The Interior Department’s Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee—which formed in March 2018 and dissolved just last week—has issued a memo recommending ways the National Park Service can increase revenue in America’s national parks and public spaces. The ideas they propose are controversial, to say the least. USA Today reports that the committee recommends “offering the private sector a bigger role” in keeping up the parks’ infrastructure. And what’s bigger than Amazon?
The “high-quality contemporary campgrounds” outlined in the memo envision a modern utopia of food trucks, mobile pop-up shops for visitors, and on-site Amazon deliveries for convenience while camping. These amenities would potentially be funded by new “baseline fees,” though the committee anticipates such measures will lure more young people to the parks.
Like the controversial opening of a Starbucks in Yosemite last year, these intersections of public and private interests is particularly fraught when it comes to national parks, which are largely considered a haven from the trappings of modern life rather than a place that sorely lacks them. And even for those who support the idea of increased access to concessions, corporate involvement could raise costs on such amenities. It’s hard to imagine waiting in line for some carne asada halfway down the Grand Canyon, or using Amazon’s 1-Click ordering to replace a busted carabiner, but the government could be poised to enact the proposals that make cliffside tacos and woodland Prime deliveries a reality.