The National Park Foundation has entered into a two-year, $2.5 million partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer and the maker of Budweiser, according to a recent press release. The goal of the collaboration is to raise awareness about the National Park Service (NPS) in celebration of its centennial in 2016 and drum up support for Find Your Park, a campaign aimed at encouraging Americans to visit and better appreciate the national parks system.
“Budweiser is an American brand with a steadfast commitment to our nation,” said Dan Wenk, interim president of the National Park Foundation, in the press release. “With their generous, multifaceted support of our Find Your Park movement, we will ensure that these special places are loved and protected well beyond the next 100 years.” (Anheuser-Busch InBev is based in Belgium.)
The parameters of the partnership are unclear. In entering into an arrangement with Anheuser-Busch Inbev, the NPS and its chief charity, the Park Foundation, have stepped away from a directive established in 1998, when NPS director Robert Stanton issued an order that prohibited donations from alcohol or tobacco products. Though it is not the first time the policy has been lifted or waived, the most recent decision has elicited words of concern about the influence of alcohol sponsors—or any private corporate sponsors, for that matter—on the Park Service’s future.
“This is yet another example of the park service’s willingness to change its management to accommodate corporate sponsors,” Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, told the Denver Post. “This deal isn’t a slippery slope. It’s a bungee jump.”
To advertise the new alliance, AB InBev will release Budweiser cans and bottles in red and white stripes and images of the Statue of Liberty and will sponsor several summer concerts in national parks next year.