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Continued: 'Confluence' towns join forces to help stoke tourism

  • Article by: LIBOR JANY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 16, 2013 - 5:43 PM

The area is home to a wealth of natural treasures, including two national parks — the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway — as well as the Mississippi River Trail, the Audubon Great River Birding Trail and the Great River Road, which was recently voted one of the most scenic roads in the United States.

“That’s what visitors look for: authentic experiences that give a sense of place and the authenticity around what a community or a destination is, and a little bit about their history and what they have to offer,” Messer said.

Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks also spoke at the symposium, touting the city’s chain of parks and trails. Hicks later recalled running into an out-of-state couple staying at the nearby Classic Rosewood Inn and Spa. They found the 133-year-old French Second Empire mansion turned bed-and-breakfast through a random online search.

“The Confluence project is trying to reach those kinds of folks, and there’s a lot of them out there,” Hicks said.

Some preservationists are seeking to protect the 8,000-square-mile St. Croix River watershed, which includes the confluence, by having the region named a national heritage area, said another attendee, Jonathan Moore.

“They are pursuing national heritage designation, which is a designation that is considered by Congress, and they would use that branding to market themselves as a destination and as a place that’s important to our nation’s story,” said Moore, a ranger with the National Park Service.

“Just like the Confluence project, it would be to help bring the business community, the arts and nature together, collaborating to market the region as a destination, with the belief that it’ll be more successful and efficient if everyone is working together.”

Libor Jany • 651-925-5033

Twitter:@StribJany

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