YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (KFSN) -- A new company is in charge of all concessions inside Yosemite and five iconic buildings have new names because of an ongoing trademark dispute. A major transition started just after midnight but many are still hoping the new names are only temporary.
The swelling falls and rushing river may be the same but a lot has changed inside Yosemite in just the past 24 hours. A subsidiary of Aramark took control of the new concessionaire. "To me, it's pretty amazing to think that, from yesterday to today, we've got a major operation that includes hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and all that. Overnight it went from one company to the next and nothing ever closed," said Scott Gediman, Yosemite spokesperson.
The transition included 8,500 new uniform pieces featuring the Yosemite hospitality logo and different merchandise in the gift stores. But the most noticeable changes involved new names and new signs for five iconic buildings.
At the Awahnee alone everything from shuttle stops to floor mats to this historic landmark monument has been covered up or replaced. "We really don't like it, it's just upsetting. Very upsetting," said Mark Anthony, Friant.
"I feel sort of sad, because, I miss the tradition of the old names," said Kathy Franco, Orange County.
The changes came after the previous concessionaire, Delaware North, trademarked the names of the Awahnee, Curry Village, Wawona Hotel, Yosemite Lodge, and Badger Pass Ski Area.
The company then filed a breach of contract complaint when the National Park Service chose not to make Aramark pay more than $50-million for them. That lawsuit is still pending. "The latest response was filed just a couple of weeks ago. And beyond that, no further action has been taken. There is no court date scheduled and a litigation can literally take years," said Gediman.
Many visitors are hoping the names will eventually be restored. But in the meantime Aramark is planning new upgrades to guestrooms and dining areas as it begins a 15 year contract with Yosemite.
The park service also filed a petition on Friday with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the trademark Delaware owns since the company is no longer associated with Yosemite as of Tuesday. But it's unknown if and when the agency could make a decision.