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.
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: