Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village to get new names


Yosemite National Park says that it is forced to change many historic names around the park because of a trademark dispute with Delaware North, the concessionaire which recently lost the contract to run facilities at Yosemite. This is bad. Yosemite says it is making the name changes "unwillingly," and the two sides are fighting over whether Delaware North actually owns trademarks for place names in the national park — and how much ransom the company wants to give the names back. Essentially, the name changes sound like a negotiating gambit by Yosemite to put public and political pressure on Delaware North.

How about this: just fix it.

The new names chosen by Yosemite are unspeakably cheesy. The classic Ahwahnee would becomes The Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Curry Village would become Half Dome Village. The Wawona Hotel? How does Big Trees Lodge sound. The Badger Pass ski area would also get a name, as would Yosemite Lodge.

From the Sacramento Bee story:

The name changes amount to a tactical response to the claims by the concession company, formally known as DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite Inc., that it owns the intellectual property and deserves to be paid for it. DNC is a subsidiary of Delaware North, which is based in Buffalo, New York.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., the concession company seeks compensation. The firm contended that its Yosemite intellectual property was worth $51 million, an amount it says it should be paid by the new concession company.

“While it is unfortunate that we must take this action, changing the names of these facilities will help us provide seamless service to the American public during the transition to the new concessioner,” Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.

In a statement Thursday, the Delaware North concession company said it was “shocked and disappointed that the National Park Service would consider using the beloved names of places in Yosemite National Park as a bargaining chip in a legal dispute.”

The company added that it had “previously offered to lease these trademarks, free of any charge,” to allow their continued use at Yosemite.

The concession company’s complaint, filed last September, does not seek to overturn the park service’s award of the new 15-year Yosemite concessions contract to the Philadelphia-based Aramark. Instead, the suit seeks an unspecified amount of damages from the park service.

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