The food court at the Yosemite Valley Lodge in Yosemite National Park is set for an overhaul this spring. As The Fresno Bee reports, the food court will be relaunched as the Basecamp Eatery. It is also working on selling Starbucks coffee within the Basecamp Eatery.
This decision by the park’s concessionaire Yosemite Hospitality, which is a division of Aramark, is being met with opposition by some Yosemite supporters. It has even garnered a petition online entitled “Stop Starbucks in Yosemite.”
The petition reads: “Multinational corporations have no place in our National Parks [sic]. The opening of a Starbucks in Yosemite Valley opens the door to further undue development. The Park will lose its essence, making it hardly distinguishable from a chaotic and bustling commercial city.”
While the plan is not a stand-alone Starbucks and merely to just serve Starbucks coffee in the revamped food court, the petition and its supporters see this as an affront to local businesses in the community. They also view the decision to include a multinational corporation into a national park as a slippery slope towards commercialization in all national parks.
Freddy Brewster, who lives near Yosemite, told The Fresno Bee: “I worry that this will set a precedent that will allow the concessionaire to essentially rent out spaces to other major corporations.
“I am concerned that it could lead to a grocery store sponsored by Walmart or a Mountain Shop that will turn into a satellite REI. This could start a trend that has already seen the introduction of corporate sponsors like Budweiser, REI and Subaru for the NPS.”
While that remains to be seen if the National Park Service has those intentions, another point that could be raised is about the sort of footprint disposable Starbucks coffee cups may have on the tonnage of waste in Yosemite. Their thick to-go cups are notoriously not recyclable because of their plastic lining.
With so much demand on national parks by increasing amounts of visitors (which creates more waste), there will certainly be a cost-benefit of these sorts of decisions. Proposed reservation systems and increasing peak season entrance fees are a few of the other options the NPS is toying with at the moment.
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