Proposal seeks to modernize campgrounds
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Food trucks. Wi-Fi. Hot showers.
Those campground upgrades could be coming to a national park near you.
The Interior Department is reviewing recommendations to modernize campgrounds at national parks. The recommendations posted online this week come from an advisory committee created under former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that has been looking at ways for private businesses to operate on public lands.
The vice chairman of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee, Derrick Crandall, said many campgrounds don’t meet visitors’ expectations. Allowing the private sector to run them would free up park staff for interpretation, safety needs or other visitor services, he said.
Redesigning some campgrounds, and adding running water, tent and cabin rentals, food trucks, extended family sites and Wi-Fi at select parks also could boost revenue and encourage more people to stay overnight, the committee said.
“We’re basically suggesting that would be a way to improve overall camping experiences,” Crandall said. “Are we talking about pricing people out of national parks through this? Not at all.”
The Interior Department isn’t obligated to enact the recommendations but has said it doesn’t have the money to modernize the more than 1,420 campgrounds in its system nor does every campground need upgrades.
“Once the report is reviewed, we’ll respond accordingly,” department spokesman Nicholas Goodwin said.