Target: Jonathan Jarvis, National Park Service Director
Goal: Protect our national parks from aggressive corporate advertising.
The National Park Service Director has decided to allow increased corporate advertising in our national parks. Donor corporations will now be permitted to exhibit logos, obtain naming rights, provide for reoccurring parks expenses, and even operate buildings within national parks. The purpose of our national parks is to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein,” not to deface that scenery with corporate advertising.
Not all donor corporations have the parks’ best interests at heart and allowing them more control over park revenue could give them more control over park policy. For example, five years ago, Director Jonathan Jarvis wanted to prohibit selling bottled water in national parks but was delayed in doing so by Coke, which owned Dasani Water and was an important park donor. Coke put its corporate interests ahead of the interests of the national parks that it professed to serve.
In addition, not all companies looking to donate are good corporate citizens. Last year a marketing partner of the national parks, Budweiser, put out the slogan: “The Perfect Beer For Removing ‘No’ From Your Vocabulary For The Night.” This slogan promotes sexual assault and our national parks should not be associated with a corporation that uses it.
The increase in corporate partnerships in our national parks is due to a shortage of funds. Currently, the parks have $11 billion of postponed maintenance projects. However, corporate sponsorship is not the best way to obtain this money. Alternatives include raising entrance fees and urging congress to increase the parks’ budget. National parks have been without advertising since Teddy Roosevelt. Tell Director Jarvis they should stay that way.
Dear Mr. Jarvis,
Increased corporate advertising in the national parks system must end. It compromises the park service mission to conserve the scenery of the lands it supervises. People visiting our national parks should see the natural wonders they hold, not the Budweiser logo.
In addition, not all corporations that the parks system has worked with have kept in mind the best interests of the parks. Not long ago, Coke successfully stalled the ban on selling bottled water in national parks in order to promote its subsidiary Dasani. Coke cared more for the money it would make selling Dasani than for the money the parks would save on recycling expenses if bottled water was banned.
I understand that the parks system is badly in need of funding, but corporate partnerships are not the way to get it. Corporations should not be able to influence park policy through advertising dollars. Change your stance on corporate advertising and preserve the mission of the park service.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sam Lao