Ahwahnee and Wawona hotels in Yosemite National Park change names in trademark dispute

The National Park Service announced yesterday it will change the names of several Yosemite National Park sites in response to a lawsuit by Delaware North, the outgoing concessionaire for Yosemite National Park hotel lodging since 1993. Delaware North lost its park lodging contract to Aramark, who will take over management of Yosemite National Park lodging on March 1, 2016.

Delaware North claims the names of the historic hotels in Yosemite National Park are its trademarked intellectual property. Delaware North claims the Yosemite National Park place names it trademarked are worth $51 million and the new concessionaire should pay for those trademarks. The National Park Service claims the disputed trademarked park names are worth $1.63 million.

The Ahwahnee is the flagship hotel in Yosemite. The name was established when the hotel opened in 1925. Wawona Hotel is an even older hotel name from 1882.

Same Places, New Names

  • Old name: The Ahwahnee;  New name:The Majestic Yosemite Hotel.
  • Old name: Wawona Hotel; New name:  Big Trees Lodge
  • Old name: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls; New name: Yosemite Valley Lodge.
  • Old name: Curry Village; New name:  Half Dome Village
  • Old name: Badger Pass Ski Area; New name: Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area

U.S. National Parks have three primary companies with hotel lodging and concession contracts: Aramark, Delaware North and Xanterra.

Delaware North claims it should be paid $51 million for place names it trademarked in Yosemite National Park when it took over the park lodging and concessions contract in 1993. The company even trademarked the name Yosemite National Park.

This lawsuit is currently in litigation and the concessionaire changeover for Yosemite National Park from Delaware North to Aramark happens March 1, 2016.

The National Park Service claims the name changes are to ensure a seamless transition for guests arriving in the park from March 1, 2016.  A Yosemite National Park spokesperson stated the historic names may be restored if the courts rule against Delaware North in this trademark case.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

News Sources:

National Parks TravelerUPDATED: Yosemite National Park To Change Historic Lodge Names To Avoid Trademark Fight (Jan 14, 2016)

Outside Magazine – Who owns Yosemite? Yosemite to Rename Several Iconic Places (Jan 14, 2016)

Loyalty Traveler Yosemite National Park articles

Yosemite Valley (May 17, 2011) – includes photos of The Ahwahnee.

Yosemite lodging south entrance along Highway 41 (May 16, 2011)

Yosemite Valley Waterfalls (May 19, 2013)

Yosemite’s Tioga Pass Road across the Sierra Nevada Mountains (July 13, 2011)

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »