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Launched in 2006 by two stay-at-home moms, Mama Pop is the independent voice for parents on pop culture, entertainment, gossip, fashion and web culture.

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This Land Is Your Land: America Is Your Park

By Tracey Gaughran |

Magical things happen in our state parks.

Magical things like what happened in this video of my daughter taken last weekend at Gunpowder State National Park, which is located just outside Baltimore city, where we live:

She’d never held a real rod in her hand before, but look at her go. It brought tears to my eyes, just watching her.

In one of our parks, my daughter learned to fly fish.

And in parks all over the country, kids like my daughter are learning to fish … and to walk, run, skip, play, swim, and be free in nature. For many kids – like those living here in Baltimore City — parks are quite literally their only access to nature. Which is why every year for the past three years Coca-Cola has sponsored the “America Is Your Park” campaign, allowing people from all across the country to lend their support to, and vote for, their favorite park. The park with the most votes will earn the first place prize of $100,000 and title of “America’s Favorite Park,” second place will win $50,000, third will win $25,000 and one wildcard draw will win $15,000. Voting for your favorite park is simple.

Clicking this link will take you to Coca-Cola’s campaign page on Facebook, where you can vote through July 15th as many times as you’d like for your favorite park. You can view the top 25 contenders on the leader board, or you can pick a park in your own city and campaign to get friends and family voting for the park. Additionally, each Foursquare check-in will award your park 100 extra votes!

I voted for Gunpowder Falls State Park, of course — but not just because it’s where my daughter learned to fish. I also voted for it because it’s a state park right near our city, Baltimore, which lacks large swaths of open, green nature. Gunpowder Falls is therefore vitally important to the health of our city and its children — for some, it’s the only nature they’ll ever know or experience. And so, for these reasons, I’d dearly like to see our city’s nearest state park awarded the support it both needs and deserves. (And if you’re unsure of which park to vote for yourself, I’d humbly recommend Gunpowder Falls. You’d be doing a bunch of city kids a favor, seriously.) But without question, there are plenty of other worthy candidates — probably at least one very near you!

So get out there and vote, and tell your friends to vote for their favorite park, too. It’s fast, easy, painless … and a few simple clicks could end up rewarding a park you love and play in handsomely.

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This is sponsored content from Babble and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Coca-Cola. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only legal residents of the 50 U.S. (and D.C.) who are at least 13 years old and reside within the U.S. at the time of participation are eligible to vote for a Park. Participate on behalf of a Park by: July 15, 2012. The 3 most popular Parks will be offered a grant and there will be 1 Wild Card drawing at the end of the Contest to award an additional grant. To participate, for Official Rules, and complete details including grant descriptions, visit www.LivePositively.com/parks. Void where prohibited. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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Tracey Gaughran

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21 thoughts on “This Land Is Your Land: America Is Your Park

  1. Dany says:

    That is a beautiful looking stream! Such a perfect beginner creek for learning how to fly fish, she’s got a pretty good cast for a beginner!

  2. Benjen says:

    Less wrist! LOL just kidding she’s got a great little cast and she’ll be catching fish bigger than her in no time! I agree with Dany, that’s a great little stream and I can imagine that the entire park is a thing of beauty!

  3. Wendy says:

    Love the video – your daughter looks like a natural! My kids are growing up in a city too (New York, to be exact) and parks are becoming increasingly important for getting them out to explore, exercise and connect with nature. We try to visit a new one somewhere in the city every week or two. What a great contest!

  4. Cynthia says:

    My husband went to med school at Hopkins in Baltimore and we visited Gunpowder State National Park frequently! Thanks for the flashback, I’ll definitely put in my vote! :)

  5. Brandi says:

    Great video! Can’t wait till my kids are old enough to experience all this beautiful country has to offer!

  6. Rosie says:

    Love the video of your daughter. I’m not super outdoorsy, but it makes me want to take up fishing and teach my kids :)

  7. Alex says:

    What an adorable picture! Thanks for sharing this!

  8. Korinthia Klein says:

    That’s lovely! What a sweet girl.
    /
    I love our state and county parks. Looking forward sometime in the next few years do doing some actual camping in them. (We may have to practice with the tent in the backyard first, though.)
    /
    http://the-quiet-corner.blogspot.com/

  9. Jolene says:

    Great video! My husband loves fly fishing and can’t wait until our girls are old enough to learn. I love encouraging them to participate in activities that were formerly seen as “masculine” :)

  10. Aela says:

    Gunpowder Falls is a great park! I visited it when my brother was living in Baltimore a few years back. How special that it is where your daughter learned to fish :) And it’s so true that parks all over the country are where so many of our children, especially those growing up in more urban areas, enjoy and learn about nature! Kudos to Coke for recognizing the importance of our parks!

  11. Kelsey says:

    What a treasure to watch your daughter learn how to fly fish! I love the new skills and things they learn when doing outdoor activities. It is so great you can do this in a park near you!

  12. madelinepetersen says:

    I adore National Parks. After living in Utah which has so many different national parks within just a few hours, it’s been a bit of a shock to move to Texas which doesn’t have very many. We have had the chance to hit the Padre Island National Seashore and see a sea turtle hatching and release. Where else could you see such a very cool thing?

  13. Selena M.B. says:

    What a charming little video momma! And who’s the teacher? He sounds simply marvelous ;-) So, me and my family one day are going to come and visit your and we shall fly fish amongst all other forms of badassery, yes?

  14. Selena M.B. says:

    What a charming little video momma! And who’s the teacher? He sounds simply marvelous ;-) So, me and my family one day are going to come and visit your and we shall fish fly amongst all other forms of badassery, yes? Even the name of your park is sufficiently appropriate. Gunpowder. BOOM!

  15. Selena M.B. says:

    Darling little video, that teacher sounds like a keeper!

  16. Selena M.B. says:

    Wow. Look at all of these comments from me. The babbles was posessed yesterday, I tell you. POSSESSED.

  17. Danielle Smith says:

    What a perfect moment you captured! And it is truly what is so special about our parks – that kids have that freedom to play, to learn, to experience…. She is a natural. My small people are little explorers and I cannot get enough of it!

  18. designhermomma says:

    I grew up living in the country, and had a large fishing pond right in the front yard! We now live in the city with my 4 kids and it’s kinda depressing. I would love to teach my girls how to fish, that might need to go on the no-bummer-summer list right now!

  19. Amber says:

    Wow! She is doing awesome for a first-time fly fisher. Look at her go! I would love to take my kids fishing. There are several parks perfect for it in our area.
    Parks are the setting for so many childhood firsts. I love campaigns like this one that give back to something so key to most people’s childhood.

  20. Casi says:

    Such a sweet video! It reminds me, we have a great local park 10 mins from our house — we must go and I must get them some fishing rods. What a great momement and beautiful memory!

  21. Meghan says:

    That is so awesome. When I think of fly fishing, I think of planning trips to Montana or Idaho…I love that you can head to a park outside of Baltimore for it! My kids would love it!

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