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Park to change concession contract
The National Park Service is seeking $134 million in improvements to visitor and employee lodging, which includes the Old Faithful Inn, at Yellowstone National Park, according to a proposed 20-year concessionaire contract. NPS photo

Park to change concession contract

May 31, 2012 - The Associated Press

Xanterra Parks and Resorts currently runs Yellowstone's cabins hotels, campgrounds.

MAMMOTH -- The National Park Service is seeking $134 million in improvements to visitor and employee lodging and a greater share of the revenue generated by tourists visiting and staying in Yellowstone National Park, according to a proposed 20-year concessionaire contract.

"We're looking to replace or update our existing visitor facilities," said park spokesman Al Nash. "We've looked at where we wanted some of these facilities to be in the future, and we worked to devise a contract that we thought would offer a competitive business opportunity while achieving our goals for serving the American public."

Xanterra Parks and Resorts has the current contract to run the park's hotels, cabins and campgrounds along with 27 food and beverage outlets and nine retail locations. It expires in November 2013.

Xanterra spokesman Tom Mesereau said Wednesday the company is still reviewing the prospectus, which was issued in mid-May.

Xanterra's gross revenues in the park increased from about $79 million in 2008 to more than $86 million in 2010. Yellowstone's share, with a franchise fee of 2.5 percent, was $2.1 million in 2010. The park wants to raise the franchise fee to 6.8 percent.

The proposed improvements include upgrades to lodging and RV parks throughout Yellowstone along with existing food and beverage services.

Whoever wins the contract would be required to add rooms at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel by converting space now used for administrative functions and by renovating 14 cabins used by employees for visitor use. The hotel also would have to be open year-round instead of just summer and winter.

At the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, the new concessionaire would be required to build a 77-room employee dormitory and convert 67 cabins now used by workers to be rented out to visitors. Improvements also would be required at Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Canyon Lodge and Lake Lodge including the rehabilitation of 19 cabins, the relocation of 15 more and demolishing an employee dorm and replacing it with a 60-room dorm.

The projects, estimated to cost $134 million, would have to be completed between 2015 and 2018, Nash said.

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