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The Commission embarked on a concerted strategic planning process in the early 1990s. A draft strategic plan, organized around resource categories (that is, large rivers, lakes and ponds, warmwater streams, and so forth), was developed and printed in draft form in 1995. We then developed a more concise public version of this plan and used it to solicit public input on Commission direction.

The Commission has made substantial efforts to gather public input during the planning process. In 1996 and 1997, we held a series of nine roundtable meetings with the Commonwealth's anglers and boaters. We used public surveys to make statistically valid assessments of angler and boater opinions. Issue-oriented work-groups have also been used to gather opinions and guide policy development on specific topics. After this initial public input process, the Commission developed a revised draft version of the strategic plan that integrates volumes of information and customer input into a concise document.

Conserve 2000 logoThe new version of the plan is significantly shorter than previous versions. In about 20 pages, it succinctly outlines the challenges and opportunities the Commission faces in the coming century. It also outlines management policies and strategies the Commission will use to capitalize on these opportunities. This document will provide focus for the agency's efforts in the 21st century. It is important to note that this plan does not discard past efforts. Instead, it represents the culmination of a long process. The fundamental difference between this version and previous versions is that the issues have been recast along program lines.

At their July meeting, the Commissioners voted to disseminate the final draft plan to the general public. The Commission will accept public comment on the plan until September 30, 1998. Staff will review the comments and recommend final adjustments to the document. We hope that the Commissioners will consider final approval of the strategic plan at their fall Commission meeting.
Designed to be a "customer friendly" document, we believe the strategic plan quickly and effectively communicates who the Commission is, what our mandates are, the challenges the Commission faces, and where the Commission is going. The document follows the framework provided by the Commission's legislative mandates, mission and goals.

If you want to review the plan, you can request a copy by mail or find it on our web site at www.fish.state.pa.us. If you take the time to review the document, you will find that the cornerstone theme for the Commission is resource stewardship, as reflected in the new Conserve 2000 program the Commission will launch. This program will promote resource conservation and foster the partnerships necessary to protect and enhance our aquatic resources. The other important themes are partner-ships and funding. Fishing and boating opportunities for today's and tomorrow's Pennsylvanians depend on clean water and conser-vation of our aquatic resources. Effective partnerships and adequate funding are key elements in our efforts to provide fishing and boating opportunities.

I encourage you to review the plan and provide the Commission with comments. I hope you find the final draft strategic plan helpful in understanding where the agency has been and where it is going. While the challenges are many and difficult, the opportunities are exciting!

Peter A. Colangelo
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

September/October 1998 Angler & Boater

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