Private concession companies work as partners with the National Park Service providing services to visitors across the country. These services include restaurants, lodges, hotels, horseback riding, and other accommodation related facilities. These operations are conducted within the parks under contract to and supervision of the National Park Service. These contracts at one time were issued to companies for as long as thirty years. The length of these contracts in many cases has been reduced to ten years.
A combination of factors including the slow economy, the termination date of many concession contracts, the future cost of infrastructure improvements, and construction projects limiting access to some concession facilities for extended periods are all resulting in an questionable future for many facilities.
As an example the contract that Forever Resorts has had for Mabry Mill and Doughton Park areas on the Blue Ridge Parkway are expiring. Decreases in their profits and closing of sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway for rebuilding of roadway guide walls are prompting the company’s decision not to renew their contract.
The company that operates the Peaks of Otter Lodge and other facilities on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia has also had their contract expire. The original contracted company was bought out by a larger one and they have stated that they are not interested in renewing a contract for only ten years. Such a short period would not enable the company to make back their investment for needed facility improvements.
The consequence of this situation is that there may not be the accommodations, food, and other services available to visitors on the Blue Ridge Parkway and other parks throughout the country that most have learned to expect.
For more information on the situation at Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway go to: