Description: The Glacier Point Project began in 1994 to transform Glacier Point in
Yosemite National Park into a world class scenic viewpoint. The area had been sorely neglected since the historic Glacier
Point Hotel burned down on that location in 1969, and had suffered further damage by heavy visitor use. The Project was
completed through a three-way partnership including the Yosemite Fund (the Fund), the Yosemite Concession Services
Corporation (YCS), and the National Park Service (NPS).
The Fund has been in existence since 1988 and has worked under a cooperative agreement with the Superintendent of
Yosemite National Park to provide private funding for specific programs and projects, which preserve, protect, or
enhance Yosemite National Park. Private funds are used for improvement projects such as habitat restoration, trail
repair and access, wildlife management, cultural and historic preservation, and visitor services and education.
These projects have materially improved the quality of Yosemite's natural, cultural or historic resources and, in most
cases, directly benefited visitors.
Yosemite Concession Services Corporation, a subsidiary of Delaware North, has been the park's sole concessioner
since 1993 and is required by their contract with NPS to put roughly 4.5% of its gross revenue into a Capital
Improvement Fund (CIF). The Glacier Point Project was the first major project undertaken utilizing money from the
From 1994 to 1997, $2.6 million was invested by the concessioner utilizing their CIF and $600,000 in donated funds
by the Yosemite Fund to: rebuild public facilities in an environmentally-friendly way; construct an outdoor
amphitheater; and provide unobstructed views, handicap access, and vegetation in the area. The National Park Service
oversaw and approved all steps in the design and construction process.
Geographic area covered: Glacier Point, Yosemite NP, California
List of partners and relationships: The Yosemite Fund (Fund), the Yosemite Concession Services
Corporation (YCS) and the National Park Service (NPS).
Accomplishments to date:
- The unique marriage of the National Park Service oversight, concession contract revenue, and private
funding resulted in a $3.2 million renovation at Glacier Point.
- Construction of a 150-seat outdoor amphitheater, public rest rooms and a year-round concession building.
- One mile of paved accessible paths including viewing terraces.
- Relocation and upgrade of the wastewater system.
- Restoration of four acres of wilderness.
- Landscaping of one acre with native plants.
- Development, construction and installation of four wayside educational exhibits.
Key success factors: Frequent communication, mutual respect for the responsibilities and
differences of each partner, patience and finding donors that had a long-term personal interest in the site.
Frustrations: Delays in getting approvals and authorizations to move on with the project. The
private sector has a "sense of urgency" about getting projects done that is not always shared with agency folks.
Most important lessons learned to date: Increased awareness and respect from U.S. taxpayers and
local communities that a partnership between a concessioner, non-profit friends group and the NPS can result in such
an improvement without the taxpayers spending any money.
What would you do differently next time: Build a different sewage system. The one built does not
work well in the early part of the season.
Suggested resource materials(related to the case study):
Partners to the Land (video). Yosemite Fund website at
For more information:
Name: Don Neubacher
Affiliation: Superintendent, Yosemite National Park
Name: Mike Tollefson
Affiliation: President, Yosemite Fund
Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)
Fundraising _X_; Capital Improvements _X_; Facility Management __; Design _X_; Program Delivery __;
Visitor Services _X_; Natural Resources Management/Restoration _X_; Cultural Resources _X_;
Education/Interpretation _X_; Arts __; Information Services __; Transportation __; Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __;
Planning _X_; Tourism __; Community Relations __;
Prepared by: Bob Hansen, former President, Yosemite Fund, with assistance from Suzanne Brinkley, National
Park Service, Planning and Partnerships, Pacific Great Basin Support Office.
Date posted: 12/31/03