South Sound News

Proposal aims to add Wi-Fi, food trucks, deliveries to national parks

Food trucks, Wi-Fi, and even Amazon deliveries could be coming to some national park campgrounds if a new proposal gets picked up.

The Interior Department is reviewing recommendations to modernize campgrounds across the country, which would allow private businesses to operate on public lands.

The proposal comes from the now-terminated Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee.

It calls current park infrastructure inadequate and out-of-date and aims to turn some campsites into contemporary campgrounds by adding amenities such as running water, tent and cabin rentals, food trucks, extended family sites, and Wi-Fi.

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Supporters said the change would boost revenue and encourage more people to stay overnight.

“Today we had to kind of go to different coffee shops to try to get signal and get Wi-Fi to find our way around and try to figure out where we were going to go, so the Wi-Fi really appealed to me a lot,” said Mount Rainier visitor Abby Gray.

Other visitors aren’t fans of the idea.

“Don’t mess it up, don’t mess it up,” said Rena Watkins. “No doubt in my mind that it would disrupt the system and we don’t need that, we don’t need it. Just come out here and see this stuff the way it is and the way it was meant to be.”

“I think it would cause more noise, more trash, less of the natural beauty,” said Jeb Watkins.

The National Park Service said more than 9.2 million people stayed at campgrounds last year. Many of those visitors are younger and more diverse than in the past.

NPS said the plan isn’t to modernize every campground, but to create a “second-century campground experience.”

In the proposal, parks could nominate their own campgrounds to be part of a modernization pilot program. Five to 10 locations could be chosen as soon as Dec. 1.

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