Glamping is having a Moment – and so have the Haters

27 May 2015 | Episode |

There’s another “don’t move my cheese” purist hater, and this time the New York Times picked up the ‘opinion’ piece by Christopher Solomon a contributing editor at Outside magazine titled “Our Pampered Wilderness“.

“There’s a long tradition of renting old cabins in parks. Moderately priced yurts are popular now, too. But glamping takes this to another level. Imagine sleeping in a spacious, walled canvas tent on a raised platform. Between high-thread-count sheets. With vanity tables.”


We’ve heard of galloping before, and for the uninitiated, Wikipedia is your friend:

Glamping is a portmanteau of glamour and camping and describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. Glamping has become particularly popular with 21st century tourists seeking the luxuries of hotel accommodation alongside the escapism and adventure recreation of camping.

Think Kinfolk meets Anthropologie meets Pinterest, mixed with a dose of urban yuppie-hipster.  So, it’s trendy, cool, potentially expensive and people share their experience on Instagram (or it didn’t happen).But Mr. Solomon shares with us his acceptable level of outdoor experience and by sharing he means pronouncing in what way everyone is allowed to enjoy the outdoors.

“This (Glamping) is the worst thing to happen to public camping since poison ivy.” he claims.

No, it’s certainly not.

Washington State boasts well over one hundred state parks, add to three incredible National Parks, a few National Monuments, and several National Forest for recreation. There’s is plenty of space for the obligatory poor kid from Spokane, who gets mentioned in every one of those articles and the yuppie, working for Amazon wanting rolling up to a camp site with his Audi and expectations for free wifi.

burgersThe underlying issue is always underfunding:

“The villains are not the parks but the state legislatures. Since 2008, spending by state parks has increased by only $100 million, to $2.4 billion. At the same time, state budget allocations to these parks have declined by $250 million, forcing parks to cut operations or turn to other sources of money.”


From the ‘Art of the American West‘ exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum.

But park management is not allowed to try to be innovative and test out new ideas for revenue generating. No. We just have to hope that articles like these rally enough purist outdoor lovers to the polls every year.

Great strategy there!
The budget has been getting cut for many years now. And the articles just keep coming.
What do you call someone who does the same thing over and over and expect different results?

This is worst thing that happened to our public land in the last decade:

In the face of constant underfunding by legislative bodies on the state and federal level public land supporters over and over again keep turning a blind eye to the reality that times are changing and new approaches to the outdoors, the wilderness, and how public lands are managed and enjoyed are vitally necessary and require more, way more than just a rallying cry to hate whatever new idea someone is coming up to let people enjoy our lands.
Yes, there is lots of work been done and needing to be done on a legislative and political level. But American’s Great Idea and the way Americans have enjoyed that idea has been subsidized for too long by too little to go around to keep it going.

Take for example the first National Parks. Many of the infrastructure our purists enjoy today were built so car travelers could visit those lands and landmarks from the comfort of their car. That was the time, that was the place for this kind of infrastructure development which allowed millions of Americans to see and experience those fabulous places for the first and possible only time.

Today our purists take many of this  man-made infrastructure for granted, much of what is in desperate need for repair and improvements. They expect that moving forward only their view of what an outdoor experience was, is and used to be, is the acceptable form of engaging with nature.

They are wrong.

The outdoor writers of yesterday are under the impression they are descendants of John Muir fighting a fight from the last century.
New voices are needed, new ideas need to have room to be tested, tried and improved upon.
We often wish government agencies would be a bit more “silicon valley” in their approach to try new things. But once they do, the haters, who claim to be such big supporters of the very people who are tasked with managing our lands start screaming into their own echo-chamber.

It’s easy to claim being a traditionalist and quite frankly it’s cheap. No matter how many romantic stories of roasting s’mores over an open fire one conjures up to make us all believe you have a right to tell everyone of the proper way to enjoy the outdoors. There’s always someone else, most likely a possible voter, who loves their s’mores, or their craft beer just a bit different. Time to embrace the new world.

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