Hot Springs Hoopla Goads Government
hoop•la (h p lä , h p -) n. Informal
a. Boisterous, jovial commotion or excitement.
b. Extravagant publicity
2. Talk intended to mislead or confuse.
The National Park Service wants to make the Arkansas city named Hot Springs stop calling itself Hot Springs National Park. The city, however, wants to trumpet its name and association with the national park ever more loudly.
Hot Springs is the principal city of the Hot Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area, the county seat of Garland County, Arkansas, and (with a population 39,064) the10th most populous city in the state of Arkansas.
The National Park Service has long complained that the city advertises its existence and amenities in ways that do not clearly distinguish the city of Hot Springs from Hot Springs National Park. To eliminate any potential source of confusion, the federal government wants the city to stop advertising itself as Hot Springs National Park.
The city disagrees that its advertising tactics are confusing, and has been downright confrontational on this issue.
Things have heated up lately. Last month the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission, having lost its appeal of a court order, grudgingly took down a "Hot Springs National Park" city flag that had been flying at Hot Springs Mountain Tower, a 216-foot high observation tower that is operated in the park under a concession contract. The Park Service also demanded that maps distributed at the Mountain Tower include a disclaimer that the businesses named on the map are not endorsed by the National Park Service or Hot Springs National Park.
Despite its recent setback on the flag issue, the city of Hot Springs continues to trumpet its association with the park in ways that can be said to blur the distinction between the two entities. As of this writing [June 25], the website of the
Hot Springs Mountain Tower bears a logo and a mailing address that do not sit well with the Park Service. Visitors to this website are told:
For more information, write or call:
Hot Springs Mountain Tower
P.O. Box K
Hot Springs Nat'l. Park, AR 71902
The logo just to the left of this mailing address and phone number reads HOT SPRINGS (all in caps) at the top and National Park (in fine print) at the bottom. If you click on this logo, you are taken to a site that invites you to obtain tourist information for visits to Hot Springs, Arkansas. There is no mistaking the intent. A prominent tag line reads "Things to Do & City Information." Just above it is a picture of happy water skiers. Just below it is this invitation:
Planning on taking a vacation this year or just want to get away for the weekend? Hot Springs offers a variety of Vacation Packages to meet anyone's needs or desires. To find out more about Hot Springs and everything it has to offer, fill in the form below.
On Tuesday, June 22, the city launched an advertising campaign based on the distribution of 5,000 free promotional license plates (front plates, that is) bearing the city’s logo, the words “Hot Springs National Park Arkansas," and the city’s Web address hotsprings.org. Campaign organizers hope that nonresidents who see the plates will be reminded of the park/city and be inspired to visit.
Stay tuned, folks. This is getting real interesting.