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Recreation resource planning is the application of analytical tools to a systematic and deliberate process of decision making about the future management of recreation resources and recreation opportunities.
The Society of Recreation Professionals (SORP, www.recpro.org), formerly the National Association of Recreation Resource Planners, expanded its membership in 2012 to include all outdoor recreation professionals. SORP is a non-profit professional organization whose mission is to promote, advance, and serve outdoor recreation professionals in research, planning, management, and policy development.
SORP believes that professional principles are imperative for two reasons:
Professional principles help clarify institutional values and perspectives, and help to provide a common understanding and nomenclature for professionals and interested stakeholders. They serve as a guide and rule of thumb for making decisions and taking action, and they help stakeholders to better understand planning and the recreation planning profession.
Professional principles help deter arbitrary and capricious decision making which is a violation of law. The Administrative Procedure Act (1946: 60 Stat. 237, 5 U.S.C.A.) set forth the legal standard that administrative decisions must be principled and reasoned; that is, arbitrary and capricious decisions are in violation of law. A set of professional principles can be submitted as demonstrable evidence in a court of law to refute allegations of being arbitrary and capricious.
The following principles reflect important concepts and values subscribed to by SORP towards the recreation planning profession. They also serve as a platform from which other sets of principles tier from such as those for visitor management, interpretive planning, facility design, monitoring and visitor capacity. Full and deliberate consideration of these principles will contribute to a systematic, reasoned and legally-sufficient recreation planning process and recreation plans.
Recreation planning is a rational systematic decision-making process, and as such it is a fundamental tool that deters our human tendencies to make decisions based on predisposition, bias, inadequate analysis, group-think, insular perspective, resistance to change, and excessive self-confidence. It results in decisions that are more effective, efficient, fair, reasoned, and defensible.
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