Things are getting messy in Yosemite.
Earlier this year, the National Park Service was forced to rename five facilities in Yosemite, including the famous Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village, due to a trademark dispute. Now the NPS is fighting to get those names back.
As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, federal officials intend to work with representatives from Yosemite's former concessions operator, Delaware North of Buffalo, to settle the long-standing disagreement over who owns the names of the five locations and what they're worth.
The back story: Delaware North of Buffalo registered several locations within Yosemite as trademarks before losing its contract to run the park's hotels and services in March of this year. Now that National Parks wants to keep those names, Delaware North has demanded a whopping $44 million for them.
Many of Yosemite's loyal visitors, however, are outraged at this abuse of power and believe that the names are an important part of Yosemite's long history. The Ahwahnee Hotel gets its name from the Native Americans who once lived in the park and dates to the 1920s. Curry Village, a camp named after its founders, goes back to the late 1800s. Delaware North's contract only began in 1993.
Since the dispute began, the Ahwahnee has changed its name to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel and Curry Village is now Half Dome Village. Delaware North also registered "Yosemite National Park" as a trademark, which prompted the new concessionaire, Aramark of Philadelphia, to pull T-shirts and other souvenirs labeled Yosemite National Park from stores and replace them with merchandise that simply says Yosemite.
A mediation between the three parties is schedule for August 4. Hopefully it will result in a peaceful settlement. In the meantime, we're still calling it Ahwahnee.