Starbucks is now brewing coffee in California’s Yosemite Valley even though 25,000 people signed a petition to prohibit the coffee shop from opening at the 128-year-old national park, reports the Daily Meal.
Opponents of the Starbucks had argued that the presence of major brands like Starbucks could destroy the “essence” of the park.
The new shop is operating out at the park’s Base Camp Eatery, which cost $7 million to remodel. According to KFSN-TV, the name and décor represent the area’s rock climbing community. Without any signage, the store will be virtually unrecognizable to passersby — an attempt to keep the property as natural-looking as possible.
In addition to coffee, the dining hall will also sell wholesome food items to align with visitors who want to “be healthy, and hike,” Brian Stapleton, vice president of food and beverage for park vendor Aramark, told KFSN. “We’re trying to replicate menu items that facilitate that whole concept.”
The online petition describes the Starbucks opening as a “glaring slide down a slippery slope” and criticizes the lack of public involvement and transparency in the decision.
“Multinational corporations have no place in our National Parks,” the petition declares. “The opening of 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 petitioners aren’t happy about the opening, tourists don’t seem to mind.
“I think it’s good. Because no matter what Starbucks you go to it’s all the same. Same quality and you know what you are getting as soon as you walk in,” Tom Collin told The Guardian. The 23-year-old vacationer from Australia said he appreciated the familiarity of the international chain.
Do we really need any commercial ventures blighting our National Parks, let alone Starbucks? What next, McDonald’s at the base of Yosemite Falls, or Domino’s delivering to the top of El Capitan?! And don’t even get me started on litter…
What do you think? Start of a slippery slope for our National Parks, or great for attracting more people to view our National wonders?