DNR Seeks Input on 5-Year Plan to Set Direction for Outdoor Recreation
Federal dollars will be spent on the types of outdoor recreation that are identified as important and lacking in opportunities; hunting and fishing could benefit.
Some hunters will be sitting home this fall because they don’t have a place to hunt. Likewise, fishing, one of the state’s most popular outdoor activities, deserves attention to continue to provide angling opportunities.
Sportsmen have an opportunity to speak up for their needs at a series of town-hall meetings over the next two months as DNR seeks public input on outdoor recreation that will affect how millions of dollars are spent.
In order to be eligible for matching federal grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), every five years DNR formulates a comprehensive statewide recreation policy (SCORP). LWCF money supports state, county, and city outdoor recreation projects with matching grants for projects in three categories: land acquisition, development, and rehabilitation. A local or state government or state agency can submit a grant request, and federal dollars will pay up to two-thirds of the cost of a project if the LWCF grant is approved.
Since inception more than 40 years ago, LWCF money to Georgia has paid $79.4 million in matching funds for 965 outdoor-recreation projects. Most of those grants were to city and county projects for local parks, swimming pools, ball fields, etc.
DNR has used LWCF grants to help build Georgia’s great network of State Parks. LWCF grants have paid out $10.8 million on 58 projects for 27 State Parks in Georgia.
Sportsmen have benefited from LWCF money that was used for Arrowhead PFA in 1968, a fishing pier at Lake Blackshear in 1973, two grants for the Buford Trout Hatchery in 1973 and 1974, an addition to Pigeon Mountain Natural Area in 1974, and a grant that helped purchase part of Big Lazer Creek WMA in 1975. To see every LWCF grant to Georgia, go to <waso-lwcf.ncrc.nps.gov/public>.
The LWCF grant process was spawned by a study that began in 1958 by the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC), which identified hunting and fishing as popular outdoor recreations needing attention to provide opportunties.
In a 1962 speech promoting the LWCF, then Secretary of the Interior Stewert Udall said: “Our special concern today is in outdoor America: in how we can provide opportunities for fishing, hunting, camping, and boating, preserve places of scenic grandeur, hold open spaces against the sprawl of suburbia.”
To set its priorities for the next five years of LWCF grants, Georgia DNR is asking the public which outdoor recreation activities they participate in, and what types of outdoor recreation they can’t take part in because of a lack of opportunity.
LWCF grants are administered by DNR’s Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division, which will be hosting the following town-hall meetings where comments will be taken. All meetings start at 6 p.m.
• October 12 — Atlanta: Piedmont Park Conservancy Community Center.
• October 19 — Camilla: Southwest Georgia RDC Board Room.
• October 26 — Columbus: Liberty Theater Cultural Center.
• November 9 — Brunswick: The Stellar Center Conference Center.
• November 16 — Milledgeville: Old Capital Building, Ga. Military College.
• November 30 — Tallulah Falls: Tallulah Gorge State Park.
• December 7 — Rome Civic Center.
If you cannot attend a meeting, a DNR survey is available at <www.gastateparks.org>.
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