Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Input needed on new map

Community-based nominations are needed to create a National Geographic “Geotourism MapGuide” for the Northwestern Ontario and northeastern Minnesota, known collectively as the “Heart of the Continent.”
Local residents and visitors now are invited to nominate for inclusion in the MapGuide the landmarks, attractions, activities, events, and even local foods that define the region’s character and distinctive appeal.

The Heart of the Continent Partnership (HOCP) area designated for the map encompasses Northwestern Ontario border municipalities from Fort Frances to Thunder Bay, including gateway and First Nation communities; part of Koochiching and all of Cook, Lake, and St. Louis counties in Minnesota; plus private and public lands in both countries.
Nominations may be made through June 15 at www.traveltheheart.org
Public forums and presentations will be conducted in communities throughout the region to encourage nominations and community involvement.
Training sessions to learn more about nominating will be held May 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the AmericInn in International Falls, and then on May 16-17 at the “Heart of the Continent” booth inside the Ice For Kids Arena during the annual Home and Business Expo.
A third one will be held May 21 at 6 p.m. at Oveson’s Pelican Lake Resort and Inn in Orr, Mn.
“Participation by local residents is critical to the project’s success,” steering committee chair Frank Jewell said in a press release.
“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 a historic downtown with exceptional galleries and restaurants,” he added.
“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 treasured natural places on the globe,” said James Dion, director of Tourism Programs, National Geographic Maps.
“The MapGuide will celebrate the area’s abundant scenic, cultural, and historical attributes from the unique vantage point of those who live there,” he noted.
Beyond open-to-the-public map point nominations, the MapGuide development process calls for oversight by a regional committee.
The HOTC Stewardship Council represents an assortment of geotourism perspectives, including community leadership, historic preservation, natural resources, public lands management, indigenous peoples, traditional and local arts, agriculture, tourism promotion, and local businesses.
A primary task for the stewardship council will be to review and sort nomination submissions prior to sending them on to National Geographic.
It will have the final say on the selected sites.
The HOTC project seeks to contribute to the economic health of communities by promoting geotourism (i.e., tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents).
The interactive website will be available to use late this fall or early winter.
The National Geographic Society has worked with community-based alliances to develop similar Geotourism MapGuides and websites in other regions around the world.
For more information on National Geographic Maps, visit natgeomaps.com

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