YOSEMITE – The National Park Service (NPS) has selected Yosemite Hospitality, LLC, a subsidiary of Aramark, to receive the new primary concession contract for providing visitor services in Yosemite National Park.
The 15-year contract – the largest single concession contract in the NPS – is expected to begin on March 1, 2016, and will include overnight accommodations, food and beverage operations, retail sales, fuel sales, bike and raft rentals, and a variety of other recreational activities throughout the park.
“We’re very excited about bringing on Aramark to operate our primary concessions,” stated Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher. “Aramark brings tremendous resources to the table and has extensive experience in operating concessions at many other national parks. We believe they’ll be a great partner with us at Yosemite as we work to implement the vision of the Merced River Plan.”
In December 2014, it was reported that Delaware North Companies, the current consessionaire, had informed the National Park Service, just as they began soliciting bids for a new concessionaire’s agreement back in July 2014, that it owns the names of some of the park’s most famous spots, including the historic Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village, Yosemite Lodge and Badger Pass, according to documents filed with the Park Service.
Delaware North claimed that they own the tradename and servicemark registrations for all of the names of businesses, restaurants and lodges it has operated for 22 years within Yosemite National Park, and that the Park Service must pay it $51 million in “intellectual property rights” fees for the right to continue to use the names if another concessionaire was chosen.
According to park spokesperson Scott Gediman, “That issue will need to be worked out between Delaware North and Aramark. Both the valuation and legitimacy of the trademarks.”
Aramark has gross revenues of $14.8 billion and employs more than 270,000 employees in 21 countries and currently holds eight other NPS contracts with gross revenues of over $110 million in 2013, including concessions at Lake Mead and Glen Canyon National Recreation Areas, as well as Mesa Verde, Olympic, Denali, and Glacier Bay National Parks.
Aramark will provide a variety of services to the public, including continuing to operate the Yosemite Valley shuttle system free of charge to all visitors. Additionally, under the new contract, concession operations will achieve several operational improvements including reducing vehicle traffic in Yosemite Valley, increasing water conservation, reducing electricity and fuel usage, and enhancing food and beverage operations for visitors, says park spokesman Scott Gediman.
The contract has been sent to Aramark for signature and, once signed, will be transmitted to Congress for a 60-day notice period as stipulated by law. After this period, the NPS will sign and award the contract, then work with the existing concessionaire and Aramark to complete an orderly transition.
DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. has operated under the existing contract since 1993, grossing over $146 million in 2014. They recently completed a well-received upgrade to the furnishings in all rooms at Yosemite Lodge and have operated and maintained two of the park’s National Historic Landmarks and major visitor attractions, The Ahwahnee and the Wawona Hotel, completing numerous upgrades to these facilities over the course of their contract.
“Throughout its tenure as the park’s primary concessionaire, DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. provided quality services and unforgettable experiences to millions of visitors,” stated Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher. “We appreciate all of their work.”
Prior to 1998, concession law provided broad rights granting preferential right of renewal to incumbent concessionaire. Since 1998, with the passage of an act reforming concessions management, issuance of most concession contracts generally became subject to fair and open competition with no preferential right of renewal for the incumbent and bids are evaluated and awarded via a competitive process.
For information about Aramark, visit them online at www.aramark.com.
Information about Yosemite National Park can be found at www.nps.gov/YOSE.