Idaho’s state Parks Board today unanimously approved revised rules for corporate sponsorships in state parks, adding a clause that the state Legislature must approve any naming of a new or existing state park. The board would have authority to approve names for units within parks. Some, though not all, of Idaho’s state parks already are designated in state statute; the new rules would apply to any future naming.
Board member Tom Crimmins said, “I think the changes were talking about now … are good. … I think it certainly would meet our needs. I can’t see anyplace where this is going to be a problem for us.”
Board members had hit the brakes when they first reviewed the rules last week; the Legislature in its last session approved corporate sponsorships to help raise money for state parks, but park officials had promised they wouldn’t lead to renaming Idaho’s iconic state parks with corporate brands. The rules, while strictly limiting naming practices, still didn’t rule out naming a park after “an entity that has contributed specifically to the park and that represents achievement of highest distinction in a professional or public service role which does not conflict with the department mission or goals.” That raised questions about whether corporate rebranding of parks was possible.
That clause is still in the rules, but it’s now followed by this sentence: “The state legislature will have final approval of the state park name.”
The administrative rules will go before lawmakers for review when they convene their next session in January.