Not everyone wants to save the parks. In California, voters soundly defeated a measure that, for the cost of a few lattes, would have funded the state parks and granted everyone free access. Why? Because many folks don’t use the parks and they think that users should pay. They also have a feeling of entitlement that says, “I paid my taxes and I should be able to use the parks for free.”
This mentality flies in the face of the reality of maintenance. Just like your home or your car, the cost doesn’t stop at the purchase. Maintenance is so costly in fact that the government alone can no longer afford the upkeep. This has resulted in closures and threats of closures across the country. Here in Sonoma County several state parks that were on the closure list remained open because the few folks who do use the parks banded together, and through a system of non-profit advocacy, took over the management.
One of the larger costs to maintain the parks is refuse disposal. And, we believe this is something every park user can do something about. For over a half century, backpackers and hikers have respected the signs that say, “Pack it in – Pack it out!” From what we have seen, it works! The hiking trails are clean! It’s not uncommon for hikers to pick up someone else’s discarded trash and take it out with them. We do it all the time!
But hikers don’t just take it out. In most cases, they take it home and dispose of it there. What is stopping all visitors to all parks from doing the same thing? Given the much shorter distance from the picnic table to the car, it seems like it would be easier than what the hikers have been doing all these years. Some say that leaving their garbage in the park dumpsters makes a job for someone else, but those same folks seem unwilling to pay for that job.
We have had a hundred years of programming that has stopped us from thinking about our garbage the moment we drop it in that dumpster. It’s almost like it isn’t our garbage any more. But it is, and we can do something about it.
Riverside Park and Central Park in New York are great examples of the increasing number of parks across the country that is challenging our old-school attitudes about trash. They have simply reduced garbage containers and are asking the park users to take their own garbage out with them when they leave. Sure, there are issues with the plan, adjustments to be made, and it will take a lot of education, but in the end it will reduce the parks’ maintenance costs.
Just imagine how much we could all save the parks by simply driving out what we drive in. It’s a seemingly small thing but if it catches on the way the “Pack it in – Pack it out” campaign worked, it will have a huge impact. This summer, we challenge you to start a new, more sensitive and responsible trend to cut the cost of park maintenance, making the parks more sustainable. It doesn’t cost you anything but a return trip to your car. And you were going that direction anyway.
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
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