Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

How Texas Parks and Wildlife Is Trying to Sell Out

Photo by Mose Buchele/StateImpact Texas

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is looking for corporate sponsors.

Last year’s devastating drought and wildfires led to fewer visitors and less revenue at state parks. In December the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department turned to the public for help, hoping to raise more than $4 million in donations. But since then, they’ve only received half that amount, and recent budget cuts have taken away over a hundred million dollars from the department. To help close this funding gap, the department is now looking for corporate sponsors.

Park officials say they’re looking to partner with banks, hotels and sporting-goods stores. Soon, you could be the proud owner of an official Texas Parks & Wildlife cooler. The corporate sponsorship was approved during the last legislature.

“This is the first time, as far as we know, that a state agency has done this,” Darcy Bontempo, the department’s marketing director, says.

So does this mean someday soon a visitor to Garner State Park might see a sign saying, “Brought to you by McDonald’s”?

Absolutely not, says Bontempo. “That will not happen,” she says. “Of course we’ve gotten that question and I understand those concerns. That’s why we’ve worked so carefully to make sure that the manner in which we offer this opportunity is clearly defined.”

But you need to move fast if you want the Texas Parks & Wildlife stamp of approval for your business. The agency is only accepting proposals until August 30. And it’s going to cost you. Sponsorships start at $100,000 and go up from there.


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