Should Starbucks be present in a national park like Yosemite? More than 20,500 signers of a Change.org petition don’t think so. The petition says opening the Starbucks would pave the way for more undue development and the national park “will lose its essence, making it hardly distinguishable from a chaotic and bustling commercial city.”
The idea of a Starbucks in Yosemite National Park has people livid. “National parks are some of the only free, clean, beautiful and pollution free places we have left. Multi billion dollar corporations don’t belong!” said petition signer Rebekah Stevens of Mariposa, California on Change.org. Signer Felicia Flick of Foresthill, California said, “John Muir would roll in his grave.” People saying they’re from places all over the United States and the world have signed the petition to be sent to representative Tom McClintock, senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, and the Yosemite National Park Administration.
The Starbucks would be part of Base Camp Eatery, Yosemite Hospitality’s renovated food court. Yosemite Hospitality is a corporate subsidiary of Aramark, and senior director of corporate communications David Freireich told Thrillist, “The petition is not an accurate representation or reflection of what is being planned. The Starbucks offering will occupy existing space. No new structures or free-standing stores are being built as part of the food court renovation.”
National parks right now aren’t free of corporations, according to National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson, who told Mashable, “Many of our current concessioners are multi-national corporations. Concessioners fill a vital role in helping the National Park Service carry out its mission. Private companies are drawn to working with NPS in order to offer services to park visitors, which are not provided directly by the government. Concessioners specialize in these operations and are thus able to provide quality services at reasonable prices.” Aramark became a concessioner at Yosemite in 2016 under a 15-year contract.
People continue to sign the petition – at time of publication the number was just over 20,500. Find out more here.