Parks Dept. Seeks Corporate Partners To Help Plug Revenue Gap

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is seeking official corporate partnerships for the first time as the agency continues to struggle with the effects of budget cuts, droughts, and wildfires.

Parks and Wildlife officials say they plan to offer the use of their logo and brand while promoting companies in exchange for much-needed cash. 

State governments across the U.S. have faced growing deficits, but industry officials say Texas may be the first to tie its parks department to contract-based corporate partners.

Marketing director Darcy Bontempo says the agency lost significant sources of revenue through wildfires, including one that destroyed more than 90% of Bastrop State Park last September.

“Half of all of our operating costs for state parks come from visitor fees — whether that’s entrance fees or facility fees, camping fees. And so when you have fires or drought or, you know, the scorching heat we had last summer, that really does cut into the amount you have to operate the parks.”

The agency issues hunting and fishing licenses as well as overseeing state parks. It suffered a 21% budget cut as the legislature struggled with a $27 billion shortfall.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...