The Trump administration is considering privatizing national park campgrounds, adding food trucks, Amazon deliveries to camp sites, increased Wi-Fi service, and removing senior discounts during peak holiday seasons, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The heads of the "Made in America" Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee within the Interior Department claim this could make national parks more appealing to young people while raising the quality of the park facilities that face a long wait for maintenance. The committee is also considering ending senior discounts at park campgrounds during the peak seasons around holidays.
"Our recommendations would allow people to opt for additional costs if they want, for example, Amazon deliveries at a particular campsite," Derrick Crandall, the panel's vice chair and a counselor for the National Park Hospitality Association, told the Times. "We want to let Americans make their own decisions in the marketplace."
However, advocates for environmental conservation and senior citizens raised concerns about the proposed privatization.
"America's outdoor heritage is on the line," said Jayson O’Neill, deputy director of the Western Values Project, a Montana-based public land rights watchdog group. "The trouble with these recommendations is that they were written by concessionaire industry representatives vying for more control of national parks."
Bill Sweeney, senior vice president of government affairs for AARP, told the Times, "This proposal is an insulting attempt to push older Americans out of our national parks. The cost of a senior pass already jumped in recent years from $10 to $80, and this proposal would further hurt older Americans who want to visit national parks. Enough is enough."
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