Professor appointed to MT State Parks commission

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.

Professor Norma Nickerson, director of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana and faculty in the Department of Society and Conservation in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, was appointed to serve on the commission. The 12 members of the commission represent Montana businesses, nonprofits, tribes and state agencies. Norma Nickerson

The purpose of the Montana Parks in Focus Commission is to provide expert, independent recommendations for the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks to implement the Montana State Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan. The principle focus will be on implementation of the three recommendations from that plan: developing diversified revenue streams, growing strategic partnerships, and building an engaged constituency for state parks.

Parks in Focus will deliver results and accountability to the Montana State Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan, while ensuring the financial, operational, and cultural challenges facing state parks are addressed under the management of the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The Parks in Focus Commission, consisting of 12 volunteer professionals, will develop an inclusive process that welcomes engagement from all relevant partners to shape the substance for this new initiative. It will operate in a collaborative, transparent manner.

The Commission will be active for a term of 12 months and will hold four public meetings around the state to discuss leading issues, gather robust public input and ideas, and develop a framework for making recommendations in a final report.

The Commission also will convene work groups to develop a deeper understanding of core challenges facing state parks and explore related solution concepts. These work groups may include members of the Commission, Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff, and outside experts.

Norma Nickerson has served since 1995 as the Director of ITRR. She is the 2011 recipient of the Greater Western Chapter Travel and Tourism Research Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Norma serves on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Helena branch, and sat on the Missoula Parks and Recreation board for five years.

More information on the commission can be found on its web site.

Read more: "Funding, growing support top priorities of new Montana Parks in Focus Commission" (Helena Independent Record) and "Governor's new panel charged to aid Montana park strategic plan" (Great Falls Tribune)