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Re: National Park Service Releases Prospectus for Business Opportunity in Yosemite National Park

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avatar National Park Service Releases Prospectus for Business Opportunity in Yosemite National Park
July 09, 2014 05:48PM
New contract scheduled to begin on March 1, 2016

The National Park Service (NPS) today has issued a Prospectus soliciting proposals in response to a business opportunity to operate overnight accommodations, food and beverage, retail, auto fuel, recreation activities, and other related services within Yosemite National Park. The Prospectus is available online at: http://concessions.nps.gov/index.htm, or a printed copy is available by contacting NPS Commercial Services Specialist Kimberley Gagliolo via telephone at (415) 623-2227 or email. There is a $50.00 fee for a printed copy of the Prospectus.

The The Prospectus is open to all interested entities and offers must be received by 4:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Thursday, November 20, 2014. Offers should be sent to National Park Service Pacific West Regional Office, ATTN: Kimberly Gagliolo, NPS Commercial Services Specialist, at 333 Bush Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, California 94104.

The new concession contract is scheduled to begin on March 1, 2016 and will be issued for a term of 15 years. This is the park’s primary concession operation and the largest concession contract in the National Park System.
So does this mean that they don't want DNC back or only that they're considering other options?
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DavidK42
So does this mean that they don't want DNC back or only that they're considering other options?

All it means is the contract is up for renewal.
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DavidK42
So does this mean that they don't want DNC back or only that they're considering other options?

I believe that all NPS concessions that take in a certain amount of annual revenue are required to go out for competitive bidding.

There was some controversy over a restaurant in GGNRA that had to go through competitive bidding. The family that operated it started the business and became a concessionaire after NPS bought the property (probably under threat of eminent domain). Many wanted them to get the contract without having to bid. They did win the bid, but to win out they had to promise a lot of things such as changing their menu and making capital improvements.
From what I heard DNC's contract was actually up but because of the delay in the final Merced River Plan, they were running on a temporary contract. When contracts end, they go out to bid and the previous concessionaire has to rebid and there is no guarantee that they will get the contract. This just happened in Glacier National Park when the original concessionaire that started there 100 years ago lost all the lodging inside of Glacier to Xanterra with the exception of the Motel part of the lodging at Lake McDonald. They still will run lodging that is outside the park.
A DNC employee mentioned awhile ago that the Disney "we're still bitter that we couldn't build a ski resort in Mineral King Valley, but we hope you have forgotten about that" Corporation may submit a bid. I'd also expect Xanterra to throw their hat into the ring. Still, given that DNC now has Kings Canyon and Sequoia, they probably have a cost advantage in that they can share facilities in Fresno across all three parks and their private Tenaya Lodge.
I think it's a shame that the NPS puts all the concessions in the park in one contract with one company giving them a monopoly for the next 15 years. I think a little competition in food service might greatly improve the quality at Yosemite. When one company runs all the food outlets, there isn't a whole lot of incentive to offer good value.

I guess we'll get 15 more years of poor quality food due to the NPS policy.
Logistically, it doesn't make sense to have more than one concessionaire in Yosemite Valley. The concessionaire "back-end" footprint in Yosemite Valley (its warehouse, employee housing, garage, etc.) is already large enough with just one concessionaire, I can't imagine what it would be like with duplicate "back-end" facilities for multiple concessionaires.

The prices that the concessionaire can charge are regulated by a NPS commission, and except for the lodging inside Yosemite, are in-line with the prices charged by the surrounding communities (as it supposed to be).

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plawrence
The prices that the concessionaire can charge are regulated by a NPS commission

Which used to work well. Not so much these days.
I guess I just don't agree that the current regulated monopoly is working well. As far as "back-end" facilities, I'm not sure how much additional employee housing would be necessary if half of the outlets had a different operator? I suppose if you believe that free markets never work, then this system probably is best.
Having two concessionaires would not make it a free market since a free market requires free entry and exit to and from the market. At best, having two concessionaires would just change a monopoly to an oligopoly.

The best solution is for NPS to do a better job regulating prices and the level of service provided by the concessionaires they choose to provide visitor services at their national parks.
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