by Tomas DiFiore

I realize the most massive amount of articles these days are on the merits of Privatizing Parks but none have any real consistent data, and most information comes directly from Park Privatization dot com, Recreation Resource Management, ReserveAmerica (all one company, many aliases’). Most editorials and web based articles have a related links section where half the links go to information by category that is directly linked to one of the above sites pages. This is a massive web advertising campaign by ReserveAmerica, AmericanDreams, and the Active Network supporting privatization of public recreation resources, in this case State Parks. Articles as recent as March 8th, 2012 continue the mantra.

State Parks: The Virtual State Of American Dreams Inc.

Trans-national corporations located in Southern CA, Arizona, and Ohio: 1) San Diego, CA, 2) Phoenix, AZ, 3) Logan, Ohio are building a virtual network empire on Mary and Joe Citizen’s vacation tickets and some management of concessions, and local branding.

The Solution Is In The Problem

Camping Reservation Fees (not the campsite fees but online and call center credit card banking fees – $9 for reservation and $10 for cancellation through ReserveAmerica – 2012) are my main focus, even Local District offices seem to be heading in the wrong direction. Having read the latest talked about report, from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office I feel another viewpoint would be enriching.

The report lacks data or quantifiable criteria in key areas regarding:
1. attendance revenues, separated from camping reservations, length of stay, etc.
2. attendance revenues related to camping reservations, and length of stay
3. the amount of hours of volunteers – by what criteria were volunteer efforts cataloged, Was it just the daylight hours per program funding requirements and Park hours? What local group efforts, such as the many Coastal Ocean Groups that for decades have logged hours in cause-promotions, and celebration that brought people together to clean beaches, were included?
4. The cost to taxpayers due to Corporate Citizen clauses, Corporate Sponsor tax deductible contributions i.e., brand philanthropy and cause marketing promotions.
5. What amount of time in hours is spent by State Parks Employees and other State Officials researching Privatization data (mostly put together by Privatization Firms) – translating the privatization mantras – symposiums and luncheons, meetings, emails and phone calls, All contracts state that the responsibility for promotion and monitoring of public perception of the ‘benefits of privatization’ fall on the DPR or NPS.
6. What amount of taxpayer subsidies are going toward the programs and training that set up the transfer of Parks to (Privatization)?

Critical accountability in the Legislative Analyst’s Office report for all is needed.

The level of volunteer work is estimated to be worth over $20 million a year. (estimate assumes a labor cost of $21 per volunteer hour, based on an average of production and non-supervisory labor costs in the private sector) The DPR currently invests about 90,000 staff hours annually ($7 million) to train and operate its volunteer program. How much to train and operate the Corporate Privileges Program?
It is not proven that anything is more efficient, and there are no ‘lower fees’. Quite the opposite in fact. Privatized Concession Run Parks “pay a penny on the dollar” for credit card processing and bank fees – November 2, 2011, Warren Meyer – ReserveAmerica

Under the State Corporate Sponsorship agreements, all corporate involvement is tax deductible, thrice over. 1) General Fund Tax dollars for development of the ‘Parks for Perks’ business model 2) Tax dollars pay to make up for the corporate citizen’s allowable deductions, and 3) tax dollars will pay for the promotion, public acceptance and market monitoring, and protection of the business management of concession agreements. On the National level, it will be the corporate-only financed National Park Foundation, presumably with it’s billion dollar fund by 2016 that foots the promotions bill. But the National ‘Parks For Perks’ program is so rewarding it’s worth it!

Frankly, they ought to be showing the classic film “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” in National Theaters. The parallels are perfect.

RESERVATION & CANCELLATION FEES are a Sustainable Green Fund For Parks Non-Profits!
Amazing that the State hasn’t figured out how to take the tickets without handing over the operation to Private Companies!

Commercial Free Zones or Corporate Citizens Parks Privileges. 
Yes, the term “Corporate Citizenship” is used as a requirement of the California State Parks Corporate Sponsorships Proud Partner Agreements.


Tomas DiFiore
30 years on the North Coast
Like A Salmon, Eyes Wide Open, Swimming Against The Flow Of Entropy – Joanne Rand


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