Classism at State Parks?

campingState parks are among some of our nation’s greatest treasures. Not only are they important for conservation, they also provide an affordable way for the public to reconnect with nature.

But many state legislatures have cut funding for state parks in recent years, and park administrators are looking for new ways to bring in revenue. That can result in some people being shut out of the park experience.

Some state parks are experimenting with “glamping,” camping with all of the luxuries of a hotel. Christopher Solomon writes in his New York Times opinion piece that Washington State recently started reserving some campsites for glampers, at the cost of nearly $500 for a weekend. Which means some families just won’t be able to get a campsite.

State parks belong to all of us. That glamping site? It’s my campsite, too. It also belongs to the poor kid in Spokane who’s not yet craned his neck at a hemlock taller than his apartment building. Not one fire ring should be cordoned off only for those who can pay triple-digit rates to sleep under the stars.

In this era of unequaled unequalness, state parks have no business segregating people based on bank balance. Those who can’t afford to pay need to feel a bracing breeze off a park’s mountain lake just as much as those who can; in fact, they probably need it more.

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