Soapbox

Another View: Don’t blame company for Yosemite name dispute

Visitors dine outside The Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite National Park, one of the iconic names changing in a legal dispute between the National Park Service and Delaware North Cos.
Visitors dine outside The Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite National Park, one of the iconic names changing in a legal dispute between the National Park Service and Delaware North Cos. The Associated Press

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial regarding Yosemite National Park wrongly blamed Delaware North Cos. for the National Park Service’s decision to change the names of concessioner-operated facilities in Yosemite National Park, including The Ahwahnee and Curry Village (“The full cost of the Yosemite shakedown,” Feb. 26).

Since Jan. 2 (and reiterated on Feb.1), the park service has had an offer on the table from Delaware North for a royalty-free license allowing use of the trademarked names free of charge while this issue is resolved. This offer also extends to Aramark, the new concessioner.

For some reason your editorial ignored this information, even after Michael Doyle of McClatchy reported it in a January story.

Delaware North, which leaves Yosemite on Tuesday, is simply seeking compensation as its park service contract and the law require. We had appraisals performed by reputable third-party experts, and the park service has claimed to have done the same. The company has also offered to enter binding arbitration to determine fair value of the assets, but the park service has not taken us up on that offer either.

In a Dec. 29 letter, the park service reaffirmed that Aramark must purchase certain trademarks, making its announcement of a requirement to change names wholly inconsistent with its earlier position. In addition, in a letter dated Feb. 26, Delaware North offered to assign the trademarks to Aramark effective immediately.

It is very unfortunate that the park service has chosen to create a public controversy around Yosemite’s iconic names as a substitute for resolving long-standing, public and legitimate contract issues.

Dan Jensen is former president of Delaware North Cos. concession at Yosemite National Park. He can be contacted at DJENSEN@delawarenorth.com.

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