|Scotland's Cuillin Mountains|
Gore-Tex, a product line of W.L. Gore and Associates, has agreed to provide funding support to help make the trail a reality—in exchange, evidently, for naming rights to the trail. According to the article: "The company’s name is expected to feature on copper plaques that point the way along the route and links with shops that sell the company’s products may be advertised."
Now I recognize funding is always a challenge for trail developers and trail maintenance. But I also head into the backcountry to escape from the capitalist trappings of society and revel in the purity of the natural experience. So the thought of having a brand name pushed on me at every trail junction is somewhat galling.
Now you might say that we all hike as walking logo billboards for our favorite brand of outdoor gear, whether it's The North Face or Patagonia or whatever. But those are voluntary choices—and we could always patch over or cover up the logos if they really offended us. The thought of corporate trail sponsorship being pushed on us, whether we like it or not, is more troubling to me.
Then again, if corporate sponsorship and naming rights are the only way to get new trails built—or older trails maintained and updated—is it worth it? Only time will tell, I suppose. Until then, I will be fervently hoping I don't find myself on the new "Gore-Tex Northeast Trail" any time soon.
What do you think?
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.
Image: jgriffiths, Wikimedia Commons