The 2011 policy, which encouraged parks to eliminate the sale of disposable water bottles, has been rescinded to expand hydration options for recreationists, hikers, and other visitors to national parks.
The ban removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks. The change in policy comes after a review of the policy’s aims and impact in close consultation with Department of the Interior leadership.
“While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds.
Currently only 23 of the 417 National Park Service sites have implemented the policy. The revocation of the memorandum is effective immediately.
Parks will continue to promote the recycling of disposable plastic water bottles and many parks have already worked with partners to provide free potable water in bottle filling stations located at visitor centers and near trailheads.