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Contact: Bridget Litten, 505.785.3024
National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director Michael Snyder announced today that Carlsbad Cavern Trading, LLC, a New Mexico-based company owned by Santa Fe-based businessman Armand Ortega, has been selected to provide food and beverage, retail, kennel and vending services at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
“The selection of Carlsbad Cavern Trading ushers in a new era of concession services at Carlsbad Caverns,” said Snyder. “We look forward to the contribution they will bring to the overall visitor experience at the park.”
The selection of Carlsbad Cavern Trading for the Carlsbad contract was made in a competitive process. In addition to Carlsbad Cavern Trading’s submission, the park received four other proposals, including a quality proposal from the park’s current concessioner, The Cavern Supply Company.
Park superintendent John Benjamin noted, “Cavern Supply has played an extremely important role in this park. They’ve provided an important service to park visitors—and the National Park Service—since 1927.”
New Mexico Congressman Steve Peace added, “For eighty years, Cavern Supply has been an integral part of Carlsbad Caverns. I thank them for their dedication and commitment to the park during their time here.”
The new concessions contract is the first at Carlsbad to be awarded under the National Park Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998. That law eliminated the preferential consideration given to existing concessioners in an effort to enhance competition for concession-related business opportunities within parks.
“I am happy to see this project moving one more step closer to completion,” said Pearce. “I fought to ensure the contract was awarded on a fair and competitive basis. I am pleased to see that the process has resulted in a deal that is good for both visitors and taxpayers.”
In addition to Carlsbad Cavern Trading and Cavern Supply Company, ARAMARK Sports & Entertainment Services, Inc., Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Inc., and Service Systems Associates also submitted proposals for the business opportunity at Carlsbad Caverns.
A team of experts analyzed the proposals based on criteria specified in the Concessions Management Improvement Act. Those criteria include protecting and conserving park resources, providing necessary and appropriate facilities and services to the public at reasonable rates, the experience of the concessioner, the financial capability of the concessioner, and proposed franchise fee.
Now that a company has been selected, the National Park Service will incorporate elements of the highest scoring proposal submitted by Carlsbad Cavern Trading into the concession contract that the NPS will award formally in a few months. Carlsbad Cavern Trading will begin operations at the park upon completion of the visitor center rehabilitation project, which is expected in March 2008.
“Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a vital part of New Mexico’s environmental heritage,” said Pearce. “I want to make sure the park will continue to offer a rewarding experience to visitors, with renovations such as the underground lunchroom, and attract more and more people from around the country.”
Guidelines used to evaluate all five proposals can be found at http://concessions.nps.gov/policy.cfm.