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History is taking a hit at Yosemite, for now

  • TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    The Ahwahnee Hotel, which opened in 1927, will be known as the Majestic Yosemite Hotel when new management takes over beginning Tuesday, the result of an ongoing legal battle involving the National Park Service and the parent company of the outgoing park concessionaire.

Big changes are coming to Yosemite National Park.

On Tuesday a new park concessionaire takes over, and the historic names Ahwahnee, Wawona and Curry apparently will fade into history. At least for a while.

The good news is that park officials say new management will honor all existing reservations. You can check out travelyosemite.com for more info. The new reservations phone number is to be unveiled Tuesday.

Until then you can find information and make park lodging reservations at yosemitepark.com or by calling 801-559-4884 or 801-559-5021.

The incoming company is Yosemite Hospitality, a subsidiary of Philadelphia- based concessions giant Aramark. The outgoing company is DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite Inc., a subsidiary of Buffalo, N.Y.-based concessions giant Delaware North.

If you’re headed to the park, what should you do?

If you have reservations at one of the park’s lodgings, the new concessionaire plans to begin sending confirmations in March. If your reservation is for a stay in March, call to confirm.

If you’re camping, relax. Concessionaires don’t run the park’s 13 campgrounds. The National Park Service handles the campgrounds (recreation.gov), and none of those procedures will change.

Similarly, the Redwoods in Yosemite, a collection of rental cabins in the park’s Wawona area, is independently run and unaffected.

Also unaffected is the popular Tenaya Lodge, an upscale hotel run by Delaware North which is just outside park boundaries in Fish Camp.

You can find the NPS Yosemite transition FAQ page at lat.ms/1oKBJP6 and the Delaware North page at lat.ms/1Tr cJZG.

Horseback rides are expected to continue in the Wawona area. But summer was the final season for day-use horseback rides in Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, park spokesman Scott Gediman said.

As for the name dispute, if no 11th-hour deal is reached, these changes take effect Tuesday:

>> The Ahwahnee Hotel (named in the 1920s) becomes the Majestic Yosemite Hotel.

>> Curry Village (whose name dates to the late 19th century) is to become Half Dome Village.

>> Yosemite Lodge at the Falls becomes Yosemite Valley Lodge.

>> The Wawona Hotel (another name that dates to the 19th century) becomes Big Trees Lodge.

>> Badger Pass Ski Area becomes Yosemite Ski &Snowboard Area.

>> Tenaya Lake’s name remains unchanged.

The name controversy flared in June when the NPS awarded the park contract to Aramark, spurning incumbent Delaware North. Delaware North filed a lawsuit in September in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, arguing that it should be paid $44 million for those names and other intellectual property.

Federal officials have argued that those names and assets are worth no more than $1.6 million, Gediman said. In January NPS decided to rename several park landmarks, perhaps temporarily, depending on the outcome of the legal battle.

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