Agreement to Preserve and Enhance Visitor Experience
Nebraska City, Neb. (September 23, 2014) – The Arbor Day Foundation and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have finalized a unique cooperative agreement for the Foundation to manage and operate Arbor Lodge State Historical Park.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will retain ownership of the park, which the Morton family gave to the state of Nebraska in 1923. The Foundation currently manages Lied Lodge and Arbor Day Farm, which are adjacent to the park. The change in management of Arbor Lodge State Historical Park will take effect on Nov. 1, 2014.
"We are tremendously excited to bring the same kind of guest service to Arbor Lodge State Historical Park that people enjoy today at Lied Lodge and Arbor Day Farm," said Matt Harris, Arbor Day Foundation chief executive.
"We are enthusiastic about this additional opportunity to use our expertise and experience in attracting guests and visitors to the region as we enhance Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and continue to position Nebraska City as a destination," Harris continued.
Nebraska Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas praised the Foundation for initiating the collaboration. "We were pleased when the Arbor Day Foundation reached out to collaborate on creating a unique cooperative agreement that enlisted the enthusiastic support of the Nebraska Legislature and the passionate community of Arbor Day supporters," Douglas said. "It is good to be working with the Arbor Day Foundation as an ideal partner with an established local community presence and resources in place to manage and enhance this tremendous national treasure."
Doug Farrar, Arbor Day Farm vice president, said the collaboration would result in more events and services offered at the park.
"We are delighted that this important part of Nebraska's heritage will be maintained for years to come, and grateful for the passionate community members who helped to achieve this truly unique cooperative agreement," said Farrar. "We look forward to building upon Arbor Lodge State Historical Park by continuing the existing traditions, increasing offerings, and uncovering new and improved uses that showcase this one-of-a-kind facility," he continued.
Arbor Lodge State Historical Park will continue to offer weddings, family reunions, special events and educational tours of the historic home and surrounding arboretum.
Tammy Partsch, president, The Friends of Arbor Lodge Foundation in Nebraska City, called the collaboration an "exciting opportunity for the community." Partsch explained, "Many parties stepped up to preserve this historical treasure for future generations. The wonderful heritage that is Arbor Lodge State Historical Park will now be preserved and enhanced for the enjoyment and enrichment of our children and grandchildren."
Arbor Lodge State Historical Park was the home of J. Sterling Morton, Arbor Day founder, and was named a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1975. Game and Parks soon will begin making $1.5 million in improvements to the property. That figure is part of $17 million allocated by the Legislature for improvements across the Nebraska State Park system. Arbor Lodge State Historical Park will remain open to the public.
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation, founded in 1972 on the centennial of the first Arbor Day, is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information about the Foundation and its programs is available at arborday.org.
About the Nebraska Game and Parks: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is responsible for stewardship of the state's fish, wildlife, parks, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Game and Parks manages resources in a diverse environment and encourages the continuation of the state's outdoor heritage through active participation. To learn more, visit OutdoorNebraska.org.