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FWP taking comments on state outdoor recreation plan

by KATE HESTON
Daily Inter Lake | February 21, 2024 12:00 AM

The Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan is up for renewal this year and officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are encouraging residents to share their ideas and suggestions.

The state wildlife agency is hosting a series of workshops to discuss the plan, also known as SCORP, including a Feb. 21 meeting in Kalispell at its Region 1 headquarters building on North Meridian Road. 

“What we have tried to do in the past two iterations of SCORP is to try and hold an extensive dialogue and conversation with people across the state who are involved in outdoor recreation to talk about what our recreation needs are … and work that into a plan,” said Greg Lemon, the wildlife agency’s the head of communication and education.

Updated every five years, the outdoor recreation plan allows the state to qualify for federal grants for anything from the creation of a swimming pool to park maintenance. The plan is required to receive funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, according to Lemon. 

The new plan will serve as a guide for local, state and federal agencies as they develop recreational opportunities across the state. It will outline recreation goals for Montana over the next five years. 

"We’re going to reach out to people who love the outdoors, no matter how they choose to recreate,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Dustin Temple in a statement. “We want all viewpoints and ideas incorporated in this document that will really help guide how we develop outdoor recreation opportunities over the next five years.”

There are nine total workshops scheduled across the state, including the one in Kalispell. The goal, according to the state agency, is to answer questions from the public and get feedback on outdoor recreation ideas. 

Kalispell is the first workshop on the calendar, followed by meetings in cities like Great Falls, Helena, Billings, Mile City and Glasgow. There is also a virtual option.  

“These meetings are not intended to be selective in terms of what kind of recreation you enjoy,” Lemon said. “If you enjoy outdoor recreation in any form, from hiking to participating in motorized recreation, we want you to consider coming to a meeting.” 

The Kalispell meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 1 Headquarters located at 490 N. Meridian Road in Kalispell. There is no need to register or RSVP beforehand. 

A virtual meeting will be held on March 12 as well. Registration for that event is available at https://mt-gov.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUud-qqqTgjHt3kzI8O--QiHxWgNcrtADvr#/registration. 

To learn more about the plan and other ways to get involved in the planning effort visit https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/scorp. 

Reporter Kate Heston can be reached at kheston@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.