On September 7, 2023,, the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals' Executive Director, Rachel Franchina, participated in a workshop about solutions and actions for implementing the BLM's Blueprint for 21st Century Outdoor Recreation. The workshop was hosted by the BLM's new Congressionally-designated foundation, the Foundation for America's Public Lands. Outdoor recreation is a key focus area for the Foundation and they are committed to supporting the BLM and partners in transforming how people experience outdoor recreation on BLM-managed public lands.
The workshop included a mix of presentations and breakout group discussions. BLM and Foundation leaders talked about why the agency is releasing an outdoor recreation strategy now and how they anticipate it will impact recreation program delivery. The Blueprint emphasizes partnerships as a core approach to modernizing outdoor recreation. Several outdoor recreation leaders participated in panel discussions about building on and expanding partnerships as well as opportunities for new and non-traditional partnerships for improving equitable access to public lands.
Robust breakout group conversations recognized the challenges of the BLM shifting to a holistic approach to outdoor recreation and the internal and external capacity needed to support the shift. While there is excitement about the overall vision and desired outcomes for outdoor recreation managed by the BLM, there is also healthy skepticism about the agency's ability to embrace partnerships in a new way.
For SORP, there are several key areas of integration and ways we can partner with the BLM to support the Blueprint. These include professionalizing outdoor recreation, supporting employee development and training, and incorporating equitable and inclusive access in recreation planning and program delivery. We are looking forward to continued engagement with the BLM, the Foundation, and othe partners in supporting this important paradigm shift for outdoor recreation.