March 5th, 2012

Should Corporations Bankroll National Parks?

By Kate Sheppard
Mother Jones

I love national parks—from the regal slopes of Yellowstone to the mind-bending vastness of the Grand Canyon. Like everyone else, I go to parks to get away from the bells and whistles of everyday life. So I can completely understand why a lot of people are creeped out by the mere prospect of private companies playing a role in the National Park Service.

And yet, our parks are strapped for cash. A few bucks from a big business could go a long way toward better trails, nicer facilities, and more ranger programs. So should companies fund the parks, or are these natural spaces best left free of corporate interference? The question has been debated over the years, with flare-ups around the time the Bush administration attempted to privatize parts of the park service back in 2003 and last fall when there was concern that Coca-Cola had interfered in a plan to stop selling disposable plastic water bottles in the parks.

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