Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
image of Montana State Parks logo

Parks Planning


Parks Planning

Montana State Parks & Recreation Strategic Plan 2015-2020

Charting a New Tomorrow

<< Back to Parks Planning

Parks in Focus

The Governor of Montana established the Montana Parks in Focus Commission by Executive Order on January 12, 2018 as a public-private collaboration to strengthen the state park system and to ensure that the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks has the resources, capacity, and expertise to implement the Montana State Parks and Recreation strategic plan.

The Montana Parks in Focus Commission held four meetings across the state in 2018 to gather public input.

Final Recommendations

Montana State Parks Classification Policy

Montana State Parks finalized its policy for classifying and prioritizing park resources, as proposed in the strategic plan, Charting a New Tomorrow. The Montana State Parks & Recreation Board (Park Board) approved the policy at their December 16, 2015 meeting.

Public Comment

The public was invited to comment on the approach that state park staff and the Park Board will use for allocating staffing, funding, and capital development resources at sites across the system. Comments were accepted through November 20, 2015.

Charting a New Tomorrow

Montana State Parks developed an updated strategic plan to serve as the guiding framework for management of the park system through 2020. “Charting a New Tomorrow” identifies key metrics and opportunities to advance new approaches for managing Montana’s state parks and programs. The previous strategic plan was created in 1998.


The strategic plan is a result of a year-long process shaped by extensive internal and external input. Division staff, members of the Legislature, agency partners, user groups, and other stakeholders provided key input through surveys, community listening sessions, and public review. From this, we refined the goals and developed specific actions to set our direction and measure our success.

Key assessments of the strategic planning process included:

  • Clarifying mandates, mission and core values of Montana State Parks
  • Assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the park system and programs
  • Identifying strategies to improve funding, advocacy, and resources
  • Engaging the public to understand their needs, expectations, priorities and values for the state park system.

Montana State Parks hosted eight community listening sessions in communities around Montana in April 2014. These sessions provided an opportunity for participants to learn about the current status of the Montana State Parks' system and provided feedback on challenges and opportunities. Sessions were facilitated by the Montana State University Extension’s Local Government Center.

Communities hosting a listening session included:

  • Glasgow (Cottonwood Inn) – April 21
  • Glendive (Dawson Community College) – April 22
  • Billings (Pictograph Cave State Park) – April 23
  • Kalispell (Lone Pine State Park) – April 28
  • Missoula (Travelers’ Rest State Park – April 29
  • Whitehall (Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park) – April 30
  • Helena (Carroll College) – May 1
  • Great Falls (First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park) – May 1

The following materials provide an overview of the discussion at the listening sessions, a summary the responses, and the full responses organized by question and community.

Public Comment on the Strategic Plan

The opportunity to submit public comments was open from October 20 through November 19, 2014.


Kyan Bishop
Montana State Parks & Recreation Planner
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
Phone: 406-444-3364

<< Back to Parks Planning

  • Beginning at 10:30 am 
  • navigation button
  • navigation button
  • News
  • Events
  • Volunteer
  • button linking to public notices
  • Learn with us
  • Protect and Respect
  • fee button
  • For Kids
  • Your Safety
  • Americorps
  • Link to Recreation Programs
  • Parks & Recreation Board button
  • Partners
  • image of nonresident park entrance pass and link to online licensing service
  • navigation button
  • Purchase our license plate
  • image and link to purchase a license plate


Web Template Design MT Office of Tourism