FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Photos available upon request
Jessica Ahern, Director of Destination Volunteering & Investments
Kristen Montag, Communications & PR Manager
Tourism Cares and 100 travel industry volunteers celebrate the National Park Service Centennial in Minneapolis, MN
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – May 20, 2016 – More than 100 travel and tourism professionals from across the country traveled to the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area in Minneapolis today to give back in celebration of the 100th birthday of the National Park Service.
“Volunteers and National Parks have a special relationship,” said John Anfinson, park superintendent. “They allow us to accomplish so much more than we could by ourselves,” he explains, “and we provide the opportunity for them to meaningfully contribute and connect to America’s great places and stories.”
Coldwater Spring—just a mile from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport— is a new addition to this urban park and is still transitioning from the former site of the Bureau of Mines: Twin Cities Research Center, which developed significant mining technologies and processes used worldwide. Federal funding was eliminated in 1996; by 1997 the buildings were vacated, gradually fell into disrepair and remained vacant until their demolition in 2011. The National Park Service and its nonprofit partner, Mississippi Park Connection, are working extensively with volunteers to transition the grounds back to its natural habitat as a native savanna oak prairie – providing a better environment for species along the river and a recreational park for locals and tourists to the Minneapolis area.
National parks across the country have seen record numbers of visitors this year. With limited manpower and budget constraints, the National Park Service continues to rely on volunteers to maintain parks and keep the experience for visitors as memorable as it has been for the last 100 years.
Coldwater Spring is no exception, and the National Park Service, with its charitable partner that helps protect The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area—The Mississippi Park Connection—relies on many helping hands. By the end of the day, volunteers planted more than 2,000 native plants and pulled hundreds of pounds of invasive buckthorn to help preserve the land.
Volunteers are at the heart of our environmental stewardship program,” said Katie Nyberg, executive director, Mississippi Park Connection. “Coldwater Spring has evolved into a haven for people and wildlife because of thousands of hours of work by people in our community. We’re thrilled to partner with Tourism Cares.to continue the work to make Coldwater Spring a gem in our park system.”
This event is made possible by the partnership between Tourism Cares, Mississippi Park Connection, National Park Service and by sponsors: AIG Travel; Viking Cruises; Abercrombie & Kent, USA; Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection; Booking.com; Delta Air Lines; Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; Mayflower Tours; SuperShuttle; Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau; Meet Minneapolis; Visit Saint Paul; Mall of America; and The National Park Foundation.
Tourism Cares for the Mississippi River National Recreation Area marks the organization’s first program in the Midwest and is the third project in a series of volunteer events focused on helping our national parks. To learn more, visit www.TourismCares.org.
About Tourism Cares
Tourism Cares, Inc., a US 501(c)(3) public charity, that preserves and enriches the travel experience for future generations. Founded and supported by leading associations and companies in the travel industry, the Tourism Cares community invests its resources, talent and influence in three areas: supporting underappreciated and at risk destinations and communities; investing in those entering the industry and professional development for emerging leaders; and sharing travel corporate social responsibility knowledge and best practices so that individual businesses can best support their own causes. Learn more at www.TourismCares.org and @TourismCares.