Crater Lake concession awarded to Amfac – January 30, 2002

Crater Lake concession awarded to Amfac

Herald and News

Klamath Falls, Oregon
January 30, 2002

By LEE JUILLERAT

 

Amfac Recreational Services, which provides concession services at several major national parks, has been awarded the concession contract at Crater Lake National Park.

Crater Lake has been without a concessionaire since October when long-time concessionaire Crater Lake Lodge, Inc., ceased operations.

Under the 15-year contract awarded Wednesday, Amfac will handle lodging, boat and food services, campgrounds, service station and gift shop facilities at Crater Lake.

“Amfac demonstrated a strong financial ability as well as a keen understanding of how to integrate its operations with the environment, resource management and educational pursuits at the 100-year-old Crater Lake National Park,” said Fran Mainella, National Park Service director, referring to this year’s centennial celebration at the nation’s fifth oldest national park.

Chuck Lundy, Crater Lake’s superintendent, also expressed his pleasure.

“It’s a real good day for the park,” said Lundy. “It’s very positive and a relief. I’m excited and looking forward to working with the new company over the next few months.

“Amfac’s willingness to invest $1.5 million in the construction of a new restaurant and gift store away from the rim is an endorsement for sustainable use,” said Lundy. They submitted the strongest bid package. They responded to all of the bid requirements.”

Other offers were made by Aramark Parks and Resorts, Delaware North Parks Service, Inc., and Regency Inns Management, Inc.

Amfac’s offer exceeded a minimum franchise fee of 3.5 percent. Lundy said contract terms cannot be announced until a contract is signed within coming weeks. Until three and a half years ago, when no fee was paid because the concessionaire provided other financial commitments, the franchise fee had been only 1.5 percent. Lundy said 80 percent of the fee will be returned to the park for visitor service-related projects.

Over the years, the Crater Lake concession operation has averaged gross receipts of more than $6 million annually and provided employment for up to 240 people during the June to September peak visitor season.

The contract also calls for a stronger environmental management program, from implementing a more rigorous recycling program to implementing additional safety measures for lake boat tours.

Mainella noted the Amfac selection is among the first approved under a new concessions law implemented in November 1998. The law is intended to bring “sharpened business management to the National Park Service and more competition to the concessions contracting process.”

The selection process for Crater Lake began last June when the park service announced it was seeking offers. Those offers were evaluated by a panel of park service personnel, including officials from Crater Lake, with experience in concessions management.

Crater Lake Lodge, Inc., had provided concession services since 1988 but chose not to make an offer. The services had been under contract since 1967. The previous 30-year contract was extended several times because of contract negotiations and delays caused by implementing the new concessions law.

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Amfac is nation’s largest concession management company

Amfac Parks & Resorts, the new concessionaire at Crater Lake National Park, is the largest park management company in the nation.

Operations span the country and include such highly visited national parks as Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Everglades, Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Mount Rushmore and Petrified Forest.

“Amfac’s mission is to be recognized as the leader in park and resort hospitality,” said company officials.

Andrew N. Todd serves as president and chief of operations. Todd orchestrated Amfac’s 1995 acquisition of TW Recreational Services, which added several management contracts to Amfac’s portfolio.

The company employs about 100 people in its corporate headquarters and central reservations office that books accommodations for facilities and employs another 7,200 people during the peak season at parks and resorts nationwide.

Amfac began its involvement in the hospitality business in the late 1800s with the Fred Harvey Company, which managed hotels and restaurants along the Santa Fe Railroad, including the Grand Canyon. The company was also known for its “Harvey Girls,” women who worked at the restaurants.

In 1968, the Fred Harvey Company was purchased by Amfac Parks & Resorts, Inc. In 1988, Northbrook Corporation, a privately held Chicago company, purchased Amfac. Following the acquisition of TW Recreational Services in 1995, Amfac relocated from Flagstaff, Ariz., to the Denver area.

In recent years Amfac has become a leader in orchestrating effective, efficient partnerships with the National Park Service, such as funding the $3.7 million Dunraven Lodge and the $18 million Old Faithful Snow Lodge at Yellowstone National Park.

The company also boasts about its environmental preservation and recycling programs. More than 200 tons of material is recycled at Yellowstone. Biomass, a renewable fuel source, is used to generate heat, cooling and hot water.

Along with the previously listed national parks, including operations on the north and south rims at the Grand Canyon, Amfac operates seven resorts in Ohio, three in Georgia along with operations in California, Nebraska, New York and Arizona.

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Regional Editor Lee Juillerat covers Lake, Siskiyou, Modoc and northern Klamath counties.

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