Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Corporate kidnaping: Pay up or your national park gets it!


If you’ve been reading my essay, “Gatecrash: Liberating Creativity In The Age of Boilerplate Fiction,” you’re now halfway through. Five more installments will run this week, with the conclusion next Monday. Thanks for sticking with me through my harangue.

Also thanks to all the new followers who have discovered the blog via this series, and via the generous reblogging that’s been going on all week. Mucho aprecio!

I’m veering away from my usual themes today to alert my fellow Americans that there’s an evil corporate plot they need to know about — one that makes my blood boil. I usually don’t dwell on political issues here (that was the role of my old, now inaccessible blog, “Brother Kenya’s Paradigm”), but this story is so heinous I have to condemn it publicly.

Delaware North Corp., hospitality behemoth and concessionaire, is forcing the National Park Service to change the name of Yosemite National Park’s beloved Ahwahnee Hotel, along with other familiar locations there.

Soon the Ahwahnee Hotel will be a thing of the past. In its place we get the “Majestic Yosemite Hotel.”

That’s like the Empire State Building being renamed the Very Tall New York Office Tower, or the Gateway Arch becoming The St. Louis Croquet Wicket.

Come to find out that the Ahwahnee’s been run by private concessionaires ever since its opening in 1927. That’s not the real problem here. Obviously we’ve gone more than eight decades without any corporate monkey business, but what has happened now, I think, is part of the “corporations are people too” baloney we’ve been seeing in this new century. Delaware North, or DNC (an apt but unfortunate abbreviation, for the medically aware), lost the concession contract last summer and immediately ran to court to cry foul.

It gets a little technical, but they claim the Park Service owes them a shitload of money for the trademarks pertaining to Yosemite that they surreptitiously registered over the years. They want $50 million for them, when the Park Service estimates their value at more like $2 million.

To avoid complicating the legal situation further, the Park Service is going to change the trademarked place names and redo all the signs.

Isn’t it dumbfounding? Why do corporations dress up in American flags (every CEO has a goddamn bronze eagle on his credenza, for shitssake) and then flip the bird (no eagle, for sure) at us all? And, seriously, you should see the photo of DNC’s executives on its web page; I can’t imagine a bunch of white jerkwads more repulsive-looking than these guys.

Masters of the hospitality universe. Well goody for them. I think they’ve opened up quite a can of worms this time, though, and their public image is going to take a major hit — if the word gets out.

If you have the stomach for it, go to their site and see all the different things you can boycott to stick it right back to them.

Meanwhile, write to your congressman, I guess. That always makes an outraged citizen feel better.

Read all about it at these links:

Outside Magazine

Sacramento Bee

L.A. Times


4 comments on “Corporate kidnaping: Pay up or your national park gets it!

  1. kingmidget
    January 17, 2016

    It’s not unheard of for private contractors to go out and register the trademark for the government institutions they run on behalf of the government (I mean, the people). While I agree the contractor is demonstrating “root of all evil” behavior, I’d also point to the government agency that managed the contracting relationship for allowing it to happen. This is one of those “who woulda though they’d do this” situations, but there’s pretty simple language that could/should be included in every contract that requires all assets, tangible and intangible, to be returned to the government at the end of the contract. Kind of ridiculous that apparently wasn’t included here.

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 17, 2016

      Yep, it sure look like the Park Service might have been asleep at the wheel here, and they might even be bluffing on the name change to focus negative attention on the company. That said, it’s so tone deaf and ham-handed to go down this road when you’re dealing with an iconic national asset.

      Let’s rename the Mona Lisa “Smiley Face” and see how that goes!

      • kingmidget
        January 17, 2016

        Grapes of Wrath — words on a page

  2. John W. Howell
    January 17, 2016

    When you see evil doing check out the federal bureaucrats first. Someone was asleep at the switch on this one.

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This entry was posted on January 17, 2016 by in Et alia and tagged .
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