NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

NATIONAL PARK CONCESSIONAIRES TO PAY MORE

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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