Yosemite National Park to change names of iconic structures

A view of Half Dome from Cook's Meadow at Yosemite National Park shows the colors at sunset.

Story highlights

  • Yosemite National Park renames some structures
  • Park in legal battle with former concessionaire DNCY
  • Ahwahnee Hotel to become The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

(CNN)A few of the iconic structures and sites at Yosemite National Park are being renamed due to a legal battle over trademarks, the National Park Service said.

In one move, The Ahwahnee Hotel, built in 1927 and a National Historic Landmark in the Yosemite Valley, will have its exotic-sounding name changed to The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, according to the National Park Service. Signs will come down on four other structures in the park as well.
The name changes are due to a legal battle with Yosemite's former concessionaire -- a subsidiary of Delaware North (DNCY) -- which ran the park's lodging, retail and food services for more than 20 years.
Yosemite's new partner is a subsidiary of Aramark -- another global concessionaire firm.
The Park Service says Delaware North claims ownership of some of the park's tradenames and trademarks, and is demanding more than $50 million in compensation for the rights to those names. Instead of paying, the Park Service said it will change some of them: the Wawona Hotel will be renamed Big Trees Lodge and Curry Village will be called Half Dome Village.
Yosemite National Park's Wawona Hotel to be renamed Big Trees Lodge
Yosemite Lodge at the Falls will be become Yosemite Valley Lodge and The Badger Pass Ski Area will be known as Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area.
"Yellowstone National Park" was also licensed for merchandise, but that phrase and certain park images and logos are still in legal limbo.
Delaware North said in a statement that the Park Service "is trying to use them (beloved names of places in Yosemite) as a bargaining chip in a legal dispute involving basic contract rights."
Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman told CNN affiliate KFSN, "the names of the structures belong to the American people... and Delaware North is not entitled to any compensation."
The park in northern California serves more than 4 million visitors every year and generates $535 million in economic benefits, including more than 6,000 regional jobs, according to the Yosemite National Park statement.