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This Land Is Your Land: America Is Your Park

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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