Fairly soon you will be able to enjoy viewing the majesty of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park while also sipping on your favorite Starbucks drink. But not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.
The park’s concessionaire, Yosemite Hospitality, a division of Aramark, is working with Starbucks to sell its brew in the Food Court at the Yosemite Valley Lodge.
Lisa Cesaro, marketing manager of Yosemite Hospitality, said the addition of Starbucks is part of Aramark’s renovation project of the food court that will be renamed Basecamp Eatery. The new space is expected to open this spring and will offer sandwiches, salads, soups and specialty coffee drinks.
“We are trying to enhance the visitor experience,” she said. “And this is just one of the many improvements we will be making in the coming years.”
Although this won’t be a free-standing Starbucks store, some Yosemite supporters don’t like the idea of a multinational corporation like Starbucks gaining a foothold in the national park.
Freddy Brewster, who lives in the area, worries that the inclusion of Starbucks will lead to more national retailers.
“I worry that this will set a precedent that will allow the concessionaire to essentially rent out spaces to other major corporations,” he said. “If this is approved I am concerned that it could lead to a grocery store sponsored by Walmart or a Mountain Shop that will turn into a satellite REI. This could start a trend that has already seen the introduction of corporate sponsors like Budweiser, REI, and Subaru for the NPS.”
Brewster is among more than 3,500 people who have signed a petition on www.change.org. The petition says, in part: “The Park will lose its essence, making it hardly distinguishable from a chaotic and bustling commercial city.”
Cesaro said she was aware of the petition, but plans for the Starbucks are moving forward. She said she is confident Starbucks will do well.
“It is an international brand, and we have a lot of our visitors who are international travelers,” she said.