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Coca-Cola's America is Your Park Campaign and Why Texas is Spectacular

I knew Texas and I would get along really well. Music, accents, BBQ, football, wide open spaces and cowboys, what’s not to like? I finally had the opportunity to visit Texas last month and I’m pleased to report the state had me enamored before my plane even touched down. Huge barns with Texas flags painted on top, friendly Texans on the plane welcoming me to their state with recommendations on where to get the best brisket, the best coffee and the best massage. By the time I made it off the plane I proclaimed “EVERY THING REALLY IS BIGGER AND BETTER IN TEXAS!” I had an amazing three days in Texas but I couldn’t ignore that the area of Texas I was visiting (Austin) had been hit hard by drought and last year’s wildfires. One park in particular, Bastrop State Park, located near Austin, was nearly destroyed in last year’s wildfires. 96% of the 6,500 square foot park was devastated by wild fire.  While both public and local donors, as well as volunteers, have been able to recover much of Bastrop State Park’s trails, cabins and bridges, there’s still much to be done.

As of today, Bastrop State Park is currently in second place in Coca-Cola’s third-annual America is Your Park campaign. This year’s winning park will win a $100,000 recreation grant from the Coca-Cola Live Positively initiative and the title of “America’s Favorite Park.” Among last year’s winners included a park in hard-hit Joplin, MI. Voting for your favorite park is simple.  If you’re local, there’s even more you can do to help your park, or in our case Bastrop State Park, win a grant from the Coca-Cola Live Positively initiative.

Clicking this link will take you to Facebook, where you can vote through July 15th as many times as you’d like for your favorite park. You can check out the top 25 contenders or you can narrow it down to a park in your very own city and begin a campaign to get friends and family voting for the park you’re most passionate about. Each Foursquare check-in will award your park 100 extra votes. The park in the 1st place has over 4 million votes while 25th place has just over 19,000. It’s still anyone’s contest and even better, there will be more than one winner. While first place will earn the $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.

Not sure who to vote for? Would you mind voting for Bastrop State Park? Even if you’ve never been to Texas, you have to believe me when I say that it’s every bit as charming as I had imagined. I grew up in Utah where wildfires are common and even more awful during the summer. No community should be impacted by wildfires the way Bastrop has been. But all of us, moms in Indiana and dads in Washington, can come together for a little community in Southern Texas and help them get their park back, slowly but surely.

Have another park you’re especially passionate about? Tell me about it! Tell your friends about it and get people voting for it now through July 15th using the free online tools available at Live Positively.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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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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