Readers React: How Yosemite can re-name the Ahwahnee Hotel without losing to Delaware North

Trademark grab in Yosemite is too clever by half

The historic Ahwahnee Hotel is lit up as dusk falls over Yosemite National Park on March 24, 2014. The names of iconic hotels and other facilities in the park will soon change in an ongoing battle over who owns the intellectual property.

(John Walker / Associated Press)

Tinker with Yosemite, and risk the wrath of Times letter writers.

This lesson may not be enough to make Delaware North reconsider its position that it should be paid for property names it trademarked when its concession contract expires later this year, but for the last few weeks readers have made it a whipping boy for the outrage normally directed at much larger, more controversial companies.

Amid this anger, some readers have suggested ways for the National Park Service to gain the upper hand without paying Delaware North the roughly $50 million it wants to allow places like the Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village to retain their names. Some are humorous, others call for sticking it to Delaware North, and a few even say the official names are irrelevant.

Here are some of those letters.


John C. Gibson of Cambria, Calif., scrambles the letters to come up with not-quite-new names:

I think I have a solution to this problem.

There was once a hamburger restaurant in Davis named Murder Burger. Subsequently the business was sold, but the old owner would not sell the name. So the new owner changed the name to Redrum Burger. This simple reversal of letters was very funny, and it saved the advertising value.

Using this method, Ahwahnee Hotel becomes Eenhawha Hotel, the Wawona Hotel becomes the Anowaw Hotel, and Curry Village becomes Yrruc Village. The original letters are used, just in a different way.


Los Angeles resident Jon Merritt suggests a way for the National Park Service to punish Delaware North:

While I applaud the National Park Service’s vigorous legal challenge to Delaware North, it hasn’t gone far enough. For starters, instead of changing the name of the legendary Ahwahnee Hotel to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, how about naming it the Boycott Delaware North Hotel?

David Eckhous warns that the implications of this fight go to the highest levels of government:

Years ago, Delaware North was the winning bidder on concessions at Yosemite. Business continuity is inherently risky, so the question becomes which company has the deepest pockets come contract renewal time?

At most, purchasing the trademarks for places like the Ahwahnee should confer temporary rights; witness the former Nokia and Kodak theaters. At least some appreciation should be shown by Delaware North for making money from publicly held treasures.

At this rate, a future president might have to be called “The New Dude in La Casa Blanca.”

Lancaster resident Ralph S. Brax says names matter little to the people who visit Yosemite:

They can try to change the names of the Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village, but the millions of people who have visited Yosemite will always know them by their original names.


And Delaware North can hoist it.

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