(Submitted) The Waste Management Symposium is an annual event that hosts more than 2000 waste management professionals, engineers, entrepreneurs, and academics from all over the world. This year, they added one new participant – The Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park (abbreviated MAPR by the National Park Service) tells of the history, science, sociology, and politics associated with the production of the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II. It is a unique national park for two reasons: first, it is a partnership between two government agencies, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service. MAPR is also the only park separated among three geographically diverse cites – Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico and Hanford (Tri-cities), Washington.
Destination marketing professionals from each of the MAPR cities traveled to the WM Symposium this year to promote and advertise the new national park. Explore Oak Ridge was on hand to share Oak Ridge’s story with Symposium attendees. “The symposium was a great success. We set up an attractive booth in the tradeshow portion of the event that brought in hundreds of people,” Marc DeRose, President of Explore Oak Ridge, explained. “It was encouraging to see how many people were interested in the park and considering that many of the symposium participants routinely travel to Oak Ridge, I think we’ll soon see an uptick in park visitors.”
In addition to the exhibit, Amy Fitzgerald, Government Affairs and Information Services Director for the City of Oak Ridge, served as a panelist on the session Engaging the Public through Interpretation at Legacy Sites. “Our panel focused on how to encourage public visitation through historical interpretation and educational opportunities at DOE sites,” Dr. Fitzgerald said. “There is a great deal of interest in our National Park, and I believe we are on the right track with the partnerships we have developed at the local and national levels.”
These types of promotional efforts by Explore Oak Ridge and the other MAPR site destination marketing organizations represents the beginning of a partnership among MAPR cities to promote the Manhattan Project National Historical Park on a national scale. “The partnership is aimed at drawing more visitors to Oak Ridge to experience the park and learn about our history. It also provides visitors with education on how Oak Ridge has evolved in the 70-plus years since the Manhattan Project” DeRose said. “Last year, visitors to Oak Ridge spent over $11 million just in our hotels. They also ate, shopped and paid for entertainment. Visitors truly represent a great way for the city to generate tax revenue without having to raise local tax rates on its citizens.”
Explore Oak Ridge, along with its colleagues in Hanford and Los Alamos as well as with its partners at the City of Oak Ridge, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Park Service, will continue to promote MAPR on a regional and national scale to increase awareness of our unique history and attract more visitors to the MAPR communities. More information on MAPR and Explore Oak Ridge can be found at www.ExploreOakRidge.com.