It's an unusual move, but officials say the names of hotels and a ski area in the park are being changed. That's because the concessionaire, Delaware North Company claims to own the names and is demanding $51 million for the park to use them.
The parks beauty conceals a bitter battle. Delaware North has run the park's hotels and concessions for more than 20 years, but they lost the bid to run those services to another company. So, rather than go gracefully, they've staked a claim to key names of park properties and demanded more than $50 million in compensation.
Yosemite National Park Spokesman Scott Gediman says the park service rejects the claim. "The National Park Service strongly disagrees the claim that Delaware North is making," he said. "The names of the structures belong with the structures and the structures belong to the American people. And we do not believe Delaware North is entitled to any compensation for the names associated with those historic structures. "
However, in order to seamlessly allow the transition to a new concessionaire on March 1, the Park Service has decided to change the names to avoid legal hassles.
The Yosemite Lodge at the Falls will become Yosemite Valley Lodge.
The Awhwanhee hotel will become the Majestic Yosemite Hotel
Curry Village will become Half Dome Village
Wawona Hotel will be known as the Big Trees Lodge
and Badger Pass Ski area will become the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area
Gediman says the hope is the name change is temporary, but it depends on what happens in court. Delaware North issued a statement saying:
"DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (DNCY) is 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 between DNCY and the NPS involving basic contract rights."