Do you have a great story to share about the Natchez Trace Parkway? Is there something exciting happening along the Parkway that the world needs to know about? If not, that’s okay! Maybe you’ve never visited and you’re curious about this 444-mile historic route and what it has to offer. You’ve still found the right place. Through the U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism MapGuide, you can get local perspectives on what’s special and distinct about the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The National Geographic Society wants to provide you on what is unique and authentic about the Southern Crescent region and even want to hear your story to map the best of the USA Gulf States (which includes the Natchez Trace Parkway!)
The Southern Crescent
The gulf coast of the United States, known by many as the ‘Southern Crescent,’ includes Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi and is a mixing-pot of unique natural sites, cultures, history and artistic expression. For centuries this region has attracted people, coming to the area for commerce, refuge, leisure or a myriad of other reasons and has become one of the most popular tourism destinations in the country. Each state is unique, but they are all related through a common geography, interlacing environments and history as well as the connection between travel experiences within the States.
The USA Gulf States Geotourism Program seeks to capture and promote the culture and heritage of this extraordinary region through the voices and stories of the people that live there. As a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in early 2010, and to support efforts to rekindle visitation to the region, this project will help to capture the warm and welcoming persona of the gulf coast through an informative National Geographic Society co-branded print map, online interactive map and app that presents the sites and stories of the region in the words of its’ residents.
Highlighting the Nature, Culture and Heritage of the USA Gulf Coast States
The National Geographic Society is working with local organizations, businesses and residents to map the best of the USA Gulf States. They invite you to recommend historic, cultural and natural landmarks; events, attractions and activities; businesses, plantations and trails; artists, artisans and storytellers as well as local legends that capture the region’s unique character, heritage and beauty. Using your recommendations, the National Geographic Society will produce a Geotourism website, interactive app and print MapGuide to promote travel to the region that celebrates and sustains what is most distinctive about the USA Gulf States—its scenic landscapes, vibrant local communities, rich biological and cultural diversity and captivating history.
Through this project the Natchez Trace Parkway wants your nominations on what is unique and authentic about the Parkway. Let’s look a little further.
What is Geotourism?
It’s tourism that sustains or enhances the geographic character of a place, its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. Geotourism encompasses a range of travel including culture and heritage, history, food, nature, the outdoors, water, music and arts.
What is the MapGuide?
The U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism Program will generate a web and print National Geographic Society co-branded map and app of the ‘Southern Crescent,’ of the U.S., offering destination information that identifies natural, cultural, and historic attractions that define the USA Gulf States. Information on these maps will be generated by the stories and nominations of local residents, who provide information for the MapGuide during the nomination period.
How will the website and MapGuide be developed?
One of the first steps in creating a MapGuide is convening the Geotourism Council of local residents and community leaders, historic preservationists and environmentalists, agricultural interests and business owners, artists and artisans to oversee the project. The USA Gulf States Geotourism Council will then sponsor public forums and presentations around the region to encourage community involvement in the program and nomination of sites and stories that make the region unique. During the nomination period, the Geotourism Council will collect nominations from local residents and visitors for the website, app and print MapGuide.
Nominations may include historic structures and archaeological sites, scenic landscapes and wildlife viewing areas, trails and outdoor recreation, local cuisine and culture, festivals and events, artists and water guides—the people and destinations that contribute to the unique beauty and diversity of the region.
How will this project benefit the USA Gulf State communities?
The Geotourism program seeks to promote and enhance the area’s natural, historic and cultural sites to domestic and international visitors who are seeking authentic travel experiences. The project will encourage sustainable economic development and promote long-term stewardship of the regions distinctive communities, businesses, working landscapes, and natural areas.
When and how can I nominate the Natchez Trace Parkway?
You can nominate now!
1. Go to the U.S. Gulf Coast Geotourism website
2. Click “Add Places”
3. Create an account and check the box “I would like to nominate places to the MapGuide”
4. Add a new nomination (you can find the Natchez Trace Parkway under the Outdoor Adventure – Scenic Drive section)
Click here to view easy directions on how to nominate. Please consider contributing a small amount of time to nominate the Natchez Trace Parkway stories for the map.
Whether you’re looking to give your input about the Parkway or gain insight into the characteristics that make this region unique, this program can benefit you. Thank you in advance for your nominations! We are looking forward to seeing the MapGuide and all of the exciting content it will provide.