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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- California Jeep dealers have launched a pilot marketing project with the California Department of Parks and Recreation and its nonprofit organization, the California State Parks Foundation, to urge residents to enjoy vacations in their own state.

Under the agreement, Jeep dealers will be called "Proud Partner of California State Parks" in ads and will be the official vehicle of Earth Day 2002.

The dealers, meanwhile, will provide the parks with $2.5 million in cash and marketing support for the park system, host every year to 100 million visitors, up 31% this year alone, the department said in a statement.

John McMahon, marketing chief and deputy director for the parks department, said the effort is the department's first attempt to develop a brand identity campaign. He said that in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Californians will be interested in vacations closer to home.

"Parks naturally become relevant," Mr. McMahon said.

Penatmark Worldwide, San Francisco, is handling the account.

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