Business parks: Feds sell naming rights to iconic public lands

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Thanks, HCN! Here’s the link. My favorite is the last sentence..

Citing budgetary shortfalls, federal agencies announced Wednesday that they had auctioned off naming rights to over 100 million acres of public lands, effective immediately.

In a joint press release, the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service said that hundreds of iconic parcels will now bear the monikers of major corporations. “We’re pleased to collaborate with our private partners in stewarding our nation’s public lands,” states the release. “It gives us great pleasure to know that future generations of Americans will be able to raft down the Grand PepsiCo Canyon, hike across the Anheuser-Busch Badlands, and gaze upon the transcendent peaks of North Cascades Presented by Citibank.”
A photo illustration shows the Nike swoosh engraved on Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.
Photo Illustration by Brooke Warren, Photo by Daniel Parks/CC Flickr

The naming rights sale comes on the heels of fiscal struggles for federal land agencies. The National Park Service’s budget has been cut by $190 million compared to four years ago, and its maintenance backlog has ballooned to over $11 billion. Meanwhile, the Forest Service’s backlog is almost $5 billion, and over 40 percent of the agency’s budget goes toward fighting increasingly frequent and intense wildfires, leaving little money for other purposes.

“Our budgetary situation is approaching a state of crisis,” said Forest Service spokesman Alice Offerman. “Which is why we’re so excited about Valero Valles Caldera and Kinder Morgan Kootenai.” Adds the release: “This new source of revenue will allow us to undertake essential management activities such as trails maintenance, scientific research, and the purchase of military-grade weapons for standoffs with heavily armed Bundy acolytes.”

Not only did corporations purchase naming rights to entire tracts of land, they were also able to buy rights to individual landscape features. In Utah, the graceful curve of weathered sandstone that adorns state license plates will hereafter be known as McDonald’s Delicate Golden Arch. Further north, tourists in America’s first national park will be treated to the reliable eruptions of the Levitra Old Faithful geyser.

Ben Goldfarb April 1, 2015 Web Exclusive

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