Pro­posal seeks to mod­ern­ize camp­grounds

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Valley Life - By FELI­CIA FON­SECA

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.

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