Corporations Could Soon Advertise in Our National Parks

The Grand Canyon, brought to you by Budweiser. Verizon signs throughout Yellowstone. The thought of advertising in our national parks is nauseating. But it could happen.

Earlier this month, the National Park Service released a proposed plan to begin aggressively seeking private sponsorship for park projects to make up for dwindling public funding. Park leaders would be encouraged to spend official time soliciting donations from individuals and corporations. Anything from sponsoring a bench to designing, building, and even operating a park building would be allowed.

The plan stirs up a fundamental debate about our public goods—what they are, who owns them, and how they should be managed.

On one side, private interests are vying to influence and control America’s untapped public space and resources. Like Coca-Cola, which in 2011 tried to halt a planned ban on the sale of plastic water bottles in Grand Canyon National Park. The company owns Dasani, the most popular U.S. brand of bottled water, and considered the ban a hit to their bottom line. The National Park Service’s new proposed plan would allow even more private influence on policies and decisions to protect our public resources.

On the other side, communities across the country are standing up to corporations that want to control and profit off of the things we own in common. Just last week, after an eight-year fight, a coalition of advocates in Oregon blocked the multi-national corporation Nestlé from bottling water from the Columbia River Gorge. Their unprecedented county ballot measure that bans all commercial water bottling passed by 69 percent and paves the way for other communities looking to protect public resources.

Our public parks and resources allow everyone—from working families to the wealthiest—to enjoy and experience nature and live healthy lives.

Things we hold in common—parks, public buildings, public resources—are a big part of what makes a society. They need protection and more public investment, not private influence.


Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.