A healthy park system needs resources for good stewardship today and tomorrow. Investing in our state parks is a sound investment in preserving our natural, cultural, and outdoor recreation legacy. With the direction provided in Charting a New Tomorrow, we are working hard to develop a differentiated approach to managing our system, rather than being all things to all people. Our approach is to produce effective solutions to enhance Montana State Parks and recreation programs with the resources that are available, while also actively seeking new opportunities to expand partnerships to increase our capacity and improve the net benefit to the public for services and experiences.
The Strategic Plan identifies key metrics and opportunities that will elevate Montana State Parks to be the strongest park system in the country. Key recommendations within the plan include:
- Prioritize the most significant sites, resources and programs.
- Expand park revenue streams and increase concessionaire opportunities by 2019.
- Foster philanthropic investment of at least $4 million over the next 5 years.
- Develop a marketing plan to heighten awareness and recognition for the park system by 2016.
- Develop a heritage resource strategy to address unique challenges of historic sites by 2017.
Continuously expand outreach to attract and engage new and diverse visitors.
- Promote our recreation grant programs and accomplishments statewide.
- Lead by example on nationwide initiatives such as National Public Lands Day and First Day Hikes.
A plan is only as good as when it is put into practice. With innovation and a solid business direction, we will work closely with our friends and partners to expand the understanding and awareness of the park system. We are diversifying and enhancing our funding with new revenue sources and philanthropic support, improving our community outreach and engagement, and continuing to cultivate volunteerism and stewardship. Now with the Montana State Parks & Recreation Board, we have the guidance and platform for open and honest discussions to make the changes necessary.
HOW ARE DOING THIS?
In the first phase of implementation, one important focus is prioritizing and balancing resources across the system to enhance visitor experiences and create opportunities for investment and partnerships. Many state park systems across the country differentiate sites to effectively communicate experiences and expectations to visitors. Previously, we have explored differentiating sites to promote better management and public understanding. These changes will result in:
- A better understanding of what it takes to manage the park system.
- Future investments that are focused on Montana's most significant parks and highest quality opportunities.
- Clear expectations for positive visitor experiences based on differentiated sites.
- Staff better able to determine where and how to invest time and resources.
- More effective collaboration and transparency with our visitors, user groups, partners, and the Legislature.
As we evaluate our system, we are committed to keeping all public lands public now and into the future.