Jeff Shoemaker assures residents that a proposed corporate sponsorship program for Colorado State Parks is not “going to be a NASCAR-ing or a billboard-ing of our state parks.”
“It’s not going to be Meineke Mufflers State Park of St. Vrain,” he said at a public meeting in Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday (July 31).
Instead, his nonprofit, the Foundation for Colorado State Parks, wants to partner with businesses and brands that meet the character and values of state parks and market them together in more subtle and tasteful ways to raise money for the 42 parks in the state, according to the Loveland Reporter-Herald.
• A health care or fitness business may sponsor an event in the park such as lessons in setting up tents or adventure races.
• A company could sponsor a beautiful viewing vista complete with a smart phone application to tell parks users what they are about to see.
• Local stores could sell the “official trail snack” of Colorado State Parks.
• A recycling company may pay for an ecological message wrapped around trash bins.
• A soundtrack of background music for park activities may be sold online.
Shoemaker believes the concept is unique, but has the potential for success.
Editor’s Note: Travel writer Keith Bennett posted this recent story in the Denver RV Travel Examiner about RV travel in Colorado.
If you drive a motorhome with a towed vehicle and wish to enter Colorado state parks, you will have to pay the $8/day entrance fee on both “motorized” vehicles for a total of $16/day to get in. If you drive a vehicle with a trailer or fifth-wheel in tow, you will only be charged $8/day. We were told this is the policy across all Colorado state parks.
This policy has upset many RVers who visit Colorado and has been an issue on Internet forums going back to 2007. Comments range from not staying in Colorado state parks to, as long as the money goes to the state parks, then it is OK. Most commenters were upset at the perceived unfairness between motorhomes with toads and the rest of the camping visitors.
We decided to check and see if anything has happened in the last two years to change this policy. We called the Denver administrative office at (303) 866-3437 and posed our question to determine the future of this policy. We were told that the State Parks Division has looked into this and “intends” to make some changes sometime in the future. The changes would be an ID pass for the motorhome and entrance pass for the toad.
When pressed as to the timing of a new policy, we were told that it has to go before the state legislature and that it would not happen until next session, at the earliest. That would be fall of 2009 or nothing for this year’s season. The person went on to say that each park has its own manager and that if it was a real issue to plead ones case to the park manager for an exception. When asked if park managers have the authority to grant exception, the parks representative was very quick to back pedal and say, “I don’t want to speak for park managers, but they are managing their park…it’s worth asking, but if they are adhering strictly to the rules, any motorized vehicle does require a pass to be on the windshield. I’m just giving you the official word.”
With the state’s budget issues, as a result of the economy, I am not optimistic for a change in this revenue generator. On the other hand, these are challenging times for all of us and I would hope that groups like CTO (Colorado Tourism Office) would jump in and press the need to have “happy customers” when the competition for the tourism dollar has just gone way up.