Park Master Plans
A park master plan document consists of three parts: the Background and Existing Conditions, the General Management Plan, and the Conceptual Development Plan. While the background information serves as the basis for decision making, the General Management Plan and Conceptual Development Plan describe how to best protect park resources, provide quality visitor experiences, manage visitation and visitor use, and serves as a blueprint for future park development.
The General Management Plan (GMP) establishes park purpose and classification, describes existing conditions and constraints, details the desired visitor experience and identifies "management zones." General Management Plans are meant to be flexible to accommodate the changing needs of park visitors. Uses are described in general terms, so that as visitor needs change, the uses provided can shift accordingly.
The Conceptual Development Plan (CDP) describes the planned park elements, identifies design concerns, and illustrates the general location of the recommended facilities based on the guidance of the GMP.
As each park site comes with a unique set of conditions, the master planning process is dynamic, allowing for flexibility as situations and circumstances change, while still remaining true to the process. Depending upon the nature and complexity of the project, all three components may be done concurrently. In other instances, the GMP will be the completion of the first phase with a CDP done as a subsequent phase in the future. In addition to these products, the master planning process may also include environmental studies such as forest or delineation studies, cultural resources reports, natural resource inventory reports, and interpretation plans.
Park master plans require review and revisions to ensure that they are current and continue to meet the Park Authority vision and needs of the citizens. All master planned sites benefit from reassessing the overall goals, evaluating the condition of built facilities, and examining the long range vision for the park and its role in the community and the park system. These reviews should occur approximately every 10-15 years as staffing and funding allows, though could happen sooner depending upon the circumstances at a site.
There are generally three types of master plans: