Has Gov. Rick Scott Ruined Florida's Parks By Allowing Advertising In Them?


Come July 1, advertising will be allowed on Florida's state-administed "greenways" and trails. How totally freaking godawful is it? The Huffington Post reports:

The bill dictates that advertising will be restricted to signs no larger than 16 feet at trailheads and in parking lots. On trail public access points, ads must be smaller than 4 feet.

The bill also outlines a standard for how such signs can be worded: "[Name of sponsor]… proudly sponsors the costs of maintain the … [Name of greenway or trail]."

It gets worse, says HuffPo:

In the midst of old-growth live oak hammocks, wild orchids, and vistas of Lakes Wales Ridge in Lake Kissimmee State Park, Florida hikers may soon see signs boasting "Buster Island Loop, brought to you by Pollo Tropical."…

Neil Haring, Georgia Sierra Club lobbyist, told NPR: A park is a "place for people to get away from that. It's a refuge. That's why it's a park. You know, they it would be an amusement park if it was for advertising or a ballpark. There are parks where advertising is appropriate but state parks are not those parks."

Florida's recent legislation dictates that 85 percent of the profits from state park ads will go to upkeep of the greenways and trails and 15 percent will fund the Department of Transportation's Bicycle Safety Program.

More here.

Hate to break it to some folks, but state and federal parks have always been hotbeds of commerical activity. Read Damon Root on the history of trinket sales at Gettysburg for more on that.

And for god's sake, read Charles Paul Freund on how love of "unspoiled" nature (you know, like a state or national park) often rests upon strange, hidden, and disturbing assumptions about just how rotten human beings are, especially when they're buying and selling stuff.

And watch ReasonTV's discussion of how Arizona is preserving its parks by privatizing them:

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  1. Mauna Loa Crater. Brought to you by Lava Hand Soap.

  2. This commercialism shit has got to stop!


    1. Post of the day, right there.

  3. 100% should go to the parks. A bicycle safety program is bunk.

  4. If they would stop locking pot-heads in prison, there would be plenty of money for parks.

  5. I thought the parks were already sponsored by the tax payers.

    1. “This park brought to you by citizens who aren’t deadbeats. You’re welcome.”

  6. It is godawful. Selling souvenirs is not the same as 16ft billboards. It’s bad enough that there are parking lots.

    Preservation of wilderness is not a libertarian ideal, I’m well aware. It’s all well and good to suggest privatizing it, but that private group is entirely within their rights to build condos on high-priced unspoiled wilderness.

    The question comes down to whether wilderness is an intrinsic commodity or is it not.

    1. Yes, but only for the likes of Robert Redford and Ted Turner.

    2. Well, wilderness is property, if that helps. Rather, “wilderness” is how we describe certain tracts of real estate.

    3. I’m unclear on how this “spoils” the wilderness.

      There have been signs in forest preserves and state parks for ages, either providing directions to certain parts of the park, telling you not to let your dog off the leash, or teaching you about the unusual plants or animals along the path. If those don’t spoil the wilderness, neither will a Pepsi sign.

    4. but that private group is entirely within their rights to build condos on high-priced unspoiled wilderness.

      That would be an extremely stupid thing to do. Condos right next to commuter transportation hubs are essentially unsellable right now; I can imagine how much demand there would be out in Giant Autoerotic Woodchuck Forest.

      The nice thing about a free market is that even though people can do stupid and destructive things with their money, those who are foolish enough to do so won’t have money for very long.

  7. I bet Huff Po has no problem with the thousands of signs already in Florida state parks that warn against littering, vandalism, and horny alligators. It seems as if they would prefer that the parks go underfunded or be closed rather than allow private companies to advertise in them.

    1. THIS

    2. This to the umpteenth.

    3. Horny alligators?

    4. This is what I was thinking. My family and I visit state and county parks here quite often, and there’s a decent amount of signage in some areas.

      Obviously, no one is going to want billboards blocking their view or anything like that, but I’m highly doubtful the parks–which depend heavily on visitors–are going to start plastering the trees with ads.

  8. Billboards break up the monotony of trees

  9. I think this is great. Why shouldn’t nature be privatized? If ads can save money, then go for it. I’m sure someone will eventually create a private park just for people who hate advertisements, I’m sure there would be a market for it. But really, this is a first world problem. I always wonder what people thousands of years ago would think of us today, worshiping the same vague abstraction, nature, that they huddled in caves to protect themselves from. Nature is awful, it’s full of rape and murder and disease. yet we’ve somehow convinced ourselves that our society of machines and money and the merchant class is the real problem. Yeah, maybe I’m reading too much in too it, and obviously I’m not talking about a simple stroll in the park. But I think something is fundamentally wrong with the idea of humans “returning to nature.” It’s literally insane, to build of a civilization then destroy it out of blind nostalgia to a past that never really existed.

  10. Officer, am I free to advertise through plain and forest?

    1. No.

      Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.

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