July 16, 2008
Why can't they advertise?
So I'm reading this article about the National Park Service and its attempts to reach out to minority communities, who represent a disproportionately small fraction of their attendees, and I came across this curious paragraph:
The Park Service is prohibited from buying advertising, forcing it to rely on word of mouth, media coverage, outreach through schools and advertising done by concessionaires within or near the parks.
And I asked myself: Why would the Park Service be prohibited from buying advertising? Is it a money thing, or is there some sort of reasoning behind it? Because if it's the latter, I must confess I'm stumped for what it might be. What harm could there be in allowing NPS to run TV or radio spots? Can anyone shed some light on this? Thanks.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 16, 2008 to National news
Jeez, I should know this, my former partner worked for NPS. My guess is that it has something to with not creating government-funded competitors for commercial recreational attractions.
Note that there is also the National Park Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation that exists to support the Park Service, which is not subject to NPS rules. There are, however, very strict rules about use of the NPS logo and that sort of thing.