In a bit of a surprise, the National Park Service has awarded Delaware North the concessions contract for facilities in the Kalaloch area of Olympic National Park. The 10-year contract includes operation of Kalaloch Lodge in addition to food and beverage services, retail, firewood sales, and fuel sales.
The new concessionaire -- DNC Parks & Resorts at Kalaloch -- will succeed ARAMARK Parks & Destinations, which operates most of the other concession services in Olympic National Park.
In the last several years ARAMARK has won the concessions at Lake Crescent Lodge and Sol Duc Hot Springs, both of which are major facilities inside the park. In addition, ARAMARK is the concessionaire for nearby Lake Quinault Lodge in Olympic National Forest. Log Cabin Resort, the park’s other lodging facility, at last report had no concessionaire for the 2012 season.
ARAMARK commenced operations at Kalaloch in 1989, when the contract was transferred from then-concessionaire, Kalaloch Lodge, Inc. Although numerous park properties have been subject to multiple contract extensions until a final proposal is rendered, the Kalaloch contract extensions seemed to be in an orbit of their own. The original 15-year contract assumed by ARAMARK expired in 1993. Since then, the contract has been extended and continued over two decades until the present proposal arrived.
The new proposal called for an estimated initial investment of approximately $8 million, most of which represents payment for the possessory interest (ownership) of Kalaloch facilities by ARAMARK. All new NPS contracts require that acquired possessory interest convert to leasehold interest. Approximately half-a-million dollars of the initial investment is for merchandise, supplies, equipment, and inventory.
As seems to be the case for most new NPS proposals, the franchise fee paid by the concessionaire will increase. Currently, ARAMARK pays 1.5% of gross receipts to a Government Improvement Account, but pays no franchise fee. The proposal for the new contract stipulated a fee of 1.7% of gross receipts into a Repair and Maintenance Reserve and 5.5% of gross receipts as a minimum franchise fee.
Kalaloch Lodge is a unique national park property that sits high on a bluff overlooking a rugged Pacific beach covered with driftwood. A short walk leads down to the beach where guests can enjoy what are usually windy walks while listening to the roar of the surf. The facility has 64 guest rooms, which include a few rooms in the main lodge, several cabins along the bluff, additional log cabins that sit behind the bluff cabins, and a few rooms in a motel building.
Delaware North has been the concessionaire for Yosemite National Park since 1993 and has operated Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park since 1998. The company has retail operations in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Canyon National Park, although Xanterra Parks & Resorts is the major concessionaire in both parks.
David and Kay Scott are the authors of The Complete Guide To The National Park Lodges. Along with updates in their recently released 7th edition of the book is the insertion of full-color images from lodges and settings in the national parks.