The Rebranding of Yosemite

Outgoing concessionaire trademarked landmarks.

Yosemite signI was flabbergasted to learn that the most iconic features of Yosemite National Park are being renamed. As of March 1, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls will become Yosemite Valley Lodge; The Ahwahnee Hotel will become the Majestic Yosemite Hotel; Curry Village will become Half Dome Village; Wawona Hotel will become Big Trees Lodge, and Badger Pass Ski Area will become Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area.

It seems that DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc., the Delaware North subsidiary that has been the concessionaire running the lodging, food service, bus service, activities and so forth since 1983, trademarked historic names when it learned that its contract was not to be renewed. DNC valued the famous names at $44 million, a sum the Park Service is either unable to pay or prohibited from paying. To me, it’s a hostage situation with one of our treasured parks.

Yosemite Hospitality, a subsidiary of Aramark, is the new concessionaire. This mammoth corporation (270,000 employees) provides food, facilities and uniform services to schools, convention centers, hospitals, large workplaces, remote workplaces (think off-shore oil rigs), correctional facilities  and more across the country and internationally.

I know it’s all about the money, but this stings. And I’m guessing that loyal visitors will continue calling the hotel The Ahwahnee,  the ski area Badger Pass and so on, regardless. And I’m guessing that John Muir is rolling over in his grave.


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