Concessions Management Records

Finding aid created by Yosemite National Park Archives staff using RecordEXPRESS
Yosemite National Park Archives
5083 Foresta Road
El Portal, California 95318

Descriptive Summary

Title: Concessions Management Records
Dates: 1968-2008
Collection Number: YCN: 1006 (YOSE 229634)
Extent: 51.3 LF
Online items available
Repository: Yosemite National Park Archives
El Portal, California 95318
Abstract: The Concessions Management Records collection contains administrative files created and compiled by the Concessions Management Office of Yosemite National Park between 1968 and 2008. The Office’s interactions with Yosemite concessioners, concession facilities, products, and services between 1978 and 1992 account for the bulk of the collection. Furthermore, a large portion of the records relate to the main concessioner, Yosemite Park & Curry Company (YP & CC). The records document contract administration and also pertain to concessioner relations with Yosemite National Park and the National Park Service (NPS). The majority of the records are correspondence, concessioner case files, and records of buildings and transportation projects. The bulk of the correspondence is between the concessioner and the superintendent of Yosemite National Park concerning concession operations and contract negotiations. Also included are memorandum from the NPS Washington Support Office (WASO) and the Regional Office regarding concession policy guidelines and procedures. Prominent reports include Concessions Management Guidelines, 1970-1971; Delaware North Company (DNC) award and contract (YOSE004-93), 1993; and Concession Services Plan (CSP), 1991-1992. Other records include evaluations of facilities, financial reports, film permits, advertisement files, building plans, rate files and comments on the draft Concession Services Plan. All series and subseries have accompanying scope and content descriptions, with material type, arrangement and date ranges included. Also, please note that the abbreviation for Yosemite Park & Curry Company, YP & CC, is used in all folder titles.
Language of Material: English


Although this collection is open to the public, some files contain sensitive information and may require a research permit and/or solicitor approval.

Preferred Citation

Concessions Management Records. Yosemite National Park Archives

Acquisition Information

The collection was created by the Yosemite Concessions Management Office between 1968 and 2008 and contains their administrative files. The materials were deposited in the archives in multiple accessions from 1992 to 2010. Two small batches of records were accreted from 1992 to 1995, and two larger deposits were made in September 2003 and March 2010. Another small batch of material relating to the Ansel Adams Gallery was accreted in September 2011. The initial deposits were sent first to the records center near the Research Library in 1988, where they were given an accession number. Eventually all records came to the archives. (In October 1993 the major concessionaire contract was awarded to DNC. This process generated lots of paperwork and sparked the need to transfer older documents to the archives. Hence, this collection mainly covers the period from 1978 to 1992, with smaller amounts of material from 1968-1978 and 1992-2008.) The NPS Yosemite Concessions Management Records, Collection Number 1006, has been assigned museum catalog number YOSE 229634. At this time the associated accessions included in this collection are: YOSE-5637, YOSE-5642, YOSE-5646, YOSE-5728, YOSE-5787, YOSE-5870, YOSE-5876 (primary accession number), YOSE-5878, YOSE-5968, YOSE-6035, YOSE-6691, YOSE-6692, and YOSE-6693.

Biography/Administrative History

The Yosemite National Park Concessions Management Office was created circa 1976, operating as the Concessions Management Division. Prior to this time, concession operations were handled by staff in the Superintendent’s Office. The management of concessions included Special Park Uses until 1996, when the new Division of Business and Revenue Management was created. This division was established to oversee the now-separate branches of the fee program (moved out of the Protection Division), Special Park Uses, and Concessions Management. The NPS Yosemite Concessions Management Branch staff consists of the Chief (James Sleznick, 1973-1975; John Burchill, 1975-1980; Wayne Schultz, 1979-1992; Martin L. Nielson, 1992-present); Deputy Chief (Lena McDowall, 1992-present); Financial Analysts; Public Service and Environmental Health Specialists; Asset Managers; and Concession Specialists. The Concessions Management Branch Office is accountable for ensuring that quality visitor services are available to the public through contracts issued to private businesses operating in the park. Operating under the authority of the Department of the Interior, concessioners’ services and rates are specifically dictated by the National Park Service (NPS). Park staff is responsible for contract administration, working with the national and regional NPS offices to facilitate contract development as well as public law, finance, and planning objectives. On behalf of the Superintendent, the Concessions Management Office enforces the terms of concessioners’ contracts. The office conducts periodic operational performance evaluations and provides feedback to concession managers through annual overall ratings. They also review concessioner contract compliance with regard to asset management, insurance requirements, advertising, merchandising, fulfillment of applicable building and capital improvement programs, maintenance of structures and landscapes, payment of utility bills, submittal of required financial reports, and satisfactory payment of franchise fees. The Concessions Management Branch also serves as the liaison between concessioners and other park branches, as they interact in a wide variety of park operational activities including park planning and environmental compliance. Furthermore, the Concessions Management Office interfaces directly with the Special Park Uses branch and individual park visitors interested in commercial services in the park, such as film permits, First Amendment opportunities, amphitheater use, and wedding permits. Concessioner contracts are limited in number and scope. Contracts must leave resources unimpaired in addition to being deemed necessary to visitor experience by the NPS. Preserving a balance between services that provide for visitor enjoyment and the conservation of cultural and natural resources is the focus of concessions management policy in the NPS. Few concessioners have operated in the park since 1925, when the NPS forced a merger of the Yosemite National Park Company and the Curry Camping Company in order to reduce competition and create a more prosperous company with the ability to improve facilities in the Yosemite Valley. The resulting entity, the Yosemite Park & Curry Company (YP & CC), thus became the major concessioner and was granted a twenty-year contract. This contract was extended until 1963, when a thirty-year contract was signed between the NPS and YP & CC (CC-YOSE004-63). YP & CC records comprise the bulk of the material in this collection. Negotiations between the park and YP & CC became strained in the 1980s due to the influence of large companies on NPS concessions policy and the ownership changes of YP & CC (Shasta Natural Resources in 1970, Music Corporation of America (MCA) in 1973, Matsushita Corporations of Japan in 1991). Consequently, in 1992 the Concessions Management Branch developed a Concession Services Plan, which was guided by the 1980 Yosemite National Park General Management Plan. The revised concession policies stressed financial obligations and environmental commitment. In light of these developments, YP & CC was sold to the National Park Foundation in 1991. The National Park Foundation owned all former YP & CC buildings until they were paid off by the NPS in 1993. Thus, today the NPS owns the buildings managed by concessioners. In general, the NPS owns the buildings and oversees capital improvements, while the concessioner is liable for the maintenance of the buildings. The Delaware North Company (DNC)’s became Yosemite primary concessioner in 1993 via contract CC-YOSE-004-93, which incorporated the revised policies of 1992’s Concession Services Plan. Other existing contracts include Best’s Studio, Inc./Ansel Adams Gallery (CC-YOSE001-09); El Portal Market (CC-YOSE003-08); High Sierra Petroleum/El Portal Service Station (CC-YOSE006-01). Former contracts were held by the El Portal Motor Inn (CC-YOSE002, terminated in 1983) and by the Yosemite Medical Clinic (CC-YOSE005-95). The Clinic’s contract was withdrawn in 2010; it is now operated by the National Park Service. In addition, dental services were provided first through a contract, and then through a Special Use Permit (SUP #8800-0-0890), until 1988.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is organized into five series: Administrative Files, Individual Concession Contracts, Concessioner Records for Buildings and Other Facilities, Correspondence, and the Concession Services Plan. These series were divided into subseries according to original office filing system, record function, type of material, and topic. The majority of the records are arranged first according to the alphanumeric codes established in the NPS-19 Disposition Schedule, and then chronologically. Some records have additional interoffice codes for further clarification. The records in subject groupings were kept together regardless of codes in order to retain the original order and are arranged chronologically. This arrangement allows office files to remain with documentation received from concessioners and also provides for the eventual accretion of additional material. Series I: Administrative Files is organized into five subseries according to record groupings established in the NPS-19 Disposition Schedule. Within each subseries, the files are arranged according to ascending codes, and then by chronological order. A small amount of material without a code was kept in sequence with the coded files and given a code in brackets to reflect the record function and original order. The majority of the records are contained in Subseries B: Concessions Records and Concessioners Case Files (C-files). Series II: Individual Concession Contracts is organized into subseries according to specific concessioner contract files to reflect the order in which the files were created and maintained. Each subseries contains administrative records that correspond to various NPS alphanumeric codes. The subseries are arranged according to these codes, and then chronologically. A large group of records in this collection correspond to code C58, Concessioner Records of Buildings and Other Facilities. A separate series, Series III: Concessioner Records of Buildings and other Facilities (C58), was designated for these records in order to retain the original grouping. The series is divided into four subseries; the first three are organized according to subjects and code numbers. The fourth subseries is further divided into sub-subseries to account for individual project files. The arrangement is chronological. Records organized into subject groupings by the Concessions Management Office, such as correspondence files and documentation regarding the Concession Services Plan, were arranged into their own series (Series IV and V, respectively), with subseries organized by document type and arranged chronologically.