A Washington, D.C.,-based concessionaire with operations in a number of national parks has added a property in North Cascades National Park to their portfolio.
Guest Services, which has operations at Mount Rainier National Park and in the National Capital Region of the Park Service, is the new concessionaire at North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin (formerly Stehekin Landing Resort) in the North Cascades National Park Complex.
The complex is a combination of North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. The lodge is actually in the latter NPS unit. Guest Services is in the initial year of a 10-year contract to provide lodging, food service, and transportation at Stehekin, a small community at the north end of northern Washington’s Lake Chelan. The lodge is reached via floatplanes and scheduled boat service from the town of Chelan.
David Wilde, West Coast operations manager for Guest Services, is currently on-site making preparations for the company’s first year. He indicated that Guest Services will spend its initial year at Stehekin becoming better acquainted with the property that had previously been operated under a temporary three-year contract by the owner of nearby Stehekin Valley Ranch. Guest Services also wants to get a feel for Stehekin’s visitors and residents of nearby towns.
Mr. Wilde said the company is considering a winter season, although probably not during the first year. Winter operation would most likely begin with weekends, depending on the availability of boat service to transport guests.
Stehekin is an isolated outpost reached only by boat or floatplane. Both services operate daily during the summer, but boat transportation currently operates only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the winter months. Winter weekend operations at the lodge would benefit from a Sunday boat departure for guests who wished to return home for work on Monday. A high proportion of travelers to both Stehekin and Chelan are from the greater Seattle area.
With major hospitality operations on the East Coast, Guest Services would seem a natural to consider a bid on the NPS contract for Bluffs Lodge, Rocky Knob Cabins, and Peaks of Otter Lodge on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The prospectus for that contract is currently outstanding and will close July 27.