One of the welcome sights at National Park visitor centers in recent years has been the wall-mounted bottle filling station. Even though it means awkwardly balancing my floppy backpack water bladder under the sensor-controlled spout, I know I’ll have cool, refreshing water for the hike.

Those stations came about, in large part, with a plan to eliminate bottled water.

But now bottled water is back on tap, er, available again at National Park shops.

Back in 2011, the Park Service issued a memo encouraging parks to ax the sale of disposable water bottles in favor of the filing stations as a way to cut down on trash and eliminate waste.

On Wednesday, the Park Service “discontinued” the memo, citing, in part, the hypocrisy of still allowing sugar-packed soda.

“The ban removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks,” Park Service officials said in a release announcing the reversal. 

According to the Park Service, only 23 of the 417 National Park Service sites were operating under the 2011 disposable bottle ban memo as of August. 
Parks will continue to promote water bottles recycling and filling stations..