The Trump administration is reportedly considering proposals that would bring big changes to the nation's national parks, including privatizing campgrounds and blacking out senior discounts during peak holiday seasons.
The Los Angeles Times reports some of the ideas under consideration are expanding WiFi service, allowing Amazon deliveries at campsites, and limiting the use of senior admission discounts. The changes would help pay for a huge maintenance backlog totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Our recommendations would allow people to opt for additional costs if they want, for example, Amazon deliveries at a particular campsite,” said Derrick Crandall, vice chairman of the committee and a counselor with the nonprofit National Park Hospitality Assn. “We want to let Americans make their own decisions in the marketplace.”
But the group’s proposals face angry opposition from conservation organizations and senior citizen advocates, who call them a transfer of public assets to private industry, including businesses led by executives appointed to the Outdoor Advisory Committee.
“If we’d known there’d be a big pushback to proposed blackouts on senior discounts, we might have dropped that off the list,” Crandall said. “All we’re saying is that it may not make sense on peak days like July 4 weekend to let seniors compete with a family with kids for a campsite.”
The Interior Department recently signed off on an order allowing electric bicycles to be used on federal trails in national parks. Other possible additions include food trucks, equipment rentals and mobile camp stores.