BOISE -- Rather than adopt fixed guidelines for corporate sponsorships, the Idaho Park and Recreation Board wants to evaluate proposals on a case-by-case basis.
Corporate sponsorships represent a potential new revenue source for the parks department, which lost the bulk of its state funding last year.
Director Nancy Merrill presented a set of proposed guidelines to the board this week, clarifying what type of sponsorships or advertisements might be allowed.
The board declined to adopt any guidelines, however, preferring a more open-ended approach.
"The board wants to review whatever opportunities might come our way and make decisions based on the specific proposals," spokeswoman Jennifer Blazek said.
Given the agency's funding situation, she said, the board didn't feel it could turn away any kind of proposal and doesn't want to adopt specific guidelines that might discourage opportunities.
Instead, it will review proposals as they come up.
Merrill previously indicated corporate sponsorships might bring in about $300,000 per year.
"We don't want to overcommercialize our parks," she told the joint budget committee. "What we're looking at is carefully designed, sensitively placed logos."
Blazek said the department has already met with a marketing firm that helps state park systems connect with various corporate sponsors.
The board directed Merrill to continue those discussions and investigate what type of companies might be interested in partnering with Idaho's state park system.
Other states have pursued similar opportunities. For example, Merrill said Subaru has offered to provide park vehicles. Coca-Cola has installed interpretive signs with small "Coke" logos in the corner, and some states allow small corporate logos to be placed on employee uniforms.
The proposed guidelines presented to the board this week included prohibitions on political or religious ads, or ads for products like cigarettes and alcohol. The focus would be on partnering with companies that share the agency's mission of promoting healthy recreational opportunities.
In other action, former Idaho County Commissioner Randy Doman was confirmed Wednesday as the Region II commissioner on the park board.
Spence may be contacted at bspencelmtribune.com or (208) 848-2274.
To see more of The Lewiston Morning Tribune or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.lmtribune.com.
(c) 2011, The Lewiston Morning Tribune, Idaho
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.