SOLON– Lake Macbride State Park is in the middle of a nationwide hunt for online votes to call itself America’s Favorite Park. The park, west of Solon, has already picked up a $10,000 grant from Coca-Cola, being named a contender for the 2011 title in Coke’s America Is Your Park program.
Now, with help from lots of friends, Macbride is shooting for the $100,000 top award. Online voting through Labor Day Weekend will determine that grand prize, to be used for improvements to fitness and activity features. Park officials said it is a good example of partnering with private business, at a time when every dollar counts.
Log on to www.LivePositively.com , then click on the ‘vote for your park’ box. Type in ‘Lake Macbride State Park’ or Solon in the respective window to bring up the voting site. Click and you’ve voted once. You can also vote with your camera or cellphone. Any photo from Lake Macbride counts as five votes. You can also check in via Facebook Places or (starting August 10) upload videos of activity in the park, for another five votes each time. The contest allows you to vote repeatedly.
Of course, getting photos or video from Macbride means you are there in the first place. That’s what it’s all about… getting outdoors. “This is to showcase not just Macbride, but all parks”, stressed Tammie Krausman of the Department of Natural Resources. “A vote for Macbride is a vote for all Iowa parks. We hope it also demonstrates the fun you can have outdoors.” Iowa supporters have set their sights on three million votes, representing one vote for each Iowan. It took 1.6 million votes for Bear Head Lake near Ely, Minn., to win in 2010.
The race for cyber-votes will be highlighted August 3, at 10 a.m., as sponsors hand over a $10,000 check to Governor Terry Branstad and park officials. Dubbed the “Healthy Outdoors Event,” the 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. function will feature healthy games with fruit and vegetables, a tent-pitching race, displays and other activities. Besides area runners– who often use the park and its trails– the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids will be involved, as well as anyone from the public who wants to watch or jump in.
That is also where park officials will ramp up the push for votes in the final weeks, leading up to the September 6 finish line. “We are asking all Iowans to show their support by voting– often,” said Krausman. “We hope it shows that Iowans love those parks they play in.”
It also takes the emphasis on healthy living a step further. “Lake Macbride will serve as a pilot for healthy vending choices in Iowa state parks,” said Iowa Department of Public Health spokesperson Carol Voss, noting a vote shows support for increasing access to healthy beverages and snacks.