Poll: How Outraged Are You at the Yosemite Trademark Controversy?

The National Park Service took a page from the public shaming handbook, and, boy, did it work. The feds, embroiled in a major legal tussle with the out-going concessionaire at Yosemite National Park, Delaware North, over trademarks, announced that it would have no choice but to change the name of famous park attractions. The Ahwahnee Hotel will now be the Majestic Yosemite Hotel and Curry Village will be called Half Dome Village.

Not since the government shutdown closed public lands in 2013 has this much venom been stirred up over national parks, only this time the anger is directed at Delaware North, which sued the Park Service over the value of the trademarks on the properties it managed.

The mess is a legacy of how parks came to be developed. For many years, private companies were allowed to build, own, and operate attractions like the Ahwahnee or Badger Pass ski area. Gradually, the Park Service has taken ownership of such properties, but a high number of the trademarks are still owned privately. Delaware North, which has run concessions in Yosemite for decades, lost its contract, which will be taken over by Aramark. It claims the trademarks are worth north of $40 million and says it should be compensated, so it’s suing for $51 million; the Park Service says it’s more like $2 million.

Delaware North didn’t do itself any favors by trademarking “Yosemite National Park” without NPS knowledge or approval.

What happens in the courts is yet to be determined. What happened in the court of public opinion seems pretty clear: People be pissed. The question to you is, how much?

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This week, one poll participant will receive Smith Optic’s Rockford sunglasses. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) – all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, January 24, at midnight PST.

Congratulations to Denise Greig, who wins the Smiths this week!

Rockford_Rose Gold

Photo by Michael Seljos




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