Thanks to a new concessionaire company that has taken over at Yosemite National Park, the traditional names of hotels and other attractions are being changed, prompting anger from long-time employees and visitors to the park.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Aramark, the new concessionaire company that obtained the new contract at a cost of $2 billion, replacing the Delaware North company, has changed the name of the historic Ahwahnee hotel to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel; the Wawona Hotel to the Big Trees Lodge; Curry Village to Half Dome Village; and Badger Pass Ski Area to the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area. Yosemite Lodge at the Falls has been renamed Yosemite Valley Lodge.
But Delaware North, which trademarked the original names with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, sued the National Park Service for millions in compensation, according to the Fresno Bee.
As products bearing the previous names have been sold out, some visitors have expressed fury at the changes being implemented. One visitor told the Chronicle, “No one should be able to steal the name of a national park. This is terrible.”
Placerville resident George Lloyd commented, “This whole valley is part of our history. How can you put a value on something like this? It is beyond value.”
One employee used a razor blade to retrieve “Ahwahnee” from a window. A bellman at the Ahwahnee told the Bee, “I’ve said ‘the Ahwah – Majestic Yosemite Hotel’ a few times when answering the phone.” Another admitted, “It’s hard. Some of us have worked here 20 or 30 years. We’ve said that 10 or 15 million times.”
Meanwhile, the Park Service has filed a petition with the Patent Office to cancel the Delaware North trademarks.