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Colorado's Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Released
12/30/2008
Credit:
Colorado State Parks Press Release http://www.colorado/gov/parks
DENVER - The Colorado Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), a blueprint for managing federal, state and local public lands, including parks, open spaces and the plentiful trails that 4.9 million Coloradans cherish, was released Tuesday.

Outdoor recreation defines the quality of life in Colorado and is a significant factor in the state's status as the leanest in the nation, said Scott Babcock, manager of the strategic planning program for Colorado State Parks. The multitude of healthy, outdoor activities also helped attract a record 28 million visitors to Colorado in 2007, according to the Colorado Tourism Office.

Economic activity attributed to outdoor recreation is estimated at $10 billion to $15 billion statewide each year, Babcock said.

To proactively manage these critical resources for future generations, Colorado State Parks worked with a 33-member steering committee to develop the 2008-2012 Colorado Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), titled: Colorado's Outdoor Recreation Future: Strategies for Sustaining Colorado's Outdoors Heritage.

"The SCORP strategic plan also addresses the environmental stressors on outdoor recreational opportunities, including climate change, forest health and invasive species, shifting demographics and
user preferences as well as a growing population," said Babcock. Colorado's population will grow by 2.4 million by 2030, according to the State Demography Office.

The plan identified other significant challenges, including the strong correlation between public health and outdoor recreation. Babcock said that Colorado, like much of the U.S., is witnessing declining youth participation in outdoor recreation activities. This is one of several factors that has contributed to the increasing numbers of children that are overweight.

Babcock said there are also disturbing shortfalls in funding for outdoor recreational opportunities and facilities. Babcock said that the 140 agencies responding to the 2007 SCORP Local Government Survey
reported $440 million in unmet acquisition and capital improvement needs for outdoor recreation projects planned between 2007 and 2011. Those shortfalls may increase if the economy worsens.

"Colorado's SCORP is more than just a planning document," said Dean Winstanley, director of Colorado State Parks. "The SCORP provides a framework for enacting policies and establishing partnerships
that will enable future generations to continue to enjoy and benefit from our outdoors-based quality of life."

Babcock said that the SCORP was developed in collaboration with the steering committee members, which represented local, state and federal agencies, non-profit groups, members of the outdoor industry and
other similar interests.

The steering committee members also put a high priority on integrating recreation into other planning processes such as transportation, tourism and public lands management.

Key recommendations included in the SCORP are:

* Forming a statewide Advisory Council on Colorado's Outdoors.
* Coordinating an annual statewide summit to develop and implement
effective recreation policy initiatives and partnerships.
* Enhancing education and awareness of the benefits of outdoor
recreation.

To learn more or to download the SCORP, please visit:
www.coloradoscorp.org <http://www.coloradoscorp.org/>

The Colorado SCORP will also help determine priorities for allocating the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants administered by the Colorado State Trails Program. Since 1965, Colorado
has secured over 59,000 acres for outdoor recreation purposes, using an estimated $58 million in LWCF grants. The SCORP is the five-year planning document that each state is required to develop to remain
eligible for LWCF appropriations.