Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Dissolving State Park Stickers

A cleaner windshield for nature fans
  (+7, -2)
(+7, -2)
  [vote for,

In the US (or at least in Michigan), State Parks have a user tax that is collected as $5.00 for a one day pass or $20.00 for an annual pass. If you take the annual pass, they give you a sticker that goes in the bottom corner of the passenger's side of the windshield.

Because the state used to have problems with people buying the sticker and sharing it with their friends, the stickers now have an adhesive that seems to bond with the windshield at a molecular level, making removing the sticker impossible. Obviously, the problem is that if you are a nature fan, then after about 5-6 years of this the stickers take up a significant fraction of your windshield space!

If the stickers were made out of a special plastic that dissolved easily and completely when exposed to a given solvent, then the problem could be solved without going back to the problem of people sharing stickers.

When you purchase your state park sticker for the year, the ranger glances at your windshield to see if you have a sticker from a previous year. If you do, then in addition to the sticker the ranger gives you a little foil packet similar to the ones that alcohol or iodine swabs come in. Inside the foil packet is a piece of gauze soaked in solvent. Simply wipe the gauze over the expired permit, wait a minute, and watch it dissolve before your eyes! Give the solvent another minute to evaporate from the windshield so you don't accidentally dissolve the new sticker.

mwburden, Jan 24 2002


       makes perfect sense, mwb. A solution that IS a solution
thumbwax, Jan 24 2002

       Cheers to all my friends and family in MI. Hope I make it back home someday.   

       In Virginia we have a state inspection sticker, a city tax sticker and a parking sticker - all of which need to be changed annually.   

       Try nail polish remover or paint thinner. They don't disolve the sticker, they remove the adhesive. Keep both away from your car's finish.
phoenix, Jan 24 2002

       Using organic solvents in the open atmosphere to facilitate government control of access to a wilderness area seems like just the kind of thing that would light an ecoterrorist's fuse.
beauxeault, Jan 24 2002

       I've often thought that a different ID system would work. It seems that most folks who go to the State Parks are regulars at it. Most regulars know that they want to have an annual permit for next year, and the year after. The park service wants a unique, non-transferrable tag on the vehicle. So pay for the annual pass with your automobile registration. The state can issue a special auto license plate that has some "state park pass" logo on it.

For those with less foresight (and those who reside/register in one state but like to visit parks in another), the park booths could have permanent stickers to put on non-special license plates, to accomplish the same thing.

So, you accomplish all the present goals of the current park sticker system, but you put the sticker on something that is both unique to the vehicle and gets replaced periodically (unlike a windshield [normally]).
quarterbaker, Jan 24 2002

       [po] Geesh... I misspelled ONE WORD in a (fairly) long idea. Picky, Picky! Besides, shouldn't that have been 3/12, not 3/10?   

       [PeterSealy] At least in MI, they won't allow you in the park unless the sticker is affixed (not just taped) to the windshield. See the 2nd paragraph for why.   

       [beauxeault] Err, ummm, yeah, there is that.   

       [quarterbaker] Except that in MI we only have rear plates. With the window stickers, the ranger can see the pass and wave you through before you even come to a full stop.
mwburden, Jan 24 2002

       Why not just do what we in the UK do on Vehicle Tax Disk and Parking Vouchers.... write the license number on them!   

       Also, in order to save this idea from continuing, a product we call "WD40" (an easing oil available in spray cans) will successfully remove almost all adhesive including the special "Un-Removable" security stickers that shops fit to electral good. (Used to work in electrical retail and we used it for cleaning up ex-demo products!) Is also very good for cleaning crap off in general and can make a mouse (exterior) look like new!!!
CasaLoco, Jan 25 2002

       Here in Switzerland we have to display a small sticker marked with the year if we want to use the motorways. They are scored though in a fairly intricate pattern and only held together in a few places with very small joins. Once you've peeled off the backing and stuck them to the screen they are almost impossible to remove without breaking them. The glue then does not have to be so tough. The dedicated abuser of the system could transfer the sticker I suppose but no more than a few times. When I had to have a new screen fitted the garage managed to do it with extreme care but I was warned beforehand that they were not confident that they could do it every time.
Gordon Comstock, Jan 25 2002

       WD-40 and duct tape! What would we do without them? It's not just Michigan that doesn't have front plates, by the way. We don't have them in North Carolina either.
magnificat, Jan 25 2002

       Just cover the sticker in clear Saran-wrap, so it doesn't adhere to your windshield. It'll probably stick just by static to the inside of your windshield.   

       That way, you can also share the pass with others again.
seal, Jan 25 2002

       I've seen the ranger actually stop a car and check that the sticker was securly in place, so if you use the saran wrap idea you might run into trouble.
(Granted the fact that the car in question was a pick-up truck full of rowdy teenagers may have had a lot to do with the ranger's decision to stop them and check the sticker...)
mwburden, Jan 25 2002

       WD-40, saran wrap, and duct tape...just seems too easy to be a park-permit-stealing guy these days! Isn't there a catch?   

       It's a $20 tag...they should be scored so you can't remove it temporarily and left at that.   

       I do like the idea of being able to buy them with your tags, though. Props 25c baker.
DrOuD, Mar 19 2003

       Hasn't anyone heard of a razor blade scraper? That's what was used in Oklahoma for decades to remove old inspection stickers, (they are no longer required these days. No chemicals, no sticky residue left. Problem solved.
roadhunter, Aug 06 2006


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