Frequently Asked Questions About the new Concessions Contract

The purpose of concessioners in parks is to provide necessary and appropriate visitor services that government agencies do not traditionally provide. Generally these are overnight accommodations, food and beverage, and retail services, but may also include other services such as guided trips, transportation services, auto fuel, and a variety of other services, depending on the park.

The purpose of the prospectus process is to solicit the opportunity for the operation of services and facilities to interested parties competitively and find the best offer that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the contract.

General Contract Questions

Q: What is the timeline to begin the new contract?
A: The expected start date of the Contract is March 1, 2016.

Q: What is the term of the Contract?
A: The Contract is for a term of 15 years

Q: How long has the current contract been extended?
A: The Existing Contract was originally set to expire on September 30, 2008 and has been extended and continued since that time, due mainly to litigation over the Merced Wild and Scenic River Plan.

Process Questions

Q: Why did it take so long to update the contract?
Q: Why was the contract extended?
A: Development of the prospectus for the Contract was delayed by extensive litigation on the Merced Wild and Scenic River Management Plan (MRP). The prospectus incorporated key components of the final MRP, including the types of visitor facilities and services that could be included in the Contract and where each would be located.

Q: When was the prospectus open for bid and who could bid on it?
A: The solicitation for the prospectus opened on July 9, 2014 and was open to any company or individual interested in operating the facilities and services required by the Contract.

Q: Who actually made the selection?
Q: How was the selection made?
A: An evaluation panel, made up of NPS employees and technical advisors, analyzed the proposals received and provided a recommendation to the Director for the selected Offeror. The selection was made in accordance with the provisions of the National Park Service Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998 (1998 Act). The 1998 Act made a number of changes in how concession contracts are awarded in order to enhance competition.

Q: When will the Contract be available to the public?
A: The NPS has sent the Contract to Yosemite Hospitality, LLC to review how we incorporated the terms of its proposal. Once reviewed and signed, the NPS will transmit the Contract to Congress for a 60-day notice period as stipulated by law. After this Congressional notice period the NPS will sign and award the Contract and work with the parties to complete an orderly transition for a Contract start date of March 1, 2016.

Q: What happens in the interim between the selection and signing of the Contract?
A: The NPS begins the process of working with Yosemite Hospitality, LLC to ensure a smooth transition with little disruption to park visitors.

Q: How long does Congress have to review the Contract?
A: Congress is provided the Contract for a 60 day notice period. It is not required to review or act on the Contract.

Q: Why is Congress provided a notice period?
A: It is a requirement of the 1998 Act.

Q: When is the transition period?
A: The transition period begins once the Contract is signed by both Yosemite Hospitality, LLC and the NPS, after the Congressional notice period.

How was the Decision Made Questions

Q: What were the primary areas the NPS was looking at in the prospectus to determine the best offer?
Q: What were the principal factors the NPS considered?
A: The NPS asked for proposals related to the following:
  1. Consideration of traffic and congestion to reduce the Concessioner’s administrative footprint within Yosemite Valley as specified in the Merced River Plan
  2. Water conservation
  3. Improvements to the food and beverage operations at Curry Village, Degnan’s, and Yosemite Lodge (e.g. menu variety, operational efficiency)
  4. Operational experience and ability to attract and retain employees
  5. Preservation, repair, and maintenance of historic structures
  6. Financial capability
  7. Minimum franchise fee
  8. Reduction of electricity and fuel use throughout operations
  9. Continued maintenance of Yosemite Valley and Wawona operations while opening and closing the High Sierra Camps, Tuolumne Lodge, and White Wolf Lodge
  10. Regular upgrade and replacement of personal property at The Ahwahnee, Curry Village, and Wawona Hotel and proper maintenance personal property at all lodging operations throughout the Contract term

Q: Why was Yosemite Hospitality, LLC selected as the better Offeror?
Q: What things made the difference in the proposals?

A: Yosemite Hospitality, LLC was recommended by the panel for award of the Contract for a number of reasons related to its response to the questions asked in the Prospectus. These included responses regarding reducing traffic in Yosemite Valley, increasing water conservation, reducing electricity and fuel usage, enhancing food and beverage outlets to meet visitor expectations, upgrading personal property for overnight accommodations, and maintaining NPS-owned facilities assigned to the Concessioner.

Operational Questions

Q: Are we going to see a lot of new hotels and new recreational activities in the park?
A: No, through the MRP and Contract development process, the building of new hotel facilities is not permissible within the Park. The Concessioner must obtain NPS written approval for any construction, including rehabilitation, taking place on Concession Facilities within the Park.

Q: Will the new Concessioner continue to operate the shuttle buses and will they be free?
A: Yes, the Contract requires the Concessioner to continue operating the Yosemite Valley shuttle system free of charge to all visitors. The Contract also authorizes the Concessioner to operate a shuttle circulating between Olmsted Point overlook and Tuolumne Meadows and a shuttle from Yosemite Valley to Badger Pass. The Concessioner will be permitted to charge for these two routes.

Q: What will happen to the amenities such as the bike and raft rentals and ice rink?
A: These services are authorized under the new Contract; however at this time the specific location for each service has not yet been determined. Locations will be proposed by the new Concessioner and approved by the NPS.

Last updated: February 11, 2016

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