As Rick and I have pointed out, it is the public that actually pays for all this. Any corporation that has to purchase those rights will pass that cost onto their consumers who already paid for them when the previous owner adjusted the prices they charged to cover those costs.

Who really gets hurt are the visitors to the park. Who benefits are the taxpayers. The reason is that the prior concession contract required an off the top payment to the Feds. The number I saw in the Congressional testimony when Delaware North was the successful bidder back in 1993 was over 20% of its revenues (not profits) were projected to be paid to the Feds. That is a significant hurdle and one that increases costs to visitors who are basically captive.

As far as the name changes go, the answer to this is obvious. The public should own the trademarks to all of those, and grant the rights to the lease holder for the duration of the lease.

Let’s look at just one of the properties, the Ahwahnee Hotel. It was privately constructed, financed and owned when the concessionaire contract for Yosemite was being bid and then won by Delaware North in 1993. At that point, the Feds could have readily bought the trademarks and leased them as part of the concessionaire contract, but that would have entailed a cash outlay. So instead the rights went to Delaware North as the Feds required it to assume all the assets and liabilities of Yosemite Park & Curry Company (a private company) and to deed the real property to the NPS.

So in order for “the public should own the trademarks to all of those”, the Feds have to pay just compensation (a requirement under the Fifth Amendment), which they are now refusing to do. On top of that, it appears that the concession contract required that the successor to Delaware North would pay for the intellectual property. Now that won’t happen. So a strong argument can be made that it is the Feds that are in breach.

I have found that since the concessionaires most often have a monopoly and have to pay a large percentage of revenues to the Feds, once the contract is let after the bidding, the competition motive is gone and service suffers. In addition, if there is no benefit at the end of the concession contract, then the investments made have more of a tendency to have a life expectancy that ends coterminous with the lease unless the Feds require certain capital investments. That means at the end of the contract, the facilities may not see the improvements that would have occurred under a different contracting scheme.