The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Coca-Cola Vs. Grand Canyon?

The word in the asphalt jungle is that Coca-Cola intervened and blocked a plan to ban bottled water in Grand Canyon National Park. The NYT has the story:

Stephen P. Martin, the architect of the [bottle ban] plan and the top parks official at the Grand Canyon, said his superiors told him two weeks before its Jan. 1 start date that Coca-Cola, which distributes water under the Dasani brand and has donated more than $13 million to the parks, had registered its concerns about the bottle ban through the foundation, and that the project was being tabled. His account was confirmed by park, foundation and company officials…

Neil J. Mulholland, president of the foundation, said that a representative of Coca-Cola had reached out to him late in the process to inquire about the reasons for the water bottle ban and how it would work.

Coca-Cola maintains that banning bottled drinks is not the answer to the Park’s problem with discarded plastic bottles, which account for 30 percent of the trash in the Canyon. While it seems true that a call from Coca-Cola prompted National Park Foundation to shelve the bottle ban plan, Coke officials were not menacing or overtly demanding; they did not threaten to withdraw funding. Coca-Cola remains a large donor to the National Park Foundation.

Via Meadia strongly hopes that the Coca-Cola company will end up on the side of the angels here. Cherry Coke Zero is the king of diet sodas and the official soft drink of Via Meadia; we hope that the manufacturers of such a wonderful soda can find a smart way to save one of our nation’s most beautiful landscapes from trash.

Published on November 10, 2011 5:20 pm
  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Litter is about people and their respect for public property. There was a recent joke that New York was going to clean up the mess caused by the Occupy Wall Street scum bags, by holding a TEA Party Rally. Personal responsibility, pride in America, and patriotism are what’s needed to keep America’s parks clean. I am reminded of the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti litter campaign that reduced Texan road side litter by 80%.

  • Jordan

    Is that 30% of the trash or 30% of the litter? Just because 30% of the trash are bottles doesn’t imply any evil.

    Besides — would you rather have dead, dehydrated hikers?

  • bloodonthetracks

    The National Park Foundation didn’t “shelve” the ban. The foundation doesn’t have the power to set policy; it’s merely the official charity of the National Park Service.

    The decision was made by Jon Jarvis, the head of the park service.

    Have been to the Grand Canyon several times recently — hiked from the south rim to the north rim two years ago — and never noticed a trash problem.

    A ban seems to me an unnecessary infringement on choice and convenience.

    Wish the park service instead would worry more about providing clean and reasonably priced lodging. Nothing like spending $240 for a badly outdated room with a moldy shower (Yosemite) or $175 for a glorified storage closet with a dirty, moldy bathroom attached (Glacier) …

  • David

    Here’s a prediction: The cost of disposing all those empty water bottles will be less than the cost of park rangers’ rendering first aid to those who don’t bring canteens and find themselves dehydrated on the trails.

  • Corlyss

    Extortion is the greens favorite tool to bully industry into supporting self-destructive green nonsense.

  • http://thedrawncutlass.blogspot.com/ Robert

    Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper is far superior to Coke Cherry Zero. I stopped drinking diet Coke products when Diet Cherry Coke was discontinued in favor of Coke Cherry Zero, which just doesn’t taste the same (not enough cherry flavoring, basically).

  • Aron Matskin

    In July I went hiking in one of the French National Nature Reserves in the Alps. The rule there is that you have to take ALL your trash with you. I was truly surprised that people really do it!! During the five days I spent there I saw (minute) traces of trash left behind only twice. And that was during the long Bastille Day weekend – one of the busiest hiking times in France.