We’re familiar with sports venues and various events that are named after their corporate sponsors — but what about camping sites?
If the state’s proposed two-year budget passes, a trip to state parks and public campgrounds in Wisconsin could soon mean visiting a corporate-sponsored camp resort.
According to a March 3 Duluth News-Tribune article, Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget would cut all funding to Wisconsin’s state parks — and the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is considering selling the naming rights to these campgrounds as a way to generate revenue.
The DNR is also considering finding revenue from alternate sources, such as increasing entrance and camping fees for the state’s 46 state parks, 14 state trails, four recreational areas and two national scenic trails. Camping in public campgrounds such as state parks continues to be the most popular choice for campers — 70% of campers go camping in these public camping sites.
Walker’s budget would also put a halt to conservation land purchases for the next 13 years and cut 66 jobs in the DNR, in addition to stripping much of the agency’s authority to create policies.
A few other U.S. states have turned to the idea of corporate partnerships for their parks and camping grounds, but no state has been able to cover the cost of these parks’ upkeep with these funds, according to BringMeTheNews.com.
The budgetary issue will be studied over the next two years before a final decision is made, DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said.
Despite the Wisonsin parks system’s budgetary woes, it can’t be denied that camping is becoming more popular than ever for Americans — in 2013, we went camping for a collective total of 516.6 million days, up from 515 million camping days in 2010. In 2014, more than 15 million people went camping in Wisconsin alone.