Yellowstone National Park pass for 150 years from now

Rather than looking back to celebrate Yellowstone National Park’s 150th anniversary, a Chicago advertising agency thought it would be a good time to look forward and think about ways to preserve the park for future generations.

That’s how Havas Chicago came up with the concept of “Inheritance Passes” — a fundraising effort that launched this week and is seeking $1,500 donations in exchange for an entry pass to Yellowstone that has to be used this year and another that can’t be used for 150 years. The future pass will be good for “one solar-powered flying car’s worth of your future loved ones,” the campaign’s website quips.

“Our goal is always to bring ideas to clients that you don’t even have to sell. They sell themselves,” said Myra Nussbaum, Havas Chicago’s president and chief creative officer.

While Havas’s downtown offices are a far cry from the staggering 3,472 square miles of Yellowstone, the Chicago agency was tasked with solving a specific challenge the park faced. Yellowstone Forever, a nonprofit fundraising partner of the park, wanted to drive donations for the milestone anniversary without attracting additional foot traffic, since there has been an increase in visitors during the pandemic.

“These unique problems are always the funnest to solve, because creativity takes such an important role in it,” Nussbaum said of the pro bono project. “In typical fashion, there were a lot of ideas, but the Inheritance Passes one just jumped off the page. The idea that we would sell a pass to a park that can’t be used until the year 2172 was something I’ve never seen before and that’s what we’re kind of always looking for.”

The Inheritance Passes will be valid for entry into the national park in 2172. Donors will also receive a pass that must be used once in 2022, and is then good for a year after its first use, said Wendie Carr, chief marketing officer for Yellowstone Forever.

Yellowstone Forever’s website calls the passes “a perfect gift to pass down through your family,” but one less-than-perfect aspect may be keeping track of the pass for a century and a half, which is why the park says it will keep a record of all Inheritance Pass owners.

The money raised through the sale of “Inheritance Passes” will be used to support park projects like trail improvements, education, native fish conservation and scientific studies.

“It is our way of celebrating 150 years of Yellowstone National Park and to help preserve the park for the next 150 years,” Lisa Diekmann, president and CEO of Yellowstone Forever, told The Billings Gazette.

Courtney Kueppers is a digital producer/reporter at WBEZ. Follow her @cmkueppers.