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There’s a Movement to Create Driftless National Park in Minnesota

Plus MinnPost thanks Obama, George Floyd memorials, and grocery worker protests in today's Flyover news roundup.

Driftless National Park & Preserve Initiative |


Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

SE Minnesota's Best Idea?

Minnesota's only National Park, Voyageurs, is a gorgeous, lake-dominated swath of federally protected land abutting the U.S.-Canada border. It's also incredibly unpopular, due mostly to its boat-dependent exploration options. Only 13 of the country's 63 National Parks receive fewer annual visitors than Voyageurs, Forbes reports; Isle Royale National Park, technically in the Michigan waters of Lake Superior, is the fifth least-visited. So how about we create a new park, one that's just two hours outside of the Twin Cities? That's the idea behind the Driftless National Park & Preserve Initiative, a group that hopes to acquire as many as 235,041 acres of land in the bluffy, beautiful Driftless region of southeast Minnesota and protect 'em for future generations. Total cost: Around $700 million, though that could all be recouped via "billions" in tourism revenue, according to the initiative's extremely detailed proposal.

"There’ve been other past proposals for a Driftless National Park, so for the past couple of years it was ruminating in the back of my mind," says Sean Macaday, a meteorologist with Rochester TV station KIMT and the proposed park's chief organizer. "I decided I needed to give this a real shot." Inspired by the preservationist message of Erosion by Terry Tempest Williams, Macaday began meeting with stakeholder organizations in earnest late last year. "The napkin math was amazing," he says. "The park could pay itself off within a few years in terms of economic output." Macaday stresses that the park plan is "not a land grab," noting that the nature preserve acreage could accommodate hunters and farmers; some sustainable farming may even work inside the park, he says, citing a program used at Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Macaday urges supporters to sign this Driftless National Park petition; check out his Twitter thread below for a great overview of how to make this park pipe dream a reality.

What’s It Like When a President Shares a Link to Your Story?

You might think your website is under attack! At least that's what Greta Kaul, the associate editor of MinnPost, initially suspected after the 44th president of the United States linked to her website's story in a tweet shouting out Minnesota's super-productive, allegedly "bonkers" DFL-led legislative session.

"On a couple occasions, we've seen a big jump in traffic due to bots on our site,” Kaul says. “When I saw our pageviews up by roughly 20-30 times what I would expect at that time of day, I thought that might be what it was. It was not."

Remembering George Floyd, Three Years Later

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, and while there’s so much more to do to prevent recurrences of that brutal public slaying, it might seem that there’s not much left to say. Still, there was notable local media coverage related worth mentioning. In the Strib, Zoë Jackson and Louis Krauss spent time at George Floyd Square yesterday and spoke with some of the people arriving from out of state, including a California high school class. For The Current, Marla Khan-Schwartz looked at how Floyd can be remembered through music, speaking with his former partner Courteney Ross as well as Brass Solidarity, who play weekly at George Floyd Square. At MinnPost, Jim Walsh spoke to KingDemetrius Pendleton, the independent photographer who has documented the square for the past three years, and whose photos are currently on display there. And let's not forget this 13-minute video from Unicorn Riot documenting the violent police response to protestors. Memorial events at George Floyd Square will continue through his weekend, including the Rise and Remember Festival tomorrow.

Grocery Solidarity

Remember the contentious contract fight that almost resulted in Cub Foods workers going on strike? The same union that represents those workers, UFCW Local 663, is now going to bat for its members who work at the metro's two fanciest supermarkets—Lunds & Byerlys and Kowalski’s Markets. At issue: Those grocery companies "trying to take away our say in our own healthcare plan," according to this petition. L&B workers in Eagan and Golden Valley staged informational picket lines yesterday and today, telling the bosses "HANDS OFF OUR HEALTH CARE." "At Lunds & Byerlys, the culture has always been about respect and hospitality," deli manager Jayson Gallager said outside of his downtown shop Thursday. "And through these negotiations, we're definitely not seeing that... they're definitely not listening to us." Adds Keith Farr, meat cutter at the Bloomington location: "We've been on the frontlines from the beginning of the pandemic—I shouldn't have to beg for a raise." Give 'em a pro-labor thumbs up while you're buying your Memorial Day hot dogs.

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