Don’t Steal Names of Iconic Yosemite Landmarks

Target: Barry Freilicher, Senior Vice President for Business Development, Delaware North Parks & Resorts

Goal: Don’t allow Delaware North Companies to change the Native American names of Yosemite National Park landmarks.

The National Park Service announced that the names of several historical landmarks at Yosemite National Park will be changed due to the threat of a $50 million lawsuit from Yosemite’s former facilities operator, Delaware North Companies. The names under attack include the iconic Ahwahnee Hotel, named for the Ahwahneechee, a band of Sierra Miwok Native Americans who originally inhabited Yosemite. Changing these names would erase decades of historical and cultural significance, and demonstrates a lack of respect for the tribe whose land and power were already taken from them. Why take away one more piece of history from people who have already lost so much?

Delaware North Companies, the corporation that served as Yosemite’s contracted concessionaire since 1993, running the park’s the lodging, restaurants, and retail, recently lost a 15-year renewal contract. It then sued the National Park Service for $50 million, claiming that this sum is worth the intellectual property, including trade names and trademarks, owned by Delaware North in Yosemite. In reaction to these alleged trademark infringement issues, the Park Service has no choice but to change the names to avoid a lawsuit. The Park Service maintains that Delaware North or its predecessor previously trademarked these names without agreement from the National Park Service. The name changes are as follows:

Yosemite Lodge at the Falls to become: Yosemite Valley Lodge

The Ahwahnee to become: The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Curry Village to become: Half Dome Village

Wawona Hotel to become: Big Trees Lodge

Badger Pass Ski Area to become: Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area

These simplified names are nothing short of disrespectful, and the National Park Service has been caught up in this unnecessary court battle when it should be devoting its time and money to conservation efforts. The names will be changed on March 1st when the new concessionaire takes over at Yosemite unless Delaware North Company agrees to give up its fight for trademark over Yosemite names.

By signing the petition below you will help urge the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Parks and Resorts at Delaware North Companies to stop this needless name change and preserve valuable Native American history.


Dear Senior Vice President Freilicher,

The renaming of Yosemite National Park’s iconic landmarks must be halted. The name changes would affect several historical Native American names including the well-known Ahwahnee Hotel, named for the Ahwahneechee band of Sierra Miwok Native Americans.

Erasing this piece of Ahwahneechee history is disrespectful and unnecessary. Claiming ownership over a name takes power away from those who identify with the landmark, and only by upholding the historical names can we honor and remember their past.

I am urging you to maintain the decades of historical and cultural significance attached to the names of these landmarks. Please take actions to stop this needless renaming and withdraw Delaware North Companies’ claim to the following trademarked Yosemite names: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, The Ahwahnee, Curry Village, Wawona Hotel, and Badger Ski Pass Area.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mark James Miller

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