Before arriving in Taylorsville, I thought I knew what to expect. I had lived in a few small towns and traveled through many others. But in the northeastern Sierra, I found a character all its own.
On chilly early morning walks, pouncing pumas are a primary concern. On twilight drives, it’s rare to see fewer than two dozen deer, a skunk, and a fox. (I consider myself lucky if this encounter is anytime except when they’re staring back at me through my headlights.) In valleys nestled in mountain arms of manzanita and pine—studded with snowy peaks—ouzels dip in rushing creeks and owls sit on wires, listening for mice.
Imagine camping in a national park. Do you picture sitting around a smoldering campfire enjoying gooey s’mores and planning tomorrow’s hike? Me too. But a team of Trump-appointed advisors wants to modernize that outdated scene.
Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that an advisory committee pitched a plan to “upgrade” national park campgrounds with Wi-Fi, food trucks, and even Amazon deliveries. America’s Best Idea is too old-fashioned, they argued. It must join the rest of us in the 21st century. Their new proposal begs the question: do the national parks need a technological revolution?
Before diving into the downsides of the recommendations, I should acknowledge that the committee proposed some much-needed improvements: more campsites designed for extended families, improved partnership and planning with gateway communities, and better equipment rentals in the national parks. But the detractors in their proposal far outweigh its bright spots.