An assistant professor and two sport and recreation administration graduate students at South Dakota State University are assisting the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks on a survey to gather the public’s input for the 2023 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, or SCORP.
Hung-Ling (Stella) Liu and graduate students Kiley Foss and Megan Thompson will compile the survey’s results before analyzing and presenting the findings to the GFP.
Foss had been introduced to SCORP as an undergraduate student. The Hampton, Minnesota, native jumped at the chance to work with Liu on the current survey, which can be accessed at https://sdscorppublic2022.questionpro.com/. All participants who fully complete the survey will have the chance to be entered into a random drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card.
“This survey is just a further look into how people are recreating but also why they’re recreating, what they want from it and the benefits they’re getting from it,” Foss said. “I can really benefit from it because I would like to work for a municipality and its parks and recreation department so any insight I can get will be very beneficial.”
“If I get a job in South Dakota after graduation, I’ll have all this knowledge about South Dakota and outdoor recreation, but even if I go elsewhere, I can apply my experience across all states, cities and their services,” she continued.
Liu said each state creates an outdoor recreation plan to apply for U.S. Department of the Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund to promote, renovate or build new outdoor recreation facilities, which could range from playground areas, parks, city trails or picnic areas. Using outdoor recreation as a means to improve quality of life, health, and well-being.
Thompson’s interest and background have her excited about working on the project.
“Having a background in municipal recreation and an undergraduate degree with an emphasis in outdoor recreation, this project allows me to combine those passions with the research side of things,” said Thompson, who is from Pilger, Nebraska. “I’ll be able to see the entire survey process from start to finish, and how to process and use that data. Having this experience will be very applicable to my career in the future when working on program evaluations and needs assessments to determine plans for a community.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress in 1964 and Liu said South Dakota has since received $40 million.
“As a whole, the act has been a tremendous help for states, especially South Dakota, since we have so many beautiful resources, which are a big tourism draw,” Liu said. “We especially want to recruit the younger generation to be a part of this fun and exciting opportunity.”
The survey is for both end users and providers of outdoor recreation spaces.
“We are looking to create datasets for the state to determine what facilities, amenities and programs the public needs,” Liu said, noting they need information about what challenges the providers face and what services they provide.
They acknowledge COVID-19 has changed how people are using the state’s facilities.
“We know there’s been a boom in outdoor recreation because of the restrictions on doing things indoors,” Liu said. “We see a tremendous opportunity here, especially since a lot of visitors have come from neighboring states to enjoy our natural resources.”
Individuals with questions regarding the survey or study are to contact Liu or Foss.
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