I hate jumping to conclusions. But that apparently is exactly what I did when I surmised that the proposed $1.5 million centennial project involving the Alaska Travel Industry Association would benefit the cruise-ship industry more than the parks.
In fact, according to the National Park Service, the proposal is aimed at reaching out to "independent travelers who are planning trips outside of the usual cruise-ship itineraries." And, the campaign is intended to focus on Alaska residents and overcome one of the Park Service's incredible stumbling blocks: It really doesn't do a great job of marketing the parks.
"The NPS currently does little or no advertising of park experiences, and has a minimal budget for working with media and travel industry partners to introduce them to park opportunities," reads part of the proposal. "Additionally, the NPS provides little or no outreach to local residents with regard to visiting nearby national parks."
This problem isn't restricted to Alaska. It's spread across the entire country. So, perhaps instead of focusing solely on the Alaskan parks there should be a centennial initiative to fully fund the Park Service's Tourism Office so it could do the job of promoting all national parks.