Every year, four million people visit California’s Yosemite Valley, an area that Teddy Roosevelt once described as “a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man.” So naturally, it makes sense that America’s biggest specialty coffee company, Starbucks, wants a piece of all that tourist action.
The Fresno Bee recently learned that chain is working with Yosemite Hospitality — an offshoot of food mega-company Aramark — to bring Starbucks to the food court in the Yosemite Valley Lodge. This won’t be a freestanding store, but part of a proposed revamp of the food court that Yosemite Hospitality is calling Basecamp Eatery. “We are trying to enhance the visitor experience,” says Yosemite Hospitality marketing manager Lisa Cesaro. “And this is just one of the many improvements we will be making in the coming years.” A job listing for “Starbucks Store Manager — Yosemite” is currently live on Indeed.
Restaurants in national parks tend to offer approachable menus that also reflect some regional food traditions. It’s oftentimes a tricky balancing act, but some Yosemite-lovers feel that a mega-brand like Starbucks will clash with the natural vibe and independent spirit of the park itself. So far, over 11,000 people have signed a Change.org petition aimed at stopping Starbucks from bringing its goods and services to the park.
The mission statement reads, in part: “The opening of a 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.”
And judging by the comments, the Yosemite fans are truly livid about this news. “The last thing I want to see is garbage and plastic at such a beautiful place,” writes one fan named Amie. “Money is not everything. You can not replace Nature.” Meanwhile, another petition-signer named Luke notes: “Their coffee is trash and apparently so is their respect for the environment.”
Yosemite Hospitality is aware of the Change.org petition, but is still moving forward with its plans to bring the ‘Bucks to the park this spring.
• The plan to offer Starbucks coffee in Yosemite is making some people jittery. [Fresno Bee]
• No, There Should Not Be a Starbucks In Yosemite! [Jezebel]
• Stop Starbucks in Yosemite [Change.org]
• Dining in the Wilderness: The Restaurants in America’s National Parks [E]