New Hampshire is Latest to Weigh State Parks Sponsorship
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
New Hampshire may soon join the list of states with corporate sponsorship for its state parks.
The Associated Press reported this weekend that the state is exploring a deal with Eastern Mountain Sports, the New Hampshire-based outdoor clothing and apparel maker, that could result in state park employees wearing the firm's logo on their uniforms.
"The details are still being worked out in New Hampshire, but the intent is to have Eastern Mountain Sports promote state parks in its outdoor clothing and apparel stores in exchange for having state parks promote the company's products," the AP said. "That could mean park uniforms featuring the Mountain Sports logo, the company's name arranged in the shape of a mountain range."
The discussion in New Hampshire follows a recent agreement in Georgia under which Verizon Wireless is providing state parks with some much-needed funding and, in exchange, the state is promoting the firm in publicity materials and on its website, getting the Verizon name out to those who camp, fish and hike. As Stateline reported earlier this month , there may not be cell phone service at some of Georgia's state parks, but that isn't preventing Verizon from seeing the deal as advantageous.
It's part of a growing trend of commercialization at state parks — which, like many other areas of state government, are suffering from a lack of money. While state parks have traditionally resisted commercialization, "a growing number of states are trying out or considering corporate sponsorship or exclusive distribution deals as a way to help close budget gaps," Stateline 's Melissa Maynard reported.
Maine and Virginia are among the other states that have sought to prop up their state parks budget with the help of the private sector.