Yosemite Will Restore Historic Landmark Names After Settling Lawsuit

Former concessionaire Delaware North wanted $50 million for intellectual property.
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Camp Curry

Goodbye Majestic Yosemite Hotel and Half Dome Village; hello Ahwahnee and Curry Village. More than three years after a lawsuit from Delaware North led Yosemite to change the names of a handful of historic locations, the park and its current concession holder have reached a settlement with the former concessionaire that will allow the old monikers to return.

The battle over the landmarks began in 2015, when the National Park Service terminated its contract with Delaware North, which ran the park's hotels and restaurants, instead inking an agreement with Aramark.  Delaware North filed a lawsuit demanding $50 million to let Aramark continue to use the names of the Ahwahnee, Curry Village, the Wawona Hotel, and Badger Pass Ski Area. Delaware North's rationale was that the company had purchased the intellectual property when it took over the previous concessionaire's contract in 1993.

Rather than wait the court to rule, Aramark preemptively changed the names of the locations in question. The Wawona became Big Trees Lodge. Badger Pass became the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area. Workers hung tarps with the new names over old signs, and Aramark pulled dozens of products with old logos and slogans out of gift shops.

According to the settlement, Delaware North will receive a total of $12 million—$8.16 million from Aramark and $3.84 million from the government. In a press release, the NPS said the intellectual property would transfer to the government "at no cost to the National Park Service upon the expiration or termination of Aramark's contract."