Yosemite Trademark Dispute Forces National Park Service To Rename Landmarks

Amid the Yosemite trademark dispute, the National Park Service was forced to change the names of numerous historical landmarks, including the Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village. Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher said the changes are “unfortunate,” but necessary to keep the facilities open as Aramark of Philadelphia replaces Delaware North as the park’s concessionaire.

National parks, including Yosemite, are government owned. However, the concession stands, gift shops, guest transportation services, hotels, restaurants, and tours are usually run by hospitality companies, which are commonly referred to as concessionaires.

Delaware North, which has served as Yosemite National Park’s concessionaire since 1993, will be replaced by Aramark on March 1. However, as the names of several iconic landmarks were apparently trademarked by the outgoing concessionaire, they want compensation for Aramark’s use of the names.

Fox News reports Delaware North filed a lawsuit in 2014, demanding $51 million for use of the historical landmark names and other intellectual property associated with Yosemite National Park.

Although the lawsuit is ongoing, the National Park Service was forced to change the names of the landmarks to prevent a disruption in service. Spokesman Scott Gediman confirmed the National Park Service “is fighting for rights to the original names.” However, they do not want guests to experience any interruptions amid Yosemite’s trademark dispute.

The complete list of changes were provided by the National Park Service on Thursday.

  • The Ahwahnee Hotel will be renamed Majestic Yosemite Hotel
  • Badger Pass Ski Area will be renamed Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area
  • Curry Village will be renamed Half Dome Village
  • Wawona Hotel will be renamed Big Trees Lodge
  • Yosemite Lodge at the Falls will be renamed Yosemite Valley Lodge

In addition to the names of the facilities, Delaware North also owns the trademark for the use of “Yosemite National Park” logo on merchandise. It is unclear whether this will prevent Aramark or the National Park Service from selling merchandise bearing the park’s name. Scott Gediman said the trademark’s effect of future merchandise sales is “something that remains to be determined.”

Gediman said the changes are necessary at this time. Unfortunately, they are causing a major inconvenience for the National Park Service and their employees.

“It’s not only signs on the hotel, it’s directional signs around the park,” including the famous brown park signs— not to mention marketing materials and brochures and anything else that uses the trademarked words.”

According to Gediman, the National Park Service was unaware Delaware North applied for and was granted trademarks for the names of the iconic landmarks or the “Yosemite National Park” logo. Outside Online reports park officials simply assumed the “buildings and names went together.”

The Yosemite trademark dispute is causing numerous issues internally. However, the lawsuit itself will not directly effect the guests.

Aramark’s replacement of Delaware North will bring numerous closures and a reduction in some services.

My Yosemite lists the following closures, which will take place on or before March 1.

  • All bike stands
  • Curry ice rink
  • Curry Village raft stand
  • Tuolumne Meadows free shuttle
  • Tuolumne Meadows Mountaineering School
  • Tuolumne Meadows Service Station and Mountaineering Shop
  • Yosemite Lodge Nature Shop
  • Yosemite Village Art Activity Center
  • Yosemite Village Sport Shop

Although the current Tuolumne Meadows Mountaineering School is closing, officials plan to relocate the school to a different location. Aramark also announced the size of the Yosemite Lodge gift shop will be reduced by one-third.

Yosemite’s trademark dispute is ongoing. However, National Park Officials believe landmark name changes will reduce the number of disruptions when Aramark officially takes over on March 1.

[Image via Gert Hochmuth/Shutterstock]