Recent comments

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   3 weeks 2 hours ago

    "the perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.” You find that a ridiculous accusation? Seriously? It so blatantly encourages rape and drunk driving. Those are not serious issues to you? What are? Denying climate change? Giving kids assault weapons? Tax breaks for polluters? You are truly unbelievable and breathtakingly clueless.

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   3 weeks 2 hours ago

    "The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.”

    Removing "no" from too many individual's vocabulary is, of course, at the root of many problems today, and that includes doing something stupid during a park trip due to the influence of alcohol. It's always sad to read about a serious incident or death in a park, when the commentary includes the words, "alcohol was believed to be a factor..."

    Perhaps AB needs to modify their "drink responsibly" pitch to "advertise responsibly."

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   3 weeks 3 hours ago

    Speaking as a former nurse who has had to care for rape victims, I don't find calling an alcohol campaign that promises to ignore no to be 'encouraging a culture of rape' to be a 'rediculous' [sic] 'aqusation' [sic].

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   3 weeks 5 hours ago

    "A risqué Bud Light campaign that critics said encouraged a culture of rape "

    It is hard for me to get past rediculous aqusations like this and while it may serve the purpose of getting a headline, it distracts from the real issues and for me greatly diminishes any arguments used after that.

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   3 weeks 5 hours ago

    As long as we keep electing representatives that would rather spend money on wars than parks, the park service is going to have to continue to accept grants wherever they can get them.

    I serously doubt that anyone is going to skip going to a National Park over this. There may be a bunch of yelling and screeming and appoligies from AB but in the end it probably won't affect the park much and certainly won't affect it as much as turning down the money would.

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   3 weeks 6 hours ago

    Thank you for your reporting Traveler and thank you Lee, I could not agree more. I attended a function where the issue of the Bud advertising slogan on this National Park F a oundation campaign was raised, very negative reaction to it. "PEER" laid it out very well.

  • Traveler Experiences Technical Meltdown   3 weeks 7 hours ago
    Welcome back.
  • High Cost Of Replacing Grand Canyon Water Line -- $100-$150 Million -- Means It's Done Piecemeal   3 weeks 7 hours ago

    And if the big proposed mega-development at Tusayan is allowed to proceed, this pipeline will become even more vital to the park.

  • Provocative Bud Light Campaign Doesn't Concern National Park Service, National Park Foundation   3 weeks 7 hours ago

    I'm afraid we are already sliding rapidly down that infamous slippery slope of lubricated money. When dollars take priority over other values, we all lose.

    Removing "NO" from the vocabulary for the night doesn't only include rape. There's drunk driving among just a few thousand other possible bits of alcohol enhanced stupidity.

    But of course, none of this will influence the National Park Foundation where one of their directors is a bigwig in the AB beverage business.

    That's why I believe the National Parks Conservation Association is the best choice of major NPS partners and why all of my financial support goes to them. How about others among us contacting NPF with some loud objections? If they receive enough backlash, they might reconsider. (But based on past experiences, I doubt it.)

  • Traveler Experiences Technical Meltdown   3 weeks 17 hours ago

    Ahh the wonderful and sometimes frustrating world of webdev.

  • Traveler Experiences Technical Meltdown   3 weeks 18 hours ago

    Kurt, I think we'll all survive. Might be hard, but we can probably make it.

    Thanks for all you and your crew do.

  • Traveler Experiences Technical Meltdown   3 weeks 19 hours ago

    Thank you Traveler, thanks for all the good work.

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 22 hours ago

    Budweiser has been losing market share to Keystone Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon because so many of the young Park beer drinkers drink those brands. So it makes good sense for Budweiser to try to recover some market share and sponsor the NP. The NPS may be encouraging drinking because the drunks are too hungover to hike much or do anything but sleep it off and leave less human footprints. The NPS is for anything to lower those awful human footprints.

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Thank you, Rob. I'll look up Professor Scott's article. Meanwhile, some excellent points above. I think we're all starting to get to the heart of the matter--commercializing the national parks is a slippery slope. In 1931, Coca Cola did a major series of ads on the national parks, one of which I frequently show in my lectures. It depicts a family of bears in front of Old Faithful Inn, swigging a bottle of Coke, and reads: "ANOTHER OLD FAITHFUL, THE PAUSE THAT REFRESHES, WITH ICE COLD COCA COLA. Of the hundreds of thousands who every season pour through the Yellowstone National Park, everybody stops to see Old Faithful Geyser. . . Of course Coca Cola is there." In the illustration, which is a painting, Old Faithful Geyser is in fact erupting, only "everybody" is eyeing the bears.

    It is not a new adveretising strategy, nor is it a new problem. In the parks, we bring our culture with us. Just as Nike wants its symbol on Tiger Woods's shoulder, companies want us to "associate" them with the "best" of America.

    It is then up to the Park Service to draw the proper lines. In that regard, this is undoubtedly one of the most important articles The Traveler has ever published. After all, who else is reporting these issues? Years ago, when Joe Camel ads were appearing outside of American high schools, THE NEW YORK TIMES called it "free speech." I wrote a letter to the editor (which they published) calling it coercion, in that young people were being "targeted" by those ads. When we are being coerced--as in forced to look--I say that no product belongs in the parks. Lady Bird Johnson was right. We should leave ALL of our advertising "at home."

  • Forest Service Opens Scoping Period For Development On South Rim Of Grand Canyon   3 weeks 2 days ago

    I'm going to post this comment in an attempt to draw attention to what I think is an extreme threat to an American treasure. Arguing about beer logos seems to be diverting us from what could be an even more critical issue.

    What can be done to stop this?

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 2 days ago

    Thank you Alfred, but it is not just the NPS, it is a mindset well established in our nations political leadership and their faith in the economic theories of Hydak, Freidman, Greenspan, others, in my own perhaps uniformed opinion. Off subject, but related to one of your earlier posts, the latest issue of the Nation magazine has a very thought provoking article, "The New Thought Police" by Joan W. Scott, professor emerita at CUNY. It makes the point you have made about "why campus administrators are invoking civility to silence critical speech" (political correctness), I thought of some of your earlier comments while reading the article.

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 2 days ago

    The beer industry's ads have done a masterful job convincing plenty of Americans that a beer in the hand is a necessary adjunct to fully enjoy a sporting event or a day at the beach. Wouldn't they love the chance to create that same nexus in the minds of a "new generation of beer drinkers" as it relates to watching a sunset at the Grand Canyon or viewing the water rushing over Yosemite Falls?

    I'd offer an opinion that the number of Americans who see the Statue of Liberty (either pictured on a bottle of beer or as the backdrop for a mega concert) and make a mental connection to the NPS is smaller than some believe (or hope), so my concern with ads like the one pictured is mainly one of principle - that this program is merely a first step in the industry's desire to eliminate all NPS limits on direct connections with their products.

    We might joke about a day when a company can buy the rights to a slogan like "The official beer of the Blue Ridge Parkway"...but maybe that's not so far-fetched after all.

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 2 days ago

    If you truly want to support the parks, then you should be content to do so without expections in return.

    That doesn't work for corporations. Its not their money to just give away. Investors have given the corporatons money with the purposes of making money to return to the shareholders. If a "charitable" contribution provides a return then it is worthwhile in the same way advertising is. If the corporation doesn't expect a return, it shouldn't make the expenditure. Instead, it should return the monies to the shareholders and let them make the decision to give.

    Sure, you can buy full page ads in USA Today to congratulate yourself for giving $2.5 million to the parks, but your logo does not belong in the parks themselves,

    I could agree with you on that.

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I think that drawing fine distinctions about what products are appropriate or inappropriate for sponsorship is a rabbit hole worth avoiding. Alcohol and tobacco are prohibited, but (theoretically) pharmaceuticals and fast food chains are OK? We'd need a phone book sized document to spell out what's "appropriate" and what isn't. Many people (including the Director, apparently) would feel that beer isn't all that bad as a sponsor. Others obviously disagree.

    Better to address the issue of sponsorships in general. Anyone can give money to the National Park Service; the question is, at what level of contribution can you expect a quid pro quo? Does $2.5 million place your logo next to the arrowhead? Does $25 get you a tote bag? This is why we have partners like the National Park Foundation. They can do the important business of raising money and "sponsorships," while keeping the corporate logos and perks out of the parks themselves. If you truly want to support the parks, then you should be content to do so without expections in return. Sure, you can buy full page ads in USA Today to congratulate yourself for giving $2.5 million to the parks, but your logo does not belong in the parks themselves, nor should the NPS Arrowhead appear alongside your logo as tacit endorsement, whether you're a beer company or selling solar panels.

    As for the concerts in the parks, my question is this: did Statue of Liberty and Golden Gate decide that concerts were a good use of resources, then go looking for sponsors? Or were the concerts Anhauser Busch's idea? I'd have no problem with the former, so long as the sponsors understood they would be receiving nothing but a "thank you" in return; but I worry that the latter may actually be the case, and that the parks' agendas are being driven by the sponsor: as in, "we'll give you $2.5 million if you hold a public concert co-branded with our logo."

    We should be soliciting funds for the core work of the National Park Service, including backlog maintenance and public outreach; and it shouldn't matter if those donations come in denominations of $5 or $5 million, so long as the $5 million donation buys no more access, branding, or endorsement than I receive for my $5.

    Or maybe $5 would buy me a selfie with a ranger, raising a beer can and singing the National Anthem?

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Mr. Runte, the issue is not about how much money a corporate sponsor can or will provide, nor how long their committment is to giving. The issue is about influence and what that money buys. As we have already seen, via the Coca Cola / water bottle issue at Grand Canyon NP, the NPS Director clearly provided favor, defference and was influenced to alter park policy, due to a complaining corporate sponsor. As you may remember, PEER had to FOIA documents which the NPS would not freely share and they confirmed that not only had the NPS altered NPS policy to favor the corporate sponsor, but the NPS Director provided false and misleading public statements, while trying to cover these interactions. This incident alone demonstrates how a conflict of interest undermines the primary protective mission of the agency and allows money to corrupt public officials.

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Exactly, Rob. The point is to get us thinking, which sometimes requires the writer to write tongue-in-cheek. I did say the Park Service was selling its soul. My point is to remind us when corporations did NOT force us to do that. They respected the culture, too. Is the Park Service that out of touch with its past? You bet it is, and therein lies the problem. When you know what failed in the past, you have the confidence not to repeat it. You know what does and doesn't "fit."

    The history of this issue may be found in Yosemite: The Embattled Wilderness, along with the other salient issues of park "development." The Park Service has always loved a good "event"--Indian Field Days, the Bracebridge Dinner, and in 1932 even tried to get the Olympic Games held in Yosemite National Park. What did any of it have to do with preserving nature? Not a thing, but it sure made friends in high places, even as park scientists and preservationists cringed.

    Perhaps readers of The Traveler are surprised; history is not surprised. But then, these days who is reading history?

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I've been clean and sober for 35 years, and spent years working in alcohol and substance abuse clinics when I was a nurse. I'm absolutely in agreement with the bulk of the group here.

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Thank you Ghost of Steven, others, who have pointed out what a bad idea this is and what a slippery slope it will become. I rarely find myself in disagreement with Alfred, I know he posts ideas just to get us thinking about but this is simply a terrible decision in my view. Thanks also to Jim Burnett, I have been involved in similar situations.

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 3 days ago

    We're all missing the point, including me. The point of something we share in common is to act as if we share it. This is where our conservative friends have a legitimate beef. These days, we are so busy shedding the "sharing" that we forget what sharing is. Why repeat the Pledge of Allegiance every morning? Why go to church, mosque, or synagogue every week? Surely, we know the Pledge by heart, and by now the sermon, too. It's the sharing; it's the formality; it's the reaffimration of who we are. The ritual is meant to cement the culture. Which brings us back to the national parks.

    Does "marketing," however rationaized, cement the institution of national parks? It used to, when the railroads did it, because the railroads committed to the parks every day. Marketing for them was not just a knock-off before moving on to the next "sure thing."

    The proof is in the pudding, as my mother used to say. Here, let's say it's in the beer suds. Is Budweiser's commitment to the national parks to be a permanent commitment, or just a stepping-stone on the way to the Super Bowl? Is there to be another $2.5 million to address the backlog? And another $2.5 million after that? Is Budweiser now committed, as the railroads were once committed, to supporting the parks for 100 years? Yes, believe it or not, Union Pacific's commitment came to 100 years. Between the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, and the sale of Union Pacific's last concessions in 1971, was 102 years, to be exact.

    Now, that I would call a commitment. And if that is what Budweiser is promising here, well, $250 million is a lot of dough. We could do some good things with that. However, if this is a one-time deal--and the Big Beer Brotherhood afterward folds its tent--what's the point? We don't need to "market" the parks; we need to love and protect them. As a historian, that is how I would have advised the National Park Service. If you really feel the need to sell your soul, make sure the purchaser plans to stick around.

  • National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Suitability aside, did I miss something or did they skip the bidding process in this as well?