New Concession Operator Selected for Mammoth Cave National Park

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Date: August 1, 2016
Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., August 1, 2016 –Mammoth Cave National Park officials announced that MCNP ONP, LLC, has been selected to provide commercial services at Mammoth Cave under the terms of a new 15-year concessions contract, effective January 1, 2017. MCNP ONP is owned by Ortega National Parks, LLC, a family-run company with nearly 20 years of operating experience as a park concessioner. 

"I am very pleased to announce Ortega National Parks as the new concessioner at Mammoth Cave," said Superintendent Sarah Craighead. "The concessions operation is central to a visitor's experience at the park. Ortega's business plan outlines a straight-forward commitment to exceptional guest services, a strong environmental ethic, and a focus on resource preservation that aligns with the mission of Mammoth Cave National Park. We look forward to working together over the next 15 years." 

The services under the new concessions contract include lodging, food/ beverage, and retail services at Mammoth Cave Hotel, along with tour bus transportation and equipment rental. The new contract will require some enhancements to the services and facilities, including modification to the food service and retail areas. 

"We're excited to get to Mammoth Cave and begin managing concession operations," said Emily Ortega, Senior Vice President. "We aim for a seamless transition, for both current employees and park visitors. We'll do our best to offer jobs to as many current employees as possible. We recognize that so many of them have been dedicated to this park for a long time already. We're also eager to see some of our ideas for the park come to life as we begin to offer more local and sustainable merchandise in the gift shops, bring more local and sustainable ingredients into the food service, and increase environmental measures throughout concession operations." 

Ortega National Parks, LLC is primarily owned by Armand Ortega, who founded his first operations over forty years ago. The family business began as National Park Concessioners at Bandelier and White Sands National Monuments and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. In the last ten years they have expanded to have contracts with 12 national parks or monuments from Maine to Hawaii, as well as Colossal Cave County Park in Tucson, Arizona. At each operation, they take pride in learning about the park at which they serve and incorporating the park themes into as much of their business operations as possible. They recognize that each park has different needs from its concessioners and work hard to enter each operation as an entirely new business. 

The selection of the new park concessioner is the result of a competitive process that is required by the National Park Service Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-391). An interdisciplinary team of NPS professionals from across the nation reviewed, analyzed and rated the proposals to ensure that the selected concessioner was capable of providing the best experience for visitors and protection of park resources. 

The award of this new concessions contract concludes 16 years of visitor services by Forever Resorts, LLC, the current operator of Mammoth Cave Hotel. 

"We thank Forever Resorts for its dedicated service, particularly during the recent hotel renovations," said Craighead. "The staff have gone above and beyond to ensure the traveling public received true Kentucky hospitality." 

The new contract will provide long-term stability for the Mammoth Cave National Park concession operation, which employs more than 100 area residents. 

For more information about concession operations in the park, please visit the park's website at For more information on Ortega National Parks, visit  

Last updated: August 1, 2016

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Mammoth Cave, KY 42259-0007


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