WASHINGTON (July 13, 2015)—Organizations along the length of the Mississippi River are joining with National Geographic Maps to highlight the world-class natural, cultural and historic sites, attractions and tourism businesses along the river for a new National Geographic interactive MapGuide website of the region.
The Mississippi River Geotourism project will travel through Arkansas this week to kick off community outreach to identify the places along the Mississippi that are most respected and recommended by locals. The project seeks to contribute to the economic health of communities along the river by promoting geotourism: tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents.
A community-based nomination process is being used to create the National Geographic interactive website covering the immediate counties on either side of the river as well as the entire Delta region from Illinois southwards. Local residents and visitors are invited to nominate the landmarks, attractions, activities, businesses and events that define the region’s character and distinctive appeal.
From July 14 to 17, public forums and presentations will be conducted in Arkansas communities along the river, from Paragould to Lake Village, to encourage nominations and community involvement. Nominations may be made at http://mississippiriver.natgeotourism.com/.
The Mississippi River Geotourism program is a joint effort of the Mississippi River Connections Collaborative (MRCC) and the National Geographic Society. The MRCC is an informal network of local, state and nonprofit organizations whose mission is “to promote the magnificence and diversity of the Mississippi River as a national treasured landscape.” The MRCC is working to increase recognition of “America’s Great River,” enhance the existing resources, promote stewardship and sustainable practices, acquire funding for conservation and ensure that all Americans can enjoy these assets in the future.
“Participation by local residents is critical to the Mississippi River Geotourism program’s success,” said Arkansas Highway Commissioner Robert Moore. “Our goal is to get nominations from across the region that identify the things people love best, those ‘must-see’ places that might range from an incredibly beautiful hike to an atmospheric downtown area with local character.”
“The National Geographic Maps Division is pleased to have the opportunity to spotlight this region and, in doing so, support and sustain it as one of the prized places on the globe,” said James Dion, director of tourism programs, National Geographic Maps. “The website will celebrate the area’s abundant natural, cultural and historical attributes from the unique vantage point of those who live there.”
The MapGuide website development process is driven by local people and is overseen by the Mississippi River Geotourism Stewardship Council, a regional committee of people and organizations from the area representing community leaders, historians, river organizations, public lands managers, indigenous peoples, artists and tourism businesses.
Geotourism websites have been published for the U.S. Gulf Coast States (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida), Bahamas, Newfoundland (Canada), Douro Valley (Portugal), Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia), Bocas del Toro and Roatan (Panama, Honduras), Central Cascades (Oregon, Washington), Crown of the Continent (Alberta, British Columbia, Montana), Four Corners (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah), East Tennessee River Valley, Greater Yellowstone (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), Lakes to Locks Passage (New York), Redwood Coast (California) and Sierra Nevada (California).
About National Geographic Maps
Founded in 1915 as the Map Department of the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Maps is responsible for illustrating the world around us through the art and science of mapmaking. Today, National Geographic Maps continues this mission by creating the world’s best wall maps, outdoor recreation maps, travel maps, atlases and globes that inspire people to care about and explore their world. For more information, visit natgeomaps.com.