By Chris Graham
Originally published by
August Free Press
May 21, 2014
Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe joined Virginia park-goers to celebrate Mason Neck State Park’s designation as one of America’s Favorite Parks as part of the Coca-Cola Company’s America Is Your Park campaign. The Governor and First Lady also launched a new outdoor challenge at Mason Neck to encourage visitors to enjoy their stay at the park and get active at the same time. Coca-Cola awarded Mason Neck the second-place prize, a $50,000 recreation grant which will be used for the challenge that was launched today.
“Virginia’s state parks are a tremendous economic asset for the Commonwealth and a great resource for Virginians who want to get outdoors and get active this summer. On behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I want to thank Coca-Cola for supporting our parks and encouraging people to get active outdoors,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Our thanks also go to those who voted for Mason Neck and particularly the Friends of Mason Neck State Park who organized a vigorous and successful get-out-the vote campaign.”
Mason Neck earned more than 278,000 votes through the support of park-goers who helped the park finish second in Coca-Cola’s America Is Your Park campaign by logging their daily fitness activities and rallying the local community to support the park. The first-place winner was Veteran’s Memorial Park in Moore, Okla., which the city is rebuilding after the park was devastated by a tornado that hit the town last year.
“Through the Coca-Cola America Is Your Park campaign, our goal was to inspire people across the country to rediscover the joy of being active outdoors at their favorite park,” said Brendan Walshe, East Region Sales Operations Vice President, Coca-Cola Refreshments. “To continue encouraging Virginians to get active, Coca-Cola is partnering with Virginia State Parks to launch their Outdoor Challenge.”
Mason Neck developed interactive displays that educate park guests about ways to be active at the park and the health advantages of recreating outdoors. Challenge participants also will be able to track the calories they burn and other health benefits they accrue as they get active at the park.
The Outdoor Challenge is designed for all ages, providing activities geared for kids, teens, adults and seniors. The challenges are also divided into easy, moderate and difficult categories.
“Visiting our Virginia State Parks can be a fun and rewarding part of maintaining active, healthy lifestyles,” said Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “I particularly like that this challenge can be tailored to family members of all ages.
Mason Neck is the first state park to launch the Outdoor Challenge. Virginia State Parks plans to roll out the challenge at every state park across the Commonwealth.
Joe Elton, Deputy Director for Operations for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation continued, “In the modern age, we have all become dependent on electronic devices. We’re now using that same technology to educate, entertain and inspire people about our natural and cultural treasures and showcase the fun, health and well being benefits of outdoor recreation. We’re really fighting fire, with fire.”
The Virginia State Park system is managed by DCR.
The recreational grant from Coca-Cola is just a first step in the development of the statewide outdoor challenge. The Virginia Association for Parks, a statewide nonprofit organization that supports state and national parks in Virginia, is undertaking a fundraising effort for visitor center displays across the state. For more information on the campaign go to www.virginiaparks.org.