Home / US / Food trucks and Amazon deliveries in national parks? Not so fast, some visitors say.

Food trucks and Amazon deliveries in national parks? Not so fast, some visitors say.



A proposal to the Trump administration that food trucks, Wi-Fi and Amazon supplies be allowed at campgrounds in national parks got the thumbs down this week from some visitors to Yosemite National Park.

The idea comes as the Department of Interior considers recommendations from an advisory committee to modernize and privatize the operation of campsites, including adding running water, tent and cottage rentals and extended family sites at selected parks.

The recommendations were published online last month, and no decisions have been made, said a National Parks Service official.

"We basically suggest it would be a way to improve the overall camping experience," said Derrick Crandall, vice chairman of the Outdoor Advisory Committee, in an interview last month with the Associated Press. "Are we talking about pricing people out of national parks through this? Not at all."

He told the Los Angeles Times that "Our recommendations would allow people to choose extra costs if they wanted, for example, Amazon deliveries at a particular campground."

Some visitors to Yosemite National Park in California told NBC News this week that they do not think that amenities like Wi-Fi are necessary for the famous attraction.

"Not sure why you would need Amazon packages to be delivered to you when in a national park," said visitor Jen Storie.

"This is where you can connect to the earth and what's here," said Dan Farquhar, of Roseville, California. I don't want much outside interference.

"I can do without Wi-Fi, and I think many people would be better off coming here to get off Wi-Fi," he added. "… when you have Wi-Fi, that's what you do. You spend a lot of your time on your phone, when you should absorb what's here."

Recommendation letter from "Made in America" ​​Outdoor Advisory Committee for recreation, created by former Home Secretary Ryan Zinke, says there is "broad agreement" that the current national park's campground system, largely run by federal employees, "combines inadequate and outdated visitor infrastructure."

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The Committee states that the campsites have not met the demands of modern users, and that although the data on the campsites is of varying quality, evidence of amenities such as internet connections and food services can increase the agency's income and the costs could be transferred to the private sector.

Hundreds of visitors gather at Glacier Point to watch the sunset over the Half Dome and the sweeping Sierra Nevada Mountain Range on October 5, 2019 in Yosemite National Park, California George Rose / Getty Images file

David Vela, Deputy Director of the National Park Service, said that the advisory committee was dissolved on November 1, and that both the Interior Department and the park's service are reviewing the proposals.

"No action has been taken on the Committee's recommendations, nor will any action be taken in the future unless and until the Department of the Interior and National Park Se determine the recommendations will improve visitor experience, protect resources for the National Park and are determined to be prudent investments; "Vela said in a statement.

Scott Gehrman, founder and CEO of Lasting Adventures, Inc., a tour guide for hiking, backpacking and other outdoor trips, said that some Yosemite campsites can be modernized, including updated toilets.

But he worries about how much commercialization a place that Yosemite, with its breathtaking views and high waterfalls, can handle. [19659002] "I've always said something, I'm worried if you drive into Yosemite and it looks like Las Vegas – you know, we don't want to register anywhere," he said.

Yosemite already offers food services, but demand is still high.

"Yosemite used to have a food truck over one of its most famous tracks, and it was just kind of discreetly mixed in," Gehrman said. "So I'm not necessarily against the idea, because if you could make it discreet at a campsite and make it comfortable for people and reduce the lines in some of the other areas, it could be a win-win." [19659002] More than one-third of the 419 properties operated by the National Park Service have campsites ranging from primitive, background sites without amenities to easy-to-reach campgrounds. About 6 percent are operated by concessionaires, according to the committee. Few have amphitheater, Wi-Fi, electricity or hot shower all year round.

The Committee said that individual parks can nominate campsites for selection in a pilot program of five to 10 sites that would be modernized or improved, especially those with few visitor services.

The entire national park system recorded over 318 million recreational visits in 2018, the third highest since registration began in 1904. However, the visits were approximately 12.7 million, or 3.8 percent, from 2017.

park service said in a report that closures that still applied last year from 2017 hurricanes in Florida and wildfires in California were among the issues that affected those numbers.

The Home Office need not accept the Committee's recommendations. But it has said that it has no money to modernize the more than 1,420 campsites in its system, nor does it need to be upgraded, the Associated Press reported.

"We don't need food trucks. We don't need Wi-Fi," said Bob Smith, who visited Yosemite this week. "We can get food here. We don't need more garbage and people dropping sausage paper. "

Some younger Yosemite visitors noted that there is already cell service there. And if people want to share photos of the park's amazing sights?

" Save it for later, "she said Story.


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