Stop the privatization of America's national parks
Here's a frightening idea: Grand Canyon, sponsored by Coca Cola. Yosemite, brought to you by McDonalds. Acadia, a subsidiary of Aramark.
Under a scheme hatched by former disgraced Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, that could be the eventual fate of America's national parks.
Reporters recently uncovered shady plans between the Interior Department and national park profiteers, the RV and hospitality industries, and enemies of public lands to privatize national park campgrounds, allow commercialized food trucks and other services at parks, limit benefits for seniors and increase prices.1
This plan would be a massive giveaway to corporate interests and Trump donors who stand to profit from national park privatization. We must speak out now to stop it.
Tell the Department of the Interior: Stop the privatization of national parks.
According to the recently discovered memo, the Trump administration’s “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee recommends privatizing national park campgrounds, which are currently managed by the National Park Service, instituting blackout dates and restrictions on senior benefits, increasing fees, expanding infrastructure that could harm wildlife habitat, and allowing mobile food trucks and camp stores on national park grounds.2
These measures will not only limit access for seniors and low income people to these pristine public lands - selling out our national parks to private interests will also line the pockets of Trump donors. Jerry Jacobs Jr., the billionaire chairman of Delaware North, a massive food service and concessionaire with deep interests in America's national parks, sits on the “Made in America” committee, donated at least $167,700 to Trump and stands to make massive profits if the Interior Department follows through with this scheme.
Privatizing America's national parks is another example in a long line of actions by the Trump administration to hand over public lands to private interests and donors, whether it's the fossil fuel industry, mining companies or corporate food and lodging. According to Western Values Project Deputy Director Jayson O’Neill, "Privatizing America’s public campgrounds and jacking up national park fees to appease big-business concessionaires and powerful corporate campaign donors is just the latest egregious attempt to rip public lands out of public hands."3
Activism to protect our national parks from Trump donors and corporate interests works. Thanks in part to more than 143,000 CREDO members who signed our petition, the names of historic locations at Yosemite National Park will be restored to their well-known names, a big victory over billionaire Jacobs who brought a frivolous lawsuit against the NPS.4
We must speak out loud and clear that our beloved national parks are America's public lands, not a private, money-making playground for billionaire Trump donors.
Thanks for speaking out.
- Frederick Reimers, "A New Plan to Make Camping in National Parks Worse," Outside, Oct. 21, 2019.
- Alexander Nazaryan, "Trump advisory council recommends expanding private business in national parks," Yahoo News, Oct. 11, 2019.
- Yetta Stein, "Plans to Privatize National Parks Outlined in Trump Admin Memo, Would Enrich Donors & Special Interests," Western Values Project, Oct. 11, 2019.
- Josh Nelson, "Victory: Yosemite keeps historic names," CREDO Mobile, Sept. 9 2019.