NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 27, 1997

The Interior Department's National Park Service is implementing new policies on park concessions in an effort to help close a more than $5 billion gap in its maintenance and construction budget.

While the budget-cutting concept is popular, the transition has been difficult for concessionaires, because the rules have been changing and long delays in decision-making are making life tough for them.

  • Nearly one-third of the 665 Park Service concession holders now operate under expired contracts that the government has extended while it implements the new policies.
  • The changes were put in place after revelations that the federal government was collecting less than 1 percent of the nearly $100 million in annual revenue of a corporate concessionaire at Yosemite National Park in California.
  • Now, the Park Service estimates that it will receive nearly 7 percent of the $706 million in revenue that its concessions produced last year -- more than double what it was getting in the 1980s.
  • The Park Service is aggressively recruiting new bidders, pressing for bigger payments and requiring concessionaires to make large investments to upgrade their facilities.

The changes have caused more than a dozen concessionaires to give up business ventures altogether.

Source: Michael Selz, "New Park Policies Upset Entrepreneurs," Wall Street Journal, May 27, 1997.


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