Yosemite By Any Other Name…

Yosemite is “not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra”. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. And complimenting its breathtaking beauty, is its history. Abraham Lincoln signed legislation in 1864 declaring Yosemite protected land, however it didn’t become an official National Park until 1890. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt spent three days camping in Yosemite with John Muir. I find that really cool!

The history of Yosemite includes the names of its hotels, camping village and ski area. In 1899, David and Jenny Curry opened a tented camp in Yosemite. Their advertising slogan was “a good bed and clean napkin with every meal”. They charged $2, the equivalent of $60 today. Curry Village was where I made our reservations. I really wish I had saved that confirmation email for posterity, because about a month before our trip, I got another email saying that our reservation had not changed however Curry Village had been renamed and we were now going to be staying at Half Dome Village. WHAT?! Curry Village is iconic!

800px-Camp_Curry_1921
1921 Ad for Camp Curry aka Curry Village

I hopped online to find out what was going on and was shocked to learn that there was a naming rights dispute. Delaware North was the company that had been in charge of Yosemite’s restaurants, hotels and outdoor activities since 1992 and it lost the bid to renew its contract. It claimed it owned the rights to the names and wanted $50 million for them. The National Park Service contends that naming rights were never part of the original contract, however while this is being fought in court the name changes were required so the new concessions company could take over operations.  Delaware North also claims that it owns the name Yosemite, however this isn’t being changed during the dispute.

The names affected are:

  • Yosemite Lodge at the Falls (1915) became Yosemite Valley Lodge
  • The Ahwahnee (1927) became The Majestic Yosemite Hotel
  • Curry Village (1899) became Half Dome Village
  • Wawona Hotel (1876) became Big Trees Lodge
  • Badger Pass Ski Area (1928) became Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area

I know nothing about naming rights, but it seems absolutely absurd to me that a company that won a concessions bid in 1992 is claiming it owns National Park names that have been around for close to a century or more. I hope it gets figured out soon, but in the meantime let me assure you that Yosemite by any other name will smell as sweet.

Up next: Arguably one of the best hiking experiences of my life. And we hike a lot. Who needs Half Dome? See previous post.

9 Comments on “Yosemite By Any Other Name…

  1. Crazy the legal disputes you can find…
    But lots of lovely experiences to be had regardless of what it’s called!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no! That is so ridiculous that all the classic names have to change. Do you know if they are changing the name of Camp Four?

    Have fun in Yosemite! I wish I was going there right now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, what a wonderful post, Julie!!! It’s so offensive because the names are the connection to history. This company obviously didn’t care about the park, just the money because nobody with a conscience would try to steal the names.

    Liked by 1 person

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