Skip to navigationSkip to content
BRAND CANYON

“Old Faithful, brought to you by Viagra”—The US park service is seeking corporate sponsors

AP Photo/Mike Stewart
Mount Rushmore, Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota.
  • Jake Flanagin
By Jake Flanagin

Reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The United States National Park Service has long relied almost entirely on federal funding and philanthropic donations. But as it celebrates its 100th year, NPS is publicly recognizing corporate donations for the first time. Gifts of a certain size will receive tokens of “unobtrusive recognition” in exchange, according to The Washington Post.

Critics say the move will open the door for tacky product placements that will mar the natural beauty of the parks.

“You could use Old Faithful to pitch Viagra,” Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), told the Post. “Or the Lincoln Memorial to plug hemorrhoid cream. Or Victoria’s Secret to plug the Statue of Liberty.”

Some other options:

  • Arches National Park, brought to you by Dr. Scholl’s®
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, brought to you by Jimmy Dean® sausages
  • Everglades National Park, brought to you by Glade PlugIns®
  • Yosemite National Park, brought to you by Yosemite Sam’s Gold River Adventure at Six Flags®
  • National Bison Range, brought to you by Buffalo Wild Wings®

The expanded donor rules will take effect by the end of 2016. Logos will get “prominent display,” according to the Post, and companies will be able to earmark donations for specific recurring park expenses.

This isn’t the first time that corporate park sponsorship has raised hackles: In 2011, Grand Canyon park officials were nearing the final stages of securing a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles on the premises when NPS director Jon Jarvis blocked the plan after consulting with Coca-Cola, which owns Dasani Purified Water and is a major donor to the National Parks Foundation. (The ban eventually went into effect.)

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.

Popular stories