Iconic names such as the Ahwahnee Hotel and Badger Pass are returning to Yosemite National Park signaling the end of a lengthy lawsuit over the park’s trademark names.
The lawsuit was filed back in 2016 by the park’s former concessionaire Delaware North claiming it owned the rights to trademark names like the Wawona Hotel and Curry Village. But a settlement reached Monday means the federal government and the current concessionaire Aramark will pay Delaware North close to $12 million to return the names to the park.
“The settlement concludes a lengthy lawsuit that could have continued for years and prevents any further lawsuit-related costs,” says Yosemite National Park spokesman Scott Gediman.
“We’ve felt all along that these names belong with these buildings and we’ve been vigilant in returning them.”
He says park employees are already removing many of the temporary signs that stood in for the old ones.
“We had a tarp, literally a tarp, over the historic Curry Village sign that said Half Dome Village. That was removed," he says.
Les James, a Miwok Indian who worked in the park for 30 years, says the signs are part of history and should never have been altered.
“I’m 84 years old and all I can remember is Yosemite Park and Curry Company and Wawona Hotel, the Ahwahnee and all that they changed. And for what?”
Gediman agrees the names are part of the park experience. “They link iconic places here in Yosemite that people have known for a long time. For example Curry Village originally opened in 1899. The Ahwahnee opened in 1927. Badger Pass Ski Area is the oldest ski area in California so people have strong connections to these names.”
Gediman says it could take a couple of months to change all the names on maps and printed materials.