Avoiding this dumpster fire. We've been at this for years now and it's gotten downright nasty and we're never going to agree on anything, so why even bother anymore? I'd rather sit back and laugh my ass off at the mainstream media losing their shit over a dog meme
The Trump administration is considering plans that would 'modernize' national parks by bringing them food trucks, Wi-Fi, and Amazon deliveries
Members of the Trump Administration — which has called for the privatization of everything from the country's infrastructure, to the Veterans Administration, and even the US Postal Service — are reportedly considering a proposal that would welcome in food trucks, Wi-Fi, and Amazon deliveries to America's protected national parks.
The proposals, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, are intended to make the financially costly parks system more "accessible" to a new generation of smartphone-wielding visitors. But the ideas have elicited a backlash from conservation advocates who are weary of opening protected lands to profit-seeking corporations.
The proposals came by way of a letter sent last month to Trump's Secretary of the Interior, David L. Bernhardt, by the "Made in America" Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee, which advises Bernhardt "on public-private partnerships across all public lands" with the goal of improving public infrastructure.
New modernization efforts would welcome industry giants onto camping grounds
The advisers suggested thinking of campers and visitors as more like "consumers" who should be provided "commercial services" at national parks.
And national parks, according to the committee, aren't meeting consumer demand. It is also underfunded. According to data released by PewTrust, the US National Park Service currently needs over $12 billion in repairs.
"Overall capacity has not kept up with growth and changes in camping demand, and the infrastructure that does exist, with few exceptions, fails to meet expectations of the contemporary camping market," the letter reads.
To improve this experience, the committee recommended a set of ideas meant to "modernize and expand campgrounds for this and future generations of outdoor recreationists."
Those ideas include adding Wi-Fi to campgrounds, setting up camp stores, and providing equipment rentals. All of this, the committee argues, could help increase the number of campers who show up. The letter also suggests bringing in Coachella and ACL-style festival food trucks, rentable tents and cabins, and encourages a "blackout" of senior citizen discount prices during peak visiting hours.
If enacted, these initiatives would potentially transform the national park camping experience away from an unplugged escape to nature and into a playground of industry and advertisement, conservation advocates warn.
The privatization efforts caught the eyes of several prominent politicians, including Montana governor and Democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock.
"National parks are not amusement parks, no matter what Donald Trump thinks," Bullock wrote on Twitter. "We save our national parks investing in infrastructure and expanding access, not by unleashing Amazon drones and barring seniors at the gates."
Shortly after reporting on the Trump administration's considerations of the policy, the Los Angeles Times' editorial board published it's own critical editorial with a title leaving little to interpretation: "Food trucks and Amazon deliveries in national parks are a horrific idea."
The proposals would make parks more expensive for seniors
One of the new proposals under consideration would restrict the use of senior discounts at parks in a greater push to focus on young visitors This, and similar measures prioritizing young people over older visitors, drew criticism from senior advocates like Bill Sweeney, the senior vice president of the AARP.
"This proposal is an insulting attempt to push older Americans out of our national parks," Sweeney said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "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."
The committee, in its letter, argues that all of these suggested efforts are necessary to keep the national parks financially sustainable. Without constant connectivity and millennial-focused food trucks, the letter argues, the smart-phone generation might abandon the idea of camping altogether.
"Should the American public, through lack of enjoyment or shifts in demographics, grow to regard national parks and other public lands and waters as irrelevant or unimportant, Federal agencies risk losing legislative support to maintain public lands for the benefit of all Americans," the letter reads.
Recent studies show a recent boom in the popularity of camping, especially amongst young people. In 2017, according to the 2018 North American Camping Report, Millennials alone made up 40% of all campers.
The Trump Administration has had its sights set on national park spending for years
In making its argument for the new modernization efforts, the "Made in America" Committee pointed to the Interior department's recent insertion of e-bikes — traditional-looking bicycles with small electric motors attached to them — into the parks as guidance. That idea, enacted through Secretary of the Interior Order 3376, allows e-bikes on national park grounds wherever normal bikes are permitted.
That enactment, while a far cry from the kind of aesthetic overall currently being suggested, faced its own pushback from conservation advocates. Dozens of groups opposed the e-bike orders, claiming the motorized bikes could damage park trails.
If the Trump administration does move forward with the proposals, it will be the latest step in a long and consistent series of policies that have allowed private corporations to expand their operations into national parks.
Two years ago, Trump signed two presidential proclamations that removed the federal protections on more than 2 million acres of land in Utah. This, along with a slew of other rollbacks, were compiled in a report published in the journal Science this May.
The White House did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Typically they don't, at least out here in the West. You can often get signal off a tower outside the park, depending on where you are, your carrier, and if you have a sightline to the tower.Don't national parks already have cell towers? seems kind of pointless to add a bunch of WAPs that will probably fail like all of the time. Also yeah plenty of younger folks love outdoors, more than previous gen I would say actually.
After typing it I realized that there are some massive ass parks, either way they don’t need no effing wifi, even my concrete jungle ass understands that...Typically they don't, at least out here in the West. You can often get signal off a tower outside the park, depending on where you are, your carrier, and if you have a sightline to the tower.
As Teddy Roosevelt spins on his grave... As much as I like my cell and WiFi, there are other ways to access phone service and the internet in remote locations. The national parks aren't meant to be built up and filled with modern conveniences (though it has happened on occasion in the past).
It's < 3% the < 3 is converted toThat typo is too good to let slide, I am sorry.
I guess having cell towers inside the parks for that purpose would make some sense, some of those parks are rather massive and trying to get to the entrance and call for help could take days (assuming one can even move).Near the entrance makes sense for information and ability to call for emergency services. Beyond that, to to a hotel if you want modern conveniences.
I guess having cell towers inside the parks for that purpose would make some sense, some of those parks are rather massive and trying to get to the entrance and call for help could take days (assuming one can even move).
Well it really depends on a lot of factors, size of the park and topography would make a huge impact. I have spotty cell coverage even going through some areas of upstate NY because of all the, relatively small, mountains and that area is very well developed compared to stuff out west. Think of something like Yellowstone, that's gonna need a LOT of towers to have any kind of useful coverage.The towers don't need to be inside the parks exactly. Just outside would do with a taller tower and directional antenna to reach farther into the park.