Ahwahnee no more.
What do you think about when you read or hear about the historic Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village, Badger Pass Ski Area, or the Wawona Hotel? Among other things, Yosemite National Park would probably come to mind.
Well think again because Yosemite National Park officials have just announced the names will change as a result of a lawsuit over ownership of the intellectual property. This is no joke.
On March 1st, Yosemite National Park will rename Curry Village to Half Dome Village. The Badger Pass Ski Area will be called the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area. The Wawona Hotel will change to the Big Tree Lodge. And the legendary Ahwahnee Hotel will forever be known as the Majestic Yosemite Hotel.
This unfortunate circumstance has all come to pass because Delaware North, the former Yosemite concessionaire for the past 23 years, obtained trademarks on the famous names of many storied structures and camps in the National Park. As a result, it sued the current concessionaire (Aramark) for $51 million.
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The National Park Service's position is that Delaware North did not have a right to file for the trademarks without informing them. Although the government will continue to fight the lawsuit, it opted to do an end around and change the names rather than risk a court-ordered closure of the contended facilities and/or having Aramark pay any money.
Everyone is going to lose out on the name change. Park and concessionaire employees are upset, Park visitors are livid and, according to National Park officials, it will cost more than $1 million to change signage, collateral, newsletters, and websites. Oh, and Delaware North was irritated it wasn't going to get any money.
So what can we do?! At the very least, we can start by signing a petition that supports keeping the existing names. Let our voices be heard loud and clear! CampsitePhotos.com has set up a petition on our website that you can ?sign? in support of keeping the names the same. The petition will be open through February 29th. On March 1st we will send it to Yosemite National Park, the National Park Service, news media outlets, and even Delaware North.
So please help out and sign the petition today. Spread the word to anyone and everyone. Together, we can help stop the madness and preserve the some of the unique history of Yosemite.
Regards, Park Ranger