committee had "diverse opinions on specific outdoor recreation issues, yet they shared a broad view of outdoor recreation and the ability to discuss it at a strategic level. Their thoughtful approach to this policy plan is its greatest strength."
While this comprehensive outdoor recreation plan does not dictate action, it does offer help and guidance to individual communities, so they can better understand the challenges and opportunities in front of them.
"This plan provides a common framework for Minnesota's outdoor recreation and natural resource managers to assess their individual situations," Mullin said. "The plan provides these folks with a tool to evaluate their outdoor recreation systems, and it leaves decision-making to those working closest to the outdoor recreation resources."
The committee developed the plan to establish outdoor recreation priorities for Minnesota that will help resource managers make decisions about the state's outdoor recreation system, and to fund the recreation priorities identified in the plan. Minnesota will get more than $60 million from the federal government.
With the diverse interests of Minnesota's outdoor recreation users in mind, the committee members developed the following seven priorities for Minnesota outdoor recreation:
* Protect and restore the natural resource base on which outdoor recreation depends - Minnesota's lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, grasslands and forests;
* Sustain Minnesota's existing outdoor recreation facilities for future generations;
* In areas of rapid population growth, reserve prime recreation lands, such as shoreland and significant natural areas, ahead of development and provide recreation facilities such as parks, trails and water accesses;
* Respond to the demands of Minnesota's changing population;
* Expand nature-based outdoor recreation experiences for youth living in urban areas through "close-by" access to natural areas;
* Improve coordination of the recreation-related activities of governmental and non-governmental providers, and;
* Understand the capacity of Minnesota's natural resources to support satisfying outdoor recreation opportunities.
The seven priorities are based on encouraging a better, highly integrated outdoor system that balances recreation and protection of natural and cultural resources, and on strengthening the awareness of the connection between outdoor recreation and good health.
The plan is available for review at the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.