Minnesota state park wins national contest

When Coca-Cola encouraged American families to be active outdoors this summer, LivePositively, and vote for their favorite park, millions responded.

The “America Is Your Park” campaign ignited a fierce competition online, across the airwaves, and in newspapers across the country.

Bear Head Lake at sunrise. Photo courtesy emily.net

Over 5.7 million votes were cast during this unique online campaign that resulted in a state park in far northeastern Minnesota, Bear Head Lake, emerge as “America’s Favorite Park” thanks to more than 1.6 million votes.

In addition, Bear Head Lake State Park was awarded a $100,000 recreation grant made possible by Coca-Cola’s Live Positively initiative.

“It’s clear that our nation’s parks hold a special place in the hearts of Americans. This outpouring of support shows the power we each have to change our communities with the click of a button,” said Celeste Bottorff, Vice President of Living Well, Coca-Cola North America.

Through its partnership with the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service, and in collaboration with America’s State Parks, America’s State Parks Foundation teamed up with Coca-Cola to donate more than $500,000 in grants to national, state, and local parks across the country for new activity equipment such as bikes and kayaks, and the restoration and construction of activity areas.

Hiking along Trout Lake. Photo courtesy Tripadvisor

Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. They work hand in hand with the National Park Service to help connect Americans to the parks, and to ensure they are preserved for the generations who will follow.

Bear Head Lake State Park, one of 73 parks and recreation areas in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) state parks and trails system, plans to use the $100,000 recreation grant to promote outdoor recreation and enhance places in the park for people of all ages to play. Specifically, the park plans to build a much-needed trail center where hikers, paddlers, snowshoers, and others can gather before heading outdoors to explore.

Another view of Trout Lake at Bear Head Lake State Park in northeastern Minnesota. Photo courtesy Tripadvisor

“I am honored that people from around the country mobilized to get out the vote for Bear Head Lake State Park as ‘America’s Favorite Park’,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten. “We very much appreciate the generous grant the park will receive from Coca-Cola and the support from the America’s State Parks Foundation. It was unexpected, and we are grateful. The grant will ensure that the 100,000-plus people who visit this park each year will have more options for being active outdoors and creating lasting family memories.”

But what is the attraction to this little known northeastern Minnesota state park and how did it handily outpoll every other state and national park in the U.S., easily topping such national icons as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Great Smoky Mountains?

Tomorrow’s post will provide insight into these questions.

Worth Pondering…

May all your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view……where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you.

—Edward Abbey

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