National Park Service
When the National Park Service (NPS) needed help generating extended news coverage and public awareness of its recently released Draft Preservation and Management Plan and Environmental Assessment — a roadmap for the future of the historic 524-mile Erie Canal — it turned to Rueckert Advertising & Public Relations.
Working under tight deadlines, we coordinated a kickoff press conference at the scenic Waterford Harbor Visitors’ Center, as well as developed a comprehensive press kit to more clearly educate the statewide media in attendance about the effect the 250-page Preservation & Management Plan could have on their hometowns.
We then got to work scheduling visits at major daily and weekly newspapers’ newsrooms along the Canalway Corridor. Attended by Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission staff members, these editorial board meetings provided an opportunity to explain the complexities of the draft plan and environmental consequences to reporters in greater depth.
Securing follow-on coverage during the plan’s 45-day public comment period was another important task, since eight public meetings had been scheduled across the state. We played a lead role not only publicizing the dates and times of these regional gatherings, but also coordinating extensive on-site media coverage that enabled reporters to localize the subtleties of the plan.
A GROUNDSWELL OF SUPPORT
The Federal agency was delighted with the project’s outcome. In just four weeks we secured 6.5 million earned impressions, which translated into one third of New York’s residents hearing about the draft plan at least once. Spurred into action by the countless news reports, hundreds of state residents also took the time to share their comments on the Preservation & Management Plan before the revised version went to the Secretary of the Interior and the Governor of New York for final signoff.