Should cash-strapped parks and other public lands be sponsored by corporations?

Yes: 45%
Absolutely, this would free up tax dollars and slow the never-ending government whine for more money. Corporations would have to agree on limited signage and other conditions.
—Steve Lee, Weaverville, N.C.

NPR is sponsored by corporations. So are Adopt-a-Highways, symphonies, music festivals, and monuments. Unless you are willing to hand over your entire savings to sponsor it yourself, then don’t complain.
—Fred, Chapel Hill, N.C.

It would be something worth trying. Parks would not be so strapped if they were given some guidance on how to cash in on visitors. For instance, their merchandise is either lame or nonexistent, and their employees don’t really suggestively sell it. That’s low hanging fruit. People are in vacation mode and willing to drop a few extra bucks on a pin, patch, or cool t-shirt.
—Scott, Seneca, S.C.

 

No: 55%
If corporations have all this extra money, then they obviously aren’t paying enough taxes, so public institutions like our national parks can thrive. The national parks were significantly underfunded by George W. Bush for eight years, and they are still hurting. These are the jewels of our country; they should be fully funded to meet all their current and future needs.
End the tax cuts for the rich and perhaps there will be a bit more money for important government programs. Who really wants to see something like Verizon Grand Teton National Park?
—Janet, Fairfax, Va.

I imagine coal companies would be happy to sponsor a number of parks, especially if they could provide an interactive exhibit inside those parks on how to remove coal seams by first removing the mountaintop.
Perhaps there are a number of logging and chainsaw manufacturing firms that would consider sponsoring the Pisgah, Chattahoochee, and Cherokee National Forests. “This stump sponsored by Stihl!”
Just maybe one of the big TV makers from Japan could sponsor a big video screen atop Clingman’s Dome that could be visible all the way to Gatlinburg. On fall weekends, they could display the football games so Gatlinburg visitors can multitask between buying more useless tourism knick-knacks and seeing if the Saints are going to win again.
—Geoff, Asheville, N.C.

Do bears need more hunts or habitats?
Hunts: 24%
We need more hunts tempered with a serious look at which habitats we can preserve with dwindling state and federal resources. Look at what has happened to the deer population over the last 20 years. Is there anyone who does not know someone who has hit a deer with a car? Now fast forward 20 years. What are the projections for the bear population coupled with the significant decrease in bear hunters? I hope we do not see an increase in dangerous interactions between bears and people, but I think it is inevitable.
—Ingles Alexander, Independence, Va.

Habitats: 76%
Every day there is countless habitat destroyed and very little additional conservation to replace it. Just ask yourself: what happened to the elk, bison, and countless other species that once roamed our region? Let’s hope the black bear does not fall victim to the same fate.
—Daryl Johnson, Charleston, S.C.

Anyone who spends time in our beautiful (yet diminishing) wilderness areas in the Southeast understands the risk of wildlife encounters. We choose to enter their environment. Let’s give them space to live, respect their house rules, and don’t invite trouble.
—David, via e-mail


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