The once and future Ahwanee Hotel.Kevin Drum

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Here’s some good news to take the taste of Trump out of your mouth. The dreadful new names plastered on the hotels and villages of Yosemite National Park a few years ago are finally being removed and the historic old names are being restored:

The Majestic Yosemite can be called the Ahwahnee Hotel again. The National Park Service on Monday reached a $12-million settlement in a long-running legal battle with Yosemite’s former facilities operator that permits that name — and several others — to be restored to their historic attractions.

….The dispute began in 2015 after Delaware North Companies Inc., which had operated the park’s restaurants, hotels and outdoor activities, lost a $2-billion contract renewal bid to rival Aramark. Delaware North sued, claiming that when it took over operations in 1993, it had been required to purchase the previous concessionaire’s intellectual property, which included the names of the attractions. The company wanted to be paid more than $50 million to allow Aramark to continue using the disputed names.

Curry Village, a collection of cabins that had carried the name since the 1880s, became Half Dome Village. Yosemite Lodge at the Falls was renamed Yosemite Valley Lodge. Wawona Hotel was renamed Big Trees Lodge, and Badger Pass Ski Area became Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area. For about three years, signs advertising many of the attractions were simply covered with tarps bearing the temporary names.

On Monday, the tarps came down.

This whole sordid episode was solely the result of Delaware North’s greed. There was never any question that the Park Service would have to pay them for their intellectual property when their contract ended, but Delaware North tried to squeeze an absurd $44 million price for it. The $12 million price they finally settled on is far closer to fair market value. Of that, the feds will pay $4 million and Aramark, the new concessionaire, will pay $8 million. In 2031 rights to the names will revert permanently to the Park Service.

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IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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