– SALES IS AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE –
Amid the many concerns about fees, snowmobiles, shooting elk, diminishing budgets, reduced staff, low visitation, and a myriad other issues; there is one constant and nearly silent threat that is relentlessly pushing forward into our national parks.
Privatized Commercialization: the insidious and creeping attack on a system that used to be the model for the world. Attention is given to this attack by the press on slow news days. Activists notice only when their pet ox is about to get gored. The blog sphere finds it useful for an occasional note. And the American public is absolutely oblivious.
Such is the case with the “NEW,” “EXCITING,” “CONVENIENT,” and “EFFICIENT,” reservation system touted by the Feds. This brings national resources to the monitor – just click. (I wonder who pays the development costs and hosting fees and maintenance bills?)
As noted by Scott Silver in Wild Wilderness, This “NEW” system was actually founded two decades ago as a software development company.
YEOWEE, girlfriend, did they develop! Now they are the interagency one-stop shop for campground reservations. They are a “Partner” busy selling things that aren’t even theirs. In fact they are the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ stepchild of the TICKETMASTER CORPORATION.
This is as American as it gets! This is also as insidious as it gets! There are eleven governmental agency ‘partners’ that are listed. Bless their hearts, they don’t have to spend money on a reservations staff now.
These guys are good. The site design is similar to the ‘official’ NPS site, (and other dot gov sites,) the vocabulary is reminiscent of nothing so much as “agency speak” and “park speak,” and the design symbols shriek “MY GOVERNMENT IS HELPING ME!”
This is a convenient site, it has news, and it even has a nice map with dots to click on. It’s easy to excuse this as just one way my government is helping me – – – right into a fully privatized National Park System.
This is tough stuff. This is hard core. This is reminiscent of the case in Yellowstone.
This has allowed the purveyors of tanks and buses and vans to slip into the door with giant fees and diesel engines and the dictation of winter use activities. The unthinking NPS and other AMERICANS have bought it. Good sales. Bad policy.
The National Park Service just loves this kind of ‘partnership.’ They can abrogate their responsibility along with their concern for either the parks or the public.
Magicians and marketeers and entrepreneurs love this slight of hand. Look at the right hand & I’ll do it to you with my left. Soon, there will be a sticky web of deceit that we think is “our government” – but really it’s just a disguised tour business. Will there be ‘overbooking’ like the airlines? Will there be accurate descriptions? Will there be any deceit at all? Of course not, our government agencies are ‘partners.’
This is not new. This is old. The Northern Pacific Railroad did it to begin the infiltration of Yellowstone, and it’s been going on ever since. It happened in the early history of Niagara Falls and continues to the recently added casino. And it will continue to happen. It’s American as apple pie. We just love the convenience. And we’re suckers for slick marketing – just ask Xanterrible.
- Interesting Reading: