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Old 02-03-2015   #1
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Grand Canyon Issues

This stuff may not have that much of an effect on river runners.

But its not good for other park users.


I borrowed this summation from elsewhere.
A paranoid site actually.
But I thought this summation was the best.

The recent, and ongoing, contract issues at Grand Canyon are beginning to have an adverse affect on thousands of people nationwide. In 2013 the National Park Service made a decision to divide the concessions contract at Grand Canyon South Rim into two separate contracts. Part of this decision was so that bidding contractors would be able to more easily pay down the large LSI (leaseholder surrender interest) owed to Xanterra because of the unreimbursed monies accrued for capital improvements over the past several decades.

The smaller contract was issued to the Delaware North Company in 2014 and they took on a portion of the LSI, however a very large portion still loomed. In order to make the other contract (of which no one bid on due to various reasons) more tenable NPS borrowed $100 million from their own coffers to pay down the majority of the amount owed to Xanterra. As of now the contract has been pulled and is being rewritten in an effort to get more companies to bid on the the one unassigned contract.

The $100 million that NPS borrowed from themselves has had a negative affect nationwide. National parks across the country have been forced to drastically scale back the projects they have had on the drawing board for years and are not able to replace employees when they retire or quit. They will not be able to hire the temporary help they normally hire each summer. A good portion of this summer help are college students that depend on this income to see them through the next year of school. The visitors to our national parks will now have fewer resources available to them when they visit. Infrastructure that was due to be upgraded in several parks has been put on indefinite hold. Several parks are raising their entrance fees in an attempt to soften the blow that was dealt to them when they were hit with the LSI due to Xanterra at Grand Canyon. NPS employees nationwide are not happy with the decisions that were made at Grand Canyon.

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Old 02-03-2015   #2
Redmond, Oregon
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This gets complicated with who recently bought Xanterra.

Just a heads up that more of the Park Service hassles may be coming your way.

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Old 02-03-2015   #3
Redmond, Oregon
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Here is the current NPS budget overview.

100 million isn't as big as you'd think but its still likely to be a problem for the basic American Park user.
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Old 02-03-2015   #4
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BZN, Montana
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I went snooping for an explanation on what exactly the fuck up was and found this illuminating: The NPS Says It's Promoting Competition, but a Grand Canyon Concessionaire Claims Otherwise | Phoenix New Times
The sunshine walked beside her
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Old 02-03-2015   #5
Las Vegas, Nevada
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Yep, Uberuaga really messed this whole thing up at GC. It is sad a bunch of the other parks in the system had to throw in and contribute to the buydown of Xanterra's investments.

Couple this with the fact that Xanterra has applied for Trademarks for the names of iconic places (El Tovar, Bright Angel & Phantom Ranch) and this mess gets deeper and deeper.

The main motivation here is for NPS to make 12-13% concession fee instead of the 2-3% it had been making.

When are parks are turned for profit (see Colorado River through GC), then the public as a whole suffers.
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Old 02-03-2015   #6
Redmond, Oregon
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Originally Posted by GCHiker4887 View Post
Yep, Uberuaga really messed this whole thing up at GC. ..........
What should be construed from the story that a National Park Service superintendent sold his house for more than three times its assessed value to a key concessionaire in his park and didn’t view it as a conflict of interest?

News that David Uberuaga sold his Ashford, Washington, home to the owner of Rainier Mountaineering, Inc., while he was superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park with oversight of the concessionaire, appears to be a troubling conflict of interest.

Atop that are allegations from a watchdog group that Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, at one time Mr. Uberuaga's immediate boss, intervened to see that Mr. Uberuaga was named this past summer as superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park.

I'm really confused by all of this.
I'm retired USFS.
I have always held the Park Service in high regard.
I thought the people that I had the privilege of working with in the Parks were high ethic and their bosses were the same.
I was just a FF and didn't do much with management in a 40 year fire career.

Where did this crap come from?
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Old 02-03-2015   #7
Las Vegas, Nevada
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I can't speak for anything not GC-related, since that is where my interests lie, but I had heard of some of the Ranier stuff.

The GC Concession package is pretty messed up at this point. Just the fact that every NPS unit (or most of them) had to contribute to the buydown of Xanterra is pretty crappy system-wide. I believe the intent of the whole thing was to get more bids and open up competition, but it will really take a toll on visitor services. If you do some Google Searching you will be enlightened. GC NPS is in process of settling a lawsuit now with Xanterra, who is under a 1 year renewal.

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