Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke sees a problem. U.S. national parks need $11.3 billion for deferred maintenance for roads, buildings, bridges and trails that the government can’t afford. Campgrounds are a smaller bucket, comprising just $87.3 million in critical and routine deferred maintenance.
A possible solution? Zinke thinks private companies could provide campground upgrades. That’s something advocates hope could even enlist a new generation to visit national parks.
“Contemporary campers expect a variety of services when they go to a campground,” said Derrick Crandall, counselor for the National Parks Hospitality Association and president of the American Recreation Coalition.
Crandall explained that companies can provide much needed upgrades to park campgrounds while adding amenities like food stores, Wi-Fi, and tent rentals. By his estimate, more than 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas. So while it’s great to get them outside for a taste of the lifestyle, Crandall said you “don’t really need to inconvenience them or scare them off.”
Read the story on Colorado Public Radio’s website.