Trail for Sale, Again

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Trail for Sale, Again

Tallahassee, FL -- September 27, 2011 --

Underground at this Florida state park is a time capsule not to be unearthed until 2035. But what state parks look like by then or if they’ll even exist may depend on how the legislature decides to fund them. A bill to sell advertising on trail signs to help the underfunded parks has been filed for next year’s legislative session.

Frank and Susan Lowe don’t like the plan. They traveled 4-thousand miles from England to visit the state’s parks.

“It’s like the wilderness isn’t it? The wilderness part of it, that’s what we’ve come for,” said Susan.

The Lowes say more Brits would visit Florida parks if they were advertised better. But If there were enough money to promote Florida parks our lawmakers might not be looking at selling ad space on trails.

Legislation to allow advertising in parks failed last year because it was tied to plans to sell ads on interstate road signs. By the time road ads were removed from the bill it was too late. But for these tourists from across the pond ads are a better fit for roads not trails.

“When you come up the interstate it’s all advertising and you just want to get away from that,” said Susan.

The trails for sale bill is just one of several ideas to save the parks. A plan to open RV lots and golf courses on the state lands failed earlier this year after public outcry. There are no official studies on the amount of money selling ad space on trails would generate, but supporters say it’s 10s of millions of dollars.

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Trail for Sale

Tallahassee, FL - Todd Bertolaet enjoys the sights and sounds of natural Florida. He took a brisk walk on a hiking trail Friday to relax.

“I’d love to see a diamondback on this particular trail,” said Todd Bertolaet.

But he may soon be seeing something not so natural: advertisements. State lawmakers are considering selling ad space on walking trails to help fill the 3.8 billion dollar budget gap.

So that means you soon could be walking on your favorite hiking trail and find a Coke can, and you may also find the trail is sponsored by Coke.

Governor Rick Scott is encouraging lawmakers to leave no stone unturned in their search for cash.

“Everybody in our states had to tighten their belts; we have to look at every opportunity we can, so I think it’s something we ought to look at,” said Scott.

But for Todd, nature is sacrosanct and seeing ads at his favorite parks would ruin the experience.

“We have to have some sanctuaries, and ya know this is one sanctuary for all of the public,” said Todd.

The trails for sale bill is tied to legislation allowing advertising on state roads, which may in the end kill the idea because Federal law prohibits advertisements on many interstate systems. There hasn’t been an economic study on how much money the legislation would generate, but supporters of the bill estimate it could raise 10s of millions of dollars.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Larry Location: Tallahassee on Sep 28, 2011 at 02:30 PM
    Can we contract with LaMar Advertising? They do such a good job with trees. I'm sure they'd love to have their way in the forests of the state parks.
  • by Mel Location: Tallahassee on Sep 28, 2011 at 02:24 PM
    "Signs, signs, everywhere signs, breaking up the scenery, breaking my mind, do this, don't do that, can't you read the signs?"
  • by Really? Location: TLH on Sep 28, 2011 at 08:16 AM
    Why don't we hire the company mentioned in yesterday's story to put up billboards in the parks? They can hack away at any vegetation that might get in the way of them, or they can poison trees that have the audacity to grow in the way. This is a ridiculous idea!
  • by PrezNixon on Sep 28, 2011 at 07:16 AM
    If it helps keep the parks open and maintained and it is done tastefully at the trail head and parking area, why not? Name of trail, distance, degree of difficulty...this trail sponsored by....... Easy and tasteful I have seen this in trails in other states and I saw no problem with it....
  • by Surly on Sep 28, 2011 at 06:44 AM
    Put your signs in my woods, I will never buy anything you sell. Parking lot is cool, though.
  • by Nascar Dad Location: Tallahassee on Sep 27, 2011 at 07:42 PM
    This trail sponsored by Viagra. Jump on over there and get some poison ivy in places you've never scratched.
  • by Anonymous Location: Monticello on Sep 27, 2011 at 06:50 PM
    The State Parks have raised their rates so high they are pricing themselves out of business....
  • by Anon Location: <<>> on Sep 27, 2011 at 05:53 PM
    What a sickening proposal. It's bad enough we have to look at billboards plastered up and down the interstates and highways to detract from the natural landscape. Don't destroy the natural beauty to make a few measley $$. Dream up some other way to generate revenue.
  • by StopCorruption Location: Tallahassee on Sep 27, 2011 at 05:12 PM
    You know, I once thought you had to be intelligent and articulate to hold office in Florida. But apparently not! These idiots in office need to go as they have no ideas and no concept what the middle class people are facing today. They are out of touch and they make the political process for "normal" people out of reach. Keep out of our beautiful state parks!
  • by O Well on Sep 27, 2011 at 05:06 PM
    Its no different than Busch beer being compared to Wakulla Springs.
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