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Shenandoah National Park hosts regional conference

Shenandoah National Park and its neighboring communities will host a one-day conference, Connecting for Prosperity – Charting the Future Together, on May 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at James Madison University in Harrisonburg.

The workshop-style conference will include presentations by guest panelists, case studies, and facilitated discussions to help identify the region’s shared goals and to build an awareness of the economic potential for the area.

“The 75th Anniversary celebration in 2011 was an exciting year for the park and surrounding communities.  We experienced enhanced relationships and communication among the park, our surrounding communities, and partners as a result of the celebration,” said Superintendent Martha Bogle.  “Our goal with the conference is to continue this momentum and to begin discussions about the next 75 years.”

The keynote address at the conference will be presented by Catharine Gilliam, founder of Community Collaboration, LLC.  Ms. Gilliam has extensive experience with national nonprofit organizations and has served as a consultant on many Gateway Community projects to build partnerships between communities and their national park neighbors.

Guest panelists will open the conference by presenting case studies on the relationship between public lands and local communities.  Ms. Gilliam will give her keynote address after lunch, followed by roundtable discussions. In 2010, visitors to Shenandoah National Park spent more than $71 million in the local communities and the park, supporting 1,087 jobs.  There is no doubt that the future of the park and region is intertwined.

The conference is free and open to the public. Registration for the conference is online at and must be completed by May 18.  For more information on the conference, call 540-999-3500.

augusta free press
augusta free press