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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Southwest > Sustainable Tourism and Resilient Communities > Sustainable Tourism Regional Activities and Upper MN River Art Crawl and Meander

Sustainable Tourism Regional Activities and Upper MN River Art Crawl and Meander

Project files

Purpose

Convening of tourism activities related to natural resources and culture in the Upper Minnesota River Basin including bike trails designs by UM Center for Changing Landscapes. Also coordination of the survey research of the Meander.

Partners

Clean Up the River Environment
Upper Minnesota River Valley Regional Development Commission
Renewing the Countryside
MN Department of Natural Resources
UMN Center for Changing Landscapes

Activities

CURE convened and facilitated more than 24 meetings in the past 12 months to convene interested citizen volunteers, Business owners, artists, government agency representatives and other stakeholders to accomplish the goals listed above. CURE also established extensive e-mail list serve databases and mailing address lists to facilitate communication among these people between meetings. Finally, CURE sent out several thousand pieces of mail, issued several press releases and posted information on various web sites to facilitate communication with the general public on this work.

With funding from the WCRSDP, CURE created a visually attractive display board featuring a map of the watershed and the logos of all the partner organizations working together in the region to advance sustainability. This display has been seen by hundreds of people over the past year and used as an effective visual tool to communicate the new vision for the region based on appreciating rural assets.

On August 20th 2005, CURE organized a tour of Green Routes locations in the region to celebrate the publication of the Upper Minnesota River Watershed Green Routes map. More than 50 people participated in the tour and more than 250 people took part in separate events at Green Routes locations organized around the tour. On December 9th, CURE sponsored a 2 hour meeting with Dr. Ingrid Schneider from the U of M Tourism Center that was attended by 35 people who came to learn about the results of her research on the Meander Upper Minnesota River Arts Crawl.

A story about the meeting later appeared in the Montevideo American News and the subsequent report presented at the meeting formed the basis for a talk that CURE gave to the Willmar Arts Council in January 2006.

CURE has made preliminary contact with U of M Faculty member Carl Rosen about engaging their participation in the development of the phosphorus reduction education on golf courses project. Plans are to have something erected by the fall of 2006. CURE has also engaged in discussions with local grocery store owners, municipal wastewater treatment staff and Lawn and Garden Retailers about the need for phosphorus reduction education. A CURE Bridge Builders Gathering held in April 2005 focused on phosphorus reduction and what we can do locally about it.

Finally CURE has approached Wal-Mart Corporation about ways to reduce phosphorus runoff from… Parking lot.

Outcomes

As a result of the meetings we convened and facilitated, we were able to assist the Minnesota DNR in creating a Master Trail Plan for the Minnesota River which will now guide all future trail planning efforts. As a result of our Green Routes organizing, 4,000 Green Routes Brochures were published and distributed to collectively promote sustainable businesses and organizations in the region. The region is now “on the map” and is being featured at such events as the Living Green Expo held every May in the Twin Cities. Finally, as a result of the Meander convening work, several local foods producing, Pride of the Prairie Farms were established as Meander locations and more than 15,000 brochures were created and distributed to advertise this fact. The Meander event itself drew more than 1,000 visitors to the region over the two day period and led to the region being named the “Favorite Arts Outpost of 2006” in Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Funding

In-Kind 3,850.00
Outside 30,000.00
Volunteer 4,440.00
State Special 12,500.00
Total 50,790.00

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