The Year Of

  • In 2011 MRCC decided to celebrate the variety of ways people recreate on and along the Mississippi River by focusing on a yearly theme. “The Year Of” program kicked off in 2012 with the Summer of Paddling, a series of paddling events designed to get Americans connected to the Mississippi River. The program was a success, and has continued every year since.

    Year of Birding 2016

    Celebrate birds and bird conservation this year with the Year of Birding 2016. Beginner and experienced bird watchers are invited to attend bird watching and educational events to see and learn about the more than 300 species of birds that live along the mighty river throughout the year. Click below to learn about holding an event or click “View Events” to be directed to the International Migratory Bird Day website where our events will be listed this year.

    Resources are available to help you host an event in your Mississippi River community.


  • Year of Fishing 2015

    The Year of Fishing 2015 (YOF2015) was an exciting year for the Mississippi River Connections Collaborative (MRCC). State and federal agencies partnered with local communities along the length of the Mississippi River to
    connect people with the outdoors. National wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries, conservation education centers, state parks, and other facilities opened their doors to share fishing opportunities with the public. YOF2015 events included presentations on fish identification, water safety, and fishing techniques. Youth fishing events provided families opportunities to apply their new knowledge and create lasting memories in the outdoors.

  • Year of Geotourism 2014

    Geotourism is tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place– its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

    During 2014, the Mississippi River Connections Collaborative (MRCC) worked extensively with organizations and communities along the Mississippi to introduce a National Geographic Geotourism Program. More than 50 Mississippi River mayors provided letters of support for the initiative, as well as, two National Park Service Regional Directors, and one US Fish and Wildlife Regional Director. The Mississippi River Parkway Commission joined MRCC in 2014 to play a key role in supporting and implementing the project.

    The Mississippi River Geotourism project officially begins November 4, 2014, with planning and organizational meetings. After January 1 2015, data collection will begin. The program seeks to:

      Brand the Mississippi River Corridor of the United States as a clean, safe, and unique world class destination.
      Connect major Mississippi River Corridor attractions and destinations with additional travel opportunities, especially inland.
      Foster the growth of trails or circuits focusing on cohesive themes such as nature, recreation, history, arts, cultural heritage, agriculture, urban and town life.
      Provide a mechanism for regional and state tourism businesses and authorities to better manage challenges and cooperate on initiatives.
      Raise awareness of the strong cultural heritage, advanced infrastructure, educated population, and unique experiences along the riverine and related destinations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi.
      Catalyze local participation in tourism planning and growth.
      Assist local residents to learn about their natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources.

  • Year of Cycling 2013

    The second Year Of campaign was the Year of Cycling 2013. These cycling events allowed participants to explore one of the longest bicycling trails in the United States, the Mississippi River Trail. This 3,000 mile trail follows a national treasure, the Mississippi River. Various themes were incorporated into events from cycling as an alternative transportation opportunity in communities, bird watching by bike, visiting iconic historical sites along the Mississippi River Trail and social events such as Cycling and Coffee. Hundreds of events highlighted the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana.

  • Summer of Paddling 2012

    The Summer of Paddling 2012 (SOP2012) kicked off the series of “Year Of” outdoor recreation events on the Mississippi River to encourage people to go to the river for recreation. SOP2012 taught participants how to safely paddle the Mississippi River by canoe and kayak. More than 300 events were held from Minnesota to Louisiana, reaching 17,700 paddlers! Both experienced and beginner paddlers were invited to attend events hosted by MRCC partners from each of the ten states touching the Mississippi River. We even had mascots from the Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service and St. Louis Cardinals paddle a canoe together.

    For a summary of the Summer of Paddling 2012 events, you can view/download the SOP2012 Highlights PDF.

      SOP2012 Highlights PDF