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National Park Service offers reward in theft of historic Ahwahnee hotel sign

People dine outside the former Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.

People dine outside the former Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.

(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

The National Park Service is offering a reward for information leading to the recovery of the historic Ahwahnee hotel sign, which was stolen in February amid growing outrage over the renaming of Yosemite National Park landmarks.

The $1,000 reward comes more than a month after the sign disappeared during the evening of Feb. 27 or early Feb. 28. At the time, the hotel was controlled by Delaware North, which operated the park’s restaurants, hotels and outdoor activities.

The company lost a $2-billion bid last year to renew its contract, triggering a dispute with the Park Service.

Delaware North said the new vendor should have been required to purchase the concessions and other intellectual property with their original names, which the company valued at more than $50 million. The company said it acquired rights to the names when it purchased the previous concessionaire in 1993.

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FOR THE RECORD

April 7, 12:05 p.m.: An earlier version of this article said that Delaware North wanted more than $50 million from the U.S. government, not the new vendor.

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Beginning March 1, Yosemite’s concessions were renamed, with the Ahwahnee, which got its original name in the 1920s, becoming the Majestic Yosemite Hotel.

Park officials said the theft of “a piece of Yosemite history” is a federal offense and they hope the reward will lead to whomever is responsible.

Anyone with details about the stolen sign is urged to call National Park Service Ranger Matthew Phillipson at (209) 372-0246.

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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