For more than 40 years, Coca-Cola has supported America’s parks through partnerships with individual parks and national park organizations. The Company has donated more than $14 million for restoration and renovation of our country’s parks through programs like America Is Your Park.
In addition to donating $175,000 to the top three winning parks—Oak Park (Minot, North Dakota), Soudan Underground Mine State Park (Minnesota), and Cunningham Park (Joplin, Missouri)—Coca-Cola also gave $70,000 in grants to national, state, and local parks this summer at health and wellness events in select cities across the country. These events featured Women’s National Basketball Association FIT Clinics, appearances from local dignitaries, and grant presentations.
Other parks that made it into the top ten include:
- Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, Tennessee
- Jekyll Island State Park, Georgia
- McGrath State Beach, California
- Mason Neck State Park, Virginia
- Lake Warren State Park, South Carolina
- Ponca State Park, Ponca, Nebraska
- Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia
About the Winning Parks
Oak Park is owned and operated by the Minot Park District. Before it was damaged by a flood in 2011, it served as a gathering place for families, with a splash park, picnic shelters, walking trails, an accessible playground (Magic Smiles Playground), sand volleyball court, and other amenities. The park plans to use the $100,000 recreation grant to help restore the park so families can be active together again.
Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Soudan Underground Mine State Park near Ely is home to Minnesota’s oldest iron ore mine, which operated from 1882 until 1962. In recent years, approximately 30,000 visitors annually have donned hard hats and descended a half-mile underground in a cage to take part in the interpretive programs within the historic mine.
The park also offers tours of an underground physics lab, where scientists from around the world are studying how the universe works. Underground tours are not available at this time due to ongoing repair work from a fire in March 2011, but above-ground opportunities include interpretive programs, hiking, and geocaching.
Cunningham Park is Joplin’s first city park, located in the southwest section of the city. On May 22, 2011, Cunningham was completely destroyed by a tornado that left the community without the tennis and basketball courts, playground, and pool that made the park so popular. The park plans to use the $25,000 recreation grant to rebuild the playground and picnic shelters, plant trees, and build a memorial dedicated to tornado victims and the many volunteers that aided in rescue and recovery.
- Vote for Your Favorite Park
- Minnesota state park wins national contest
- Outside Magazine Names Top 5 State Parks in America
Note: This is the second of a two-part series on the second annual America Is Your Park campaign
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—Keith D. Harrell