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For Immediate Release: 10/26/2019

An advisory panel created by former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is recommending that the Interior Department privatize more campgrounds and allow services such as Wi-Fi and food trucks, in addition to other commercialized services, at national park campgrounds.

“The recommendations put forward by the ‘Made in America’ Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee to privatize national park campgrounds are an ill-advised and self-serving nod to business interests,” says Phil Francis, chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National parks.

Francis believes that, “these initiatives will only result in more commercialized services at national park campgrounds. And it has been my experience that private companies only want to operate specific campgrounds with high revenues while leaving the rest of the campgrounds for the National Park Service (NPS). Campground fees are needed to maintain all park campgrounds.

In addition, these suggested initiatives will increase noise pollution and crowding at locations where visitors often go to get away from the trappings of everyday life. Truly, they represent a threat to the visitor experience at national parks.”

Francis goes on to say that the committee’s recommendations would entirely disregard the competitive process by assigning select campgrounds to private sector operators. He is concerned that the suggested experimental program would not provide a true assessment of whether outsourcing campgrounds would be in the public interest.

“Having NPS employees at campgrounds, in uniform, is important to ensure that visitors are well served. We are strongly against these recommendations and denounce them as just another attempt to privatize our national parks and public lands.”

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The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks is a reliable, respected, and effective advocate for achievement of the mission and goals of the National Park Service. Recognized as the Voices of Experience, CPANP studies, educates, speaks, and acts for the preservation and protection of the National Park System, and mission-related programs of the National Park Service. CPANP represents over 1,700 current, former, and retired employees and volunteers of the National Park Service, with over 40,000 collective years of stewardship of America’s most precious natural and cultural resources. More information can be found at https://protectnps.org.