Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)
On this episode of the Bourbon Friday Show we had the opportunity to talk with Vice President of Communications & Marketing at Forest Park Forever, Stephen Schenkenberg, about the importance of Forest Park to the St. Louis region and how they help preserve it.
From Revitalizing to Thriving
There’s no doubt that Forest Park is a beloved St. Louis icon. Within its 1,300 acres lies numerous attractions from the Art Museum, Zoo, and History Museum, to the Science Center, and the Muny. In addition to those attractions there’s also plenty of space for recreation with fields for athletic activities, public golf courses, nature reserves, and running trails. It’s a gem that many people in the area couldn’t bear to live without.
However, as many long-time St. Louis residents will remember, the park wasn’t always as spectacular as it is today.
According to Schenkenberg, Forest Park was in a state of decline during the ’70s and ’80s. Fortunately, Forest Park Forever was founded in 1986 to remedy the disrepair and bring the Park back from the brink of desolation.
Forest Park Forever is a private nonprofit conservancy that partners with the City of St. Louis to take care of Forest Park. Today their mission is quite different than when they began.
Thanks to many investments in the late 90’s, Forest Park seemed to be well on its way back to revitalization. Nonetheless, to create lasting change, the organization needed to change in their point of view, said Schenkenber, “The only thing “We [Forest Park Forever] really needed to shift our mission from just helping to comeback to helping care for it forever.”
From then on it was all onward and upward.
In fact, over the past 12 months alone, the park has taken on a number of improvement projects such as connecting the waterways on the east side, restoring athletic fields and transforming the upper Muny parking lot into an event space. All these improvements to make the park even more inviting to over 13 million annual visitors, have been done thanks to the funds raised by Forest Park Forever.
Forest Park Forever has put together a photo book for purchase with the funds directly supporting Park restoration and maintenance.
If you would like to donate to the park, there are several ways to do so. To make a one time donation you can go to https://www.forestparkforever.org/love.
From there you can make a donation or find out more information about becoming a member. Sharing your Park experience on social media and engaging in volunteer efforts are always appreciated. If interested, you can sign up to volunteer at www.forestparkforever.org/volunteer.
As always, the Bourbon Friday team does their best to choose a fitting drink for the occasion.
The bottle this week was Yellowstone Select Bourbon. This bottle is special because despite being named after Yellowstone National Park, it’s still made in Kentucky, but $1 of every bottle sold is donated to the National Parks Conservation Association to help protect America’s great national parks.