Does Yosemite need a Starbucks?

Starbucks trash
CC BY 2.0 Daniel Spils

More than 20,000 people have signed a petition asking that a new Starbucks be stopped from opening in the national park.

Over 20,000 people have signed a petition to stop Starbucks from opening a franchise in Yosemite National Park. Initiated by an unnamed 'Concerned Citizen,' the petition takes an aggressive stance against corporate creep into the wilderness:

"Multinational corporations have no place in our National Parks. 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."

Aramark, the company responsible for food concessions within park boundaries, says the development is being portrayed unfairly. It told Munchies that the new Starbucks would be part of a renovation of the food court at Yosemite Valley Lodge.

"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 this renovation."

But it's not the type of structure that concerns Starbucks' critics so much as the fact that a giant coffee chain would have a presence in one of the country's most famously beautiful places -- especially a chain infamous for the non-recyclable waste it generates. Starbucks may fit into urban streets and shopping plazas, but not Yosemite's rugged beauty.

The petition's message has resonated with many people and the number of signatures has doubled in the past five days. Supporters have left passionate statements on the petition's 'Reasons for Signing' section.

Sandra Mullen wrote, "I want to experience something different than every mall in the country." Laura Massey said, "Adding brandname anything will further disrupt the Yosemite experience and take away the experience of being REMOVED from the everyday life of consumerism and capitalism." Maritza Krechmery said, "Yosemite is beautiful without Starbucks and all the trash this will bring. Drink water!"

There seems to be a distinct fear that this development could lead to further commercialization of the park. From the petition:

"This Starbucks development is a glaring slide down a slippery slope. What direction has Yosemite been heading in recent years? Where will this development take the trend? When will it stop?"

There were numerous job postings listed, but now only a single Starbucks Store Manager position remains on Indeed.

The petition will be presented to Tom McClintock, representative for the congressional district where Yosemite is located, as well as California senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein.

You can read the full petition here.

What do you think? Should Yosemite have a Starbucks? Does it make a difference whether a coffee shop at Yosemite Valley Lodge is owned by a huge corporation or is a small, private business?

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