A Coca-Cola Visitor Center will still be off-limits, but an auditorium at Yosemite National Park named after Coke will now be permitted. Naming rights to roads are not up for grabs, but visitors could tour Bryce Canyon in a bus wrapped in the Michelin Man.
And park goers could sit on a bench named for Humana health insurance — and store their food in a bear-proof locker emblazoned with the Nike swoosh.
The national park system, created a century ago to preserve the country’s natural treasures for the public, has long been a bulwark against commercialization.
But as it jockeys for donors in a more competitive environment than ever, the National Park Service is starting to tread a delicate path, making aggressive corporate appeals without giving the impression that it’s selling public spaces to the highest bidder.
Parks have long relied on philanthropy to pay for improvements, interpretive programs, trail renovations and other projects left uncovered by their operating or capital budgets. Donors got unobtrusive recognition in return — maybe a small plaque near a trail thanking them for their generosity.
But now Director Jonathan Jarvis wants to swing open the gates of the 411 national parks, monuments and conservation areas to an unprecedented level of corporate donations, broadening who can raise money, what that money will be raised for and what the government will give corporate America in return.
Furthermore. . .
USA Today - Anheuser-Busch announced that the company is replacing the Budweiser logo with “America” on its 12-oz. cans and bottles this summer. The
cans of patriotic nectar will be available May 23 through the November
election and aim “to inspire drinkers to celebrate America and
Budweiser's shared values of freedom and authenticity.”
PS: Anheuser-Bush is a Belgian owned corporation.