Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Know Nebraska: Tourism Cares Voluntourism!

The Nebraska Tourism Commission has just announced their first two "Tourism Cares" voluntourism opportunities! This is a wonderful program, one that I have been trying to figure out how to do on my own for several years. I am so pleased that the state has taken this on as they have the systems in place to truly make it successful!

So what are the first two projects?

The first project will be the restoration of the historic Fort Robidoux Trading Post in Gering.  Volunteers will help restore the historic site by removing the chinking (material between wooden frames) and replacing it with a longer-lasting, historically sound material. “The Robidoux Trading Post sits at one of the most beautiful and historically significant sites in all of Nebraska,” explained Karla Niedan-Streeks, Gering Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director. “For anyone who volunteers on the project we can promise an amazing setting for their volunteer time, fun interaction with many local volunteers who were originally involved in the reconstruction of the Post, good food and an opportunity to be part of an effort that is a truly a community and statewide collaboration.” This service opportunity will take place during National Tourism Week, on May 6-7 (Friday & Saturday).

Robidoux Pass was a significant landmark on the Oregon Trail. In 1848, an Indian trader named Robidoux established a trading post near this natural landmark on the old Oregon Trail. In 1850, a shorter route was opened through Mitchell Pass, just south of the monument itself and much closer to the Platte River and eliminated the eight-mile swing south. This route fell into disuse after the opening of Mitchell Pass in 1851 and the buildings disappeared. The Robidoux Trading Post has been reconstructed based on archaeological evidence, as well as frequent accounts about it in traveler's diaries. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

The second Tourism Cares site in 2016 will be in Chadron, Neb., where volunteers will clear old railroad ties, build simple bridges, and do various other tasks along the Cowboy Trail in order prepare the trail the first 5 miles east of Chadron for further development. “This project will help increase awareness in our community and the entire state about the importance of the Cowboy Trail,” said Kristina Harter, Dawes County Tourism Director. “We are eager to pull on our gloves on and begin cleaning up debris and building bridges from Chadron going east. This is just the beginning of a big project, but we are confident that the end result will attract a substantial number of visitors that will come to enjoy it.” When completely finished, the Cowboy Trail will be the longest rails to trails system in the country. This service opportunity will take place June 10-11 (Friday & Saturday).

You can find out more information and access the downloadable volunteer application by clicking this link: Nebraska Tourism Commission - Tourism Cares.

We'll plan on taking our RV to at least one of these events, possibly both. I am so looking forward to this! Who's with me? Message me at nebraskaoutback@gmail.com or comment if you're interested. Or, just make you're own plans and we'll meet up at the event!

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