Scenic Great River Road along the Mississippi River
Semi-Annual Meeting of the Great River Road | April 14, 2021 | 9AM-12:15
PHOTO BY Travel Wisconsin

The All-American Advantages of the Great River Road

The Great River Road adds All-American Road status to its accolades as a travel destination. But how do Interpretive Centers, tourist organizations, and communities take advantage of this premier designation from the Federal Highway Administration? It starts with the historic and cultural significance of the Mississippi River and incorporates the natural and wildlife resources of the river as well. Join the Mississippi River Parkway Commission on Wednesday, April 14, for a morning of perspectives, expertise and experience that will help you and your organization take advantage of this new opportunity.

The sessions are free and open to Great River Road Interpretive Centers, convention and visitors bureaus, state departments of natural resources, environmental protection groups and other organizations.

Meeting schedule – April 14, 2021  (all times Central)

  • 9-9:10am: Welcome and meeting overview
  • 9:10-10:25am: Session 1: Uncovering the All-American Advantages of the Great River Road
  • 10:30am-11:45am: Session 2: The Mississippi Flyway and its All-American Significance
  • 11:45am-12:10pm: All-American Road Celebration

Session 1: Uncovering the All-American Advantages of the Great River Road (9:10-10:25am)

The Great River Road is now an All-American Road! That means greater expectations from travelers and greater opportunities for the cities and towns—and their interpretive centers and visitor organizations—as they promote and provide for increased travel. No other All-American Road is so tied to the American narrative with the cultural, historic and natural stories that reside along its routes and in its communities. Janet Kennedy, executive director of New York’s Lakes to Locks Passage All-American Road, will share how they’ve marketed their byway to benefit their byway communities. Sharon Strouse, executive director of the National Scenic Byways Foundation, will share the economic impact data of byway distinctions.

Session 1 Resources:


Session 2: The Mississippi Flyway and its All-American Significance (10:30-11:45am)

MRPC’s Environment, Recreation and Agriculture (ERA) Committee Chair will take the virtual stage next to showcase the All-American significance of the Mississippi Flyway and wildlife refuges as well as other conservation lands along the Great River Road. She will be joined by Aaron Yetter, facility manager at the Stephen Forbes Center at the University of Illinois, who will outline the importance of the Flyway to over 40 percent of North America’s birds and will include the history of waterfowling along the Flyway. Hallie Rasmussen, Visitor Services Manager at the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, will highlight “Finding Refuge along the Great River Road.” Sabrina Chandler, ERA Co-Chair and Refuge Supervisor, will bring it all home with the economic benefits of refuges to tourism, agriculture and communities. 

All-American Road Celebration (11:45am-12:10pm)

We’ll celebrate the Great River Road’s new certification and recognize the hard work of the people who made it possible. We’ll also take a look at the cultural, historic and scenic assets in each state that exemplify the character of an All-American Road.

About the Great River Road

Created in 1938 and stretching for 3,000 miles through and beside 10 states, the Great River Road National Scenic Byway is the longest such designated roadway and one of the oldest. The Mississippi River Parkway Commission is a nonprofit organization founded to preserve and improve the natural resources, cultural heritage, economic viability, scenic quality, recreational amenities and other features significant to the Mississippi River Valley. For more information visit experiencemississippiriver.com.