Monday, March 06, 2006

For Sale

In this month's issue of Backpacker Magazine, the column "The Big Question" asks, "Should the National Park Service sell naming rights to theaters, benches, and other park property?"

The results of the poll has 73% answering no, and I am right along with them. It was about five years ago that many of the big sports stadiums, arenas, and music venues began to allow corporate sponsorship to a much larger degree. Now people see concerts and sporting events in places called Alltel Arena, Busch Stadium, or PNC Park. It makes me sad that sponsorship has reached this level because it seems to steal away some of the history and spirit inside such places.

It is depressing to think that I might one day be camping at Sprite National Park. And what happens if a place goes bankrupt, does the name of a park or stadium just keep changing? Does a national park become part of a trend? I realize that right now the discussion is only regarding benches and theaters, but it's really only a matter of time. Maybe I'm a little pessimistic because I just finished watching the PBS Documentary The Merchants of Cool. Or am I just realistic?

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