What are Park Management Plans?

The DNR uses General Management Plans to define a long-range planning and management strategy for State Park and Recreation Areas that reflects the DNR and Park and Recreation Division's mission statements. Management planning expands the concept of a master plan by putting greater emphasis on natural and cultural resources, educational opportunities, and operating decisions at each location. This method of long range planning was adopted by the DNR in 2006 and is modeled after the National Park Service planning process.

The approach establishes the purpose and significance of the park that captures its unique identity, allowing managers to make decisions guided by those principles. Demand for public open spaces continues to grow; demand that must be balanced against limited financial resources. Knowing each state park or recreation area's purpose and its significance in the system will guide future decisions about what demands should be considered the highest priority.

A key aspect of the planning process is the development of a Management Zone Plan, which reflects the resource protection goals and recreation development opportunities for different areas within each park. Each Management Zone provides recommended uses and levels of impact that match the resources within the zone. The zones reflect a 20-year vision for the park, with specific 10-year actions identified for each zone to work towards the vision.

Developing a management plan requires logic, teamwork, public involvement, and integrity. The plan ultimately should reflect a logical sequence of events and guide decision-making in a carefully considered way. Key to this process is active involvement of stakeholders (such as other recreation providers and user groups) and the public. For additional information on input opportunities refer to the "How Can I Give Input?" page.