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  • June 2013 Newsletter
    here Return to top JULY CALL WITH NPS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR MCDOWALL COMMERCIAL SERVICES CHIEF ERICHSEN NPS Associate Director for Business Services Lena McDowall has accepted NPHA s invitation to introduce the agency s new Chief of Commercial Services Ben Erichsen and outline key NPS activities pertinent to the concessions industry NPHA Board members will be automatically invited to participate Other concessions industry members can join in by request The call is tentatively planned for the week of July 22nd To register for participation in the call send an email with the subject line July Call with NPS Commercial Services Office to tgeorgevits funoutdoors com Return to top CMAB WORKING GROUPS UPDATE The three working groups of the Concessions Management Advisory Board CMAB will begin work shortly If you have submitted your name to be part of one or more of the groups expect to hear from the NPS Commercial Services office soon The working groups will address 1 simplified processes for small concessioners 2 concessioner recognition and incentives 3 innovative commercial visitor services Kurt Rausch will provide staff leadership for the Recognition Incentives Group and is in the process of organizing an initial teleconference in July The group on simplified procedures for small concessioners will be coordinated by Anne Altman who has now begun contacting group members Start up of the group focusing on innovative visitor services has been delayed and is awaiting the award of a consulting contract Deb Hecox reported that the outreach to members should begin in the second half of July Although initial members of each Working Group have been named additional volunteers can apply for one or more of the groups Contact the responsible NPS official for the group noted above ASAP and also keep NPHA informed so we can help to ensure your inclusion in this important effort Plans call for the Working Groups to work actively between now and the fall of 2013 with recommendations going to NPS leadership by early 2014 Return to top KEY TRANSITIONS Stanley J Austin will begin service as the National Park Service Southeast Regional Director in mid July Stan has served as superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley National Park since 2010 He previously served as superintendent at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area as acting deputy superintendent at Yosemite National Park and deputy superintendent for Rocky Mountain National Park Austin began his career with the National Park Service in 1978 at Gateway National Recreation as an interpretive park ranger resource management specialist and then law enforcement ranger His NPS career was interrupted for nine years by time with the U S Environmental Protection Agency and selection as a Mike Mansfield Fellow to work with the Japan Environmental Agency He returned to the National Park Service in 2003 A New Jersey native Stan Austin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences with a focus on biology from Rutgers University He also received a graduate certificate in Natural Sciences from Duke University stanley austin nps gov 404 507 5600 Reggie Chapple is the new Chief of Partnerships and Philanthropic Stewardship at the national level aiding NPS Assistant Director for Partnerships and Civic Engagement Rich Weideman Reggie is responsible for national strategies regarding partnerships and community engagement cause related marketing donor cultivation and vetting partnership training and partnership construction over 1 million in national parks Prior to joining the NPS staff in December 2012 Reggie served as Community Outreach Specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI Los Angeles Division Reggie has over 20 years of nonprofit corporation leadership including time as Chief Operating Officer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles and President CEO of Dunbar Economic Development Corporation in Los Angeles Reggie holds a Master of Arts degree in Urban Planning from UCLA and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Journalism and International Relations from the University of Southern California Reginald Chapple nps gov 202 354 2112 John Rutter will leave Vail Resorts and the Grand Teton Lodge Company on October 1st He is turning over his responsibilities to Alex Klein Prior to assuming his new role in Wyoming Alex had been Vail Resort s Vice President for Hospitality Division Operations He had previously worked at Grand Teton Lodge Company as the Director of Hotel Operations and brings solid park concessions experience to his important role overseeing operations which include Jackson Lake Lodge Jenny Lake Lodge Colter Bay Village and Flagg Ranch Alex has been nominated for an appointment to the NPHA Board of Directors klein gtlc com 307 543 3500 Return to top HOUSE HEARING ON FEDERAL LANDS RECREATION ENHANCEMENT ACT The U S House of Representatives Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation held an oversight hearing on the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act FLREA on June 18 listening to representatives of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture as well as public witnesses Committee staff expects to work with recreation and agency interests over the summer to develop a bill and to conduct at least one more hearing this fall FLREA which authorizes federal recreation site entrance and facility use fees is now slated to expire in December 2014 FLREA replaced the experimental fee demo program which began in 1996 and allowed fee retention by collecting sites to overcome federal site closures and quality declines caused by tight agency budgets The authority now provides an estimated 300 million annually for recreation program spending There are a number of concerns about FLREA including 1 Recreation community fears that fees are simply replacing reduced appropriations 2 Controversy over fees collected at sites with very limited services 3 The high cost of fee programs including collection and public involvement 4 Special benefits for seniors at concessioner operated facilities and 5 Linkage with other efforts underway to upgrade recreation infrastructure including federal campgrounds Action to extend FLREA is likely before December 2014 The President s FY2014 budget proposed a one year extension Draft legislation which would extend FLREA for another 10 years or perhaps permanently is circulating

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  • May 2013 Newsletter
    could contribute to a stronger concessions program In response NPS leadership has now charged the CMAB with considering three important issues through Working Groups comprised of advisory board members NPS staff and consultants and concessioners The three Working Groups will address 1 simplified processes for small concessioners 2 concessioner recognition and incentives 3 innovative commercial visitor services Although initial members of each Working Group have been named additional volunteers can apply for one or more of the groups by expressing interest via email to commercial services nps gov More information on the leadership scope and time lines for each Working Group is available here Plans call for the Working Groups to work actively between now and the fall of 2013 with recommendations going to NPS leadership by early 2014 Return to top NPS TRANSITIONS The NPS Commercial Services Office will have a new national Chief beginning in early June Ben Erichsen will start his new assignment on Monday June 3 He has 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry in both the private and public sectors His background covers sales marketing advertising and operations He spent 10 years as Chief Marketing Officer for Marine Corps Community Services Okinawa a hospitality and community services organization responsible for seven military bases He also served as Corporate Director of Marketing for Hornblower Cruises and Events General Manager of the dinner cruise ships Spirit of Washington and Spirit of Mount Vernon and as a vice president for an investment banking firm specializing in private placement syndication of hotel and resort investments There have been a number of other key transitions in the Commercial Services Office Trystan Stern has taken over as the Commercial Services Program Manager Pacific West Region He succeeds Anne Altman who is now Special Assistant to the Associate Director of the National Park Service for Business Services Jill Morgan is the new Chief of Commercial Services Alaska Region replacing Kevin Apgar who retired in December 2012 Within top NPS leadership there is a vacancy at the Deputy Director level following the departure of Mickey Fearn His successor has not been named Peggy O Dell remains as the Deputy Director for Operations To follow new appointments retirements and more visit http home nps gov applications digest people cfm Return to top DIRECTOR S ORDER 21 REWRITE EXPECTED Changes in the fiscal realities of the National Park Service and growing strength in its partner organizations including concessioners and local friends groups have prompted the agency to begin a review of Director s Order 21 last revised in 2006 The document applies to donations and fund raising and includes comprehensive guidance for partnering with friends organizations and other nonprofit groups The agency has been told by NPF by local friends organizations and by NPHA that the current guidance is having a chilling effect on partnerships and cooperation In recent months DO 21 has been identified as a deterrent to accepting offers of concessioner assistance during Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts as well as implementation

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  • April 2013 Newsletter
    CEO in 2005 During her tenure REI nearly tripled in business to 2 billion Jewell has worked to ensure that public lands are accessible and relevant to all people from all backgrounds and to build a connection between the great outdoors and a new generation of Americans She was active in the America s Great Outdoors effort and served on the National Parks Second Century Commission Before joining REI Jewell spent 19 years as a commercial banker first as an energy and natural resources expert and later working with a diverse array of businesses that drive our nation s economy Trained as a petroleum engineer Jewell started her career with Mobil Oil Corp in the oil and gas fields of Oklahoma and the exploration and production office in Denver Colorado where she was exposed to the remarkable diversity of our nation s oil and gas resources An avid outdoorswoman Jewell finds time for skiing kayaking hiking climbing and other activities Return to top BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER HOLDS BRIDGEBUILDER SESSION ON FUNDING NATIONAL PARKS A national dialogue about supplementary funding strategies for national parks was held at the Bipartisan Policy Center BPC in Washington D C on March 19 The event brought together political leaders and park advocates to identify sustainable supplementary funding sources that can capitalize on bipartisan support for America s national parks The session was co hosted by the National Park Hospitality Association NPHA and the National Parks Conservation Association NPCA which had also joined to co host the first ever America s Summit on National Parks in early 2012 Speakers at the session included Senator Mark Udall D CO former Secretary of the Interior and Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne former U S Representatives Norm Dicks D WA and Jim Oberstar D MN and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman Prominent pollsters Geoff Garin and Whit Ayres co directors of a 2012 national survey on voter attitudes toward park and Great Outdoors issues added valuable insights into ways to use remarkable public support for parks to join diverse Members of Congress on initiatives supporting parks At the heart of the session was a compendium of 16 white papers offering potential new and non appropriated funding from revised fee programs to a dedicated Penny for Parks in federal motorfuel tax to new efforts to increase philanthropic support for parks A copy of the publication can be downloaded at http parkpartners org fundingparks html Comments on the white papers and submission of additional funding ideas are encouraged and should be submitted by May 1 to parksnext100years gmail com We need to both challenge and empower the agencies caring for America s national parks and other special places to develop sustainable plans to supplement traditional appropriations of general tax revenues There are ways to sustain a strong system of national parks not only for the next few years but long into the future and that is what we should be doing as the National Park Service turns 100 in 2016 and embarks on efforts to stay relevant and cherished for another 100 years said Derrick A Crandall NPHA Counselor Return to top SEQUESTRATION AND FY14 BUDGET There will be cutbacks in programs serving park visitors this year The timing and the specifics of sequestration are going to force that In simplest terms sequestration will force every unit of the agency and almost every program to cut spending by 6 from 2012 levels and because the cuts were made official nearly half way through the year the cuts will be most visible just when most parks attract peak visitation There have been some successes in reversing late openings and facility closure announcements but most national park units will be unable to fill regular staff vacancies or hire seasonal staff And virtually all travel and meetings have been cancelled And the Congressional action extending the spending CR continuing resolution through September 30 2013 did not give NPS the same kind of budgetary discretion provided to the Department of Defense to shift funds between programs and units The consequences of sequestration and the park by park implementation will grow from the roughly 130 million in initial cuts Late openings and unmanned entrance stations will reduce entrance fee and campground fee collections Delayed repairs this year will likely force more costly repairs in the future Some of the announced 2013 service reductions have been overcome through volunteered services and funding notably the efforts of the State of Wyoming and Yellowstone s gateway businesses But the short notice and the challenge of finding the basis for agreements have proven burdensome and the NPS leadership is cautious about reliance on emergency steps which could be misinterpreted by Congress and others as indicating that offered safety nets can be counted on year after year It is clear that concessioners have an opportunity to define offers for long term assumption of NPS efforts at the individual park level and can count on regional and national support for careful consideration of these requests because the outyear budgets appear far from rosy On a positive note the FY2014 budget proposal is based on FY2012 NPS spending and provides a slight increase in operating funds over that base year Director Jon Jarvis testified before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on April 12 that the requested funding while still requiring frugality is unlikely to force the significant cuts expected in 2013 His testimony is at www c spanvideo org program 312074 1 Return to top CMAB MEETING CANCELLED BY SEQUESTRATION BUT PROGRESS UNDERWAY Plans to hold a meeting of the NPS Concessions Management Advisory Board CMAB in Washington D C in conjunction with the 2013 Annual Meeting of the National Park Hospitality Association NPHA were squashed by sequestration Meetings and most travel were cancelled Department wide less than two weeks before the planned March 20 meeting Attempts to reinstate the meeting since it is funded by franchise fees which are exempt from sequestration failed We were

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  • January/February 2013 Newsletter
    Together the companies have been forced to lay off some 400 employees Although much of New York City and the surrounding area has returned to business as usual NPS continues to report that the two islands visited by some four million persons each year and generating 80 million in sales from souvenirs food and transportation and 16 million in franchise fees are closed indefinitely The experience has been painful with very limited communications and use of measures like Directors Order 21 to prevent concessioners from being involved in damage assessment and recovery efforts A meeting involving NPS Director Jon Jarvis the Northeast Regional Director the Director of the Denver Service Center and other key agency personnel was held on January 31 We understand that the meeting produced a clear charge to expedite the reopening of the two islands While ways to cut red tape are being employed including use of USDOT contracting authorities any target date for reopening could be weeks away U S Senator Chuck Schumer jumped into this issue on the morning of February 3 holding a news conference at the tip of Manhattan overlooking the Statue and making his feelings clear a target date for reopening is needed immediately Return to top MARCH MEETING PLANS The 2013 annual meeting of the National Park Hospitality Association will be held in Washington beginning the evening of March 17 and concluding March 19 The meeting will include a session with top Interior and National Park Service leaders on the afternoon of March 18 and a CONPAC event honoring U S Senator Mark Udall D CO Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks The meeting will also include a March 19 session focusing on New Sustainable Supplementary Funding for America s National Parks co hosted by NPHA the National Parks Conservation Association and the Bipartisan Policy Center and featuring VIPs including former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne former Members of Congress Jim Oberstar and Norm Dicks and political gurus Whit Ayres and Geoff Garin See the Bridgebuilder event story in this newsletter for details Full information on the meeting is available here including registration materials The deadline for making hotel reservations at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza is February 19 call 800 263 9802 and identify yourself as a member of the National Park Hospitality Association when booking to assure the discounted rate of 275 per night plus taxes Limited numbers of rooms are available both immediately prior and subsequent to our meeting at this rate Return to top BRIDGEBUILDER EVENT Support for America s national parks is widespread and unites the nation geographically politically demographically and economically Yet many challenges face the National Park Service today including a need to reach out to Americans who rarely benefit from park visits deferred maintenance of infrastructure found in the current array of nearly 400 park units rare integration of new technologies into park story telling and more Despite active support from elected and appointed officials at the national level in both parties the

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  • December 2012
    all major developed visitor areas in the national park system 2 Provide basic cell phone service at all major visitor areas in national park units as well as along most roads and at major sites such as trailheads 3 Deliver timely park focused information within national parks through smart phones tablets and computers 4 Give individual parks discretion on where cell phone service is available and whether the service provides full or emergency only service 5 Identify and employ best available and practical technologies that minimize visual impacts of cell and internet access systems 6 Create special gateway zones at park entry points using downloadable data to replace both low power radio systems and printed material hand outs 7 Design a system that is financially sustainable generating revenues adequate to install maintain and upgrade internet access To do this concessioners are offered the opportunity to develop and operate these systems either individually or through a collaborative venture with other concessioners 8 Offer additional bandwidth where possible to park visitors on a fee basis 9 Coordinate efforts of the NPS concessioners and friends organizations to create official park apps which can be readily downloaded to all major mobile channels and which work to aid park visits even when not connected to the internet through GPS and other technologies Deputy Director O Dell delivered the recommendations to the NPS Regional Directors and assigned John Wessels NPS Intermountain Regional Director and Sue Waldron NPS Assistant Director for Communications and lead for the NPS Go Digital component of A Call to Action to work with NPHA The list is now being reviewed by the regional and park teams and final selections of five maybe more sites will occur early in January A strategy session in February involving NPS NPHA and communications firms is likely Return to top CONCESSIONERS AND INCIDENT COMMAND TEAMS LESSONS LEARNED At least three significant incidents occurred in 2012 which interrupted concessioner services and highlighted challenges in NPS concessioner cooperation fires in Lassen National Park the hantavirus outbreak in Yosemite and Hurricane Sandy impacting a number of park units including Liberty and Ellis Islands Sandy has had a major and continuing impact on NPHA members Nearly 400 workers have been laid off indefinitely since that is also the only public or private timetable being offered by NPS on when the public will again be allowed onto those islands The interruption of business is severely impacting these concessioners but is also having a major negative impact on tourism in the New York City area The Statue of Liberty is one of the region s iconic and most visited destinations Visitors spend more than 80 million annually reaching and while on the islands and this spending supports hundreds of jobs and franchise payments of some 16 million annually to the National Park Service NPHA has urged the NPS to actively involve the concessions industry in dealing with such incidents in preparatory efforts in damage assessments and in recovery operations and especially in helping

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  • October/November 2012
    Group including key research on public awareness of and attitude towards parks and development of themes which can be used by the park family in a coordinated way Copies of key presentations and biographic information on more than 30 presenters are available at www parkpartners org Video highlights of Grand Thoughts will be added to the website soon For the schedule and list of participants click here Return to top FLREA ONE YEAR OUT The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act FLREA was signed into law in December 2004 and will sunset in December 2014 without Congressional action The legislation was based upon the Fee Demonstration Program enacted in 1996 and provides for retention of entrance and recreation fees by the National Park Service NPS and four other federal agencies FLREA now provides substantial funding for the recreation efforts hundreds of millions of dollars for the NPS alone Most FLREA authorized recreation fees are non controversial but not all In fact FLREA fees for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have prompted lawsuits and proposed legislation both seeking to limit application of fee authority Addressing these issues is important and can t be done well at Congressional hearings And important policy issues are unlikely to be addressed by the dedicated agency representatives who meet regularly to oversee the operations of FLREA NPHA will help to create forums for conversation and for developing consensus among major recreation interests on fee policies and programs Among the topics which should be discussed are these arising at the Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon meeting Should the senior pass be revised Should its cost move to 80 for a lifetime pass Should the age for eligibility be raised and if so to what age Should discounts on campsites for seniors be changed from 50 to 25 Should we provide a new free or reduced cost America the Beautiful Pass for those below the poverty level Should the National Park Service be allowed to benefit from a premium multiple year Centennial Park Pass Should we collect and retain addresses of America the Beautiful Pass purchasers and pursue renewals via email and direct mail Should national park entrance fees to revised to end subsidies for multiple day stays Should the USA like Canada provide all youth of a certain age with a free park pass to encourage park visits Should we encourage earning passes to recreation sites with entrance fees through volunteer work at non fee units to address the rich park poor park dichotomy resulting from 80 fee retention at collection sites Should FLREA s successor require inclusion of search and rescue insurance in backcountry permit costs with discounts for training and locator beacon use Should FLREA s successor require more efficient and convenient collection of fees through E ZPass and PayPal technologies Should Purple Heart recipients be automatically eligible to receive free access to federal recreation sites Currently they must submit proof of a permanent disability Return to top NPHA BOARD MEETS AND CONFIRMS SPRING 2013 MEETING IN DC SUPPORT FOR CONTINUED EFFORTS TO UNIFY PARK PARTNERS The National Park Hospitality Association Board of Directors met in conjunction with Grand Thoughts and confirmed plans to hold the organization s annual meeting in Washington D C in the spring of 2013 The board further created a task force to address Leasehold Surrender Interest and other visitor facility investment options over the next 90 days And the board also authorized an overture to other park partner groups to continue joint meetings through Summits and sessions like Grand Thoughts The board and NPHA members also had an extended and open discussion with NPS Deputy Director Peggy O Dell and Associate Director Lena McDowall covering a range of issues including incentives for excellence the NPS food standard and joint efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles the future of the Concessions Management Advisory Board and filling the Chief of Commercial Services post Discussion about restructuring of NPHA terms of officers and representation of concessioners of all sizes was deferred until a later meeting Return to top NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CHIEF OF COMMERCIAL SERVICES POST READVERTIZED The Chief of Commercial Services position with the National Park Service now held by Jo Pendry is once again posted on https www usajobs gov The job announcement number is WO DCKN 13 761225 DE Applications will be accepted through November 23 Here is a link to the announcement https www usajobs gov GetJob ViewDetails 328419500 NPS Associate Director Lena McDowall has invited our active assistance in finding topnotch candidates for the position writing Filling this position is my highest priority She offered this overview of the position National Park Service Seeks Chief Commercial Services Program The National Park Service NPS is looking for an innovative individual with strong leadership and business skills and a proven track record in the hospitality management and or recreation services field to serve as Chief of the Commercial Services Program The Chief of Commercial Services will oversee the delivery of a 1 1 billion dollar commercial services program that returns close to 77 million each year to the NPS in the form of franchise and permit fees The Chief provides leadership and program management for approximately 600 concession contracts 4 000 commercial use authorizations and several hundred leases Services provided through this program include lodging facilities restaurants and snack bars marinas souvenir and gift shops grocery and general merchandise outlets campgrounds boat rentals tour boats and buses horse operations outfitter and guide services and numerous other visitor services The position oversees a staff of 30 with responsibility for policy formulation oversight and review of concessioner finances oversight of operations and contract development and management of an asset facility management program for the buildings assigned to the concessioner and leases The Chief also provides guidance and support to seven regional concession program managers throughout the United States This is a high level management position within the NPS The selected person will work directly with NPS senior leaders and

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  • September 2012
    produce attractive ads and he noted that all of the leading agencies had focused on the role of parks as deliverers of stories Director Jarvis emphasized that the campaign would be designed in an inclusive way but NPS and NPF will ultimately make campaign decisions NPHA was asked to suggest key measurable outcomes The Director explained that the campaign was seen as a broad effort capable of uniting park interests including concessioners and outlined several initial goals 1 invigorating the current base of park visitors supporters 2 reaching out to a more racially diverse group of Americans and 3 finding ways to be relevant to America s Millennials He expressed concern about simply measuring visitation although he acknowledged the importance actual visits had in nurturing the deeper bond between the American public and national parks Kevin Kelly and Bob Shaw actively participated and urged inclusion of visitation intention to return and intention to recommend park visits as top KPIs Key Performance Indicators for the campaign The Director noted that the campaign was envisioned as having the same agency through 2016 but that the campaign was envisioned as continuing even subsequent to the centennial He told us that the agencies had predicted budgets of 6 to 12 million for the campaign through 2016 not including media buys Not all of this money is likely to come from NPF Additional support might come from partners including NPHA members as well as from corporations already associated with the selected agency Neil Mulholland amplified the Director s interest in making the campaign inclusive and noted that the campaign would likely depend highly on local activation with the active involvement of concessioners and others linked to specific parks and regions NPS and NPF called upon NPHA recreation companies and state tourism agencies to share research which could help guide the campaign NPHA representatives expressed concern that an effort led exclusively by NPS and NPF might be ill equipped to transition future changes in departmental and White House leadership NPCA expressed strong feelings that the campaign should have a clear means for involving parks community leaders Director Jarvis agreed to take the NPCA and NPHA concerns into consideration Further details on the campaign will be available at Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon Return to top NPHA Urges NPS to Adopt Clear National Strategy on Cell and Internet Connectivity in Parks NPHA has called upon the Director of the National Park Service to issue a Director s Order defining a clear national strategy on cell and internet connectivity in parks The policy has been sent to the Director and was also presented to the NPS Concessions Management Advisory Board during its September 18 meeting in Shenandoah National Park NPHA also released the results of its survey of cell and internet service at key parks demonstrating widespread poor service in parks NPHA noted that we live in a world where connectivity via smartphones is highly valued Economists have projected that the sale of millions of new iPhone 5 s over the next 90 days will boost the US GDP of 1 for the entire year Smartphones go everywhere with Americans and with people around the globe including those who visit our nation But in many of America s national parks these prized smartphones are little more than cameras because cell and data service even at visitor centers and lodges and other developed sites is poor or worse Poor connectivity is especially relevant as the National Park Service and its partners including concessioners seek to invite all Americans and more international visitors to visit and experience the natural historic and cultural treasures managed by the National Park Service Many of these nontraditional visitors will not find poor cell and data service understandable or attractive and in fact it may be an irritant that adversely shapes memories of a park visit Poor service will also handicap NPS and partner efforts to harness smartphones as a means to deliver interpretation and other important information to park visitors NPHA has noted issues to consider including mitigation of the visual impacts of added service and whether Wilderness and some other areas should be off limits to this kind of connectivity although even there SOS level communication might save lives and reduce the challenges of search and rescue operations NPHA noted that the amount of data downloaded and uploaded can be controlled noting that it is not NPHA s desire to encourage park visitors to watch movies in their lodge rooms and tents Yet technology is available to deliver acceptable cell service and internet access in defined portions of America s distant parks along key roads and where visitor services are now found With some education of visitors this limited access can permit the downloading of valuable information trail maps and more that can be used in portions of the park without service since GPS does not require cell or data connection The current response by national parks is inconsistent and the debate about access and connectivity is going on across the nation with incomplete information Inaction could mean that valuable opportunities to shape access to phone and internet will be lost permanently for example concessioner provided access could allow free access for basic levels of use and fees for higher usage and could welcome those signing in with quick links to NPS friends alliance and concessioner websites with visitor information The NPS Concessions Management Advisory Board gave its full support to NPHA s proposal The next step will include gathering technology experts park interpretive interests and other key parts of the parks community to explore the issue and available alternatives An important first step will take place at Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon where senior representatives of Verizon Wireless and ViaSat will join NPHA and NPS for conversations Return to top Concessions Management Advisory Board Meets The National Park Service Concessions Management Advisory Board CMAB met in Shenandoah National Park on September 18 NPS Associate Director Lena McDowall led the NPS

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  • August 2012
    NPHA suggestions including the creation of a special mark for the exclusive use of NPS concessioners The CMAB has recently lost a key member Ruth Coleman who stepped down following her departure from California State Parks Find information on the meeting here Return to top September 19 Healthy Park Food Seminar and Showcase The National Park Hospitality Association and Sysco will jointly host the pilot for a series of seminars and food showcases to broaden understanding of the National Park Service Healthy and Sustainable Food Program to increase awareness of the variety and quality of healthy products available to concessioners to increase skills in preparing and marketing healthy foods and to identify products and develop programs to increase voluntary choices of healthy foods The initial session will be held on September 19 from 8 00 am to 5 00 pm at the Denver Merchandise Mart 451 East 58th Avenue in Denver and is being organized by Delaware North Companies Parks Resorts The free one day event will begin with a healthy breakfast demonstration featuring items suitable for all levels of concessioner operations fine dining to cart Presentations by NPS concessions industry and food experts will include the National Park Service Healthy and Sustainable Food Program available Sysco support including menu planning and meal nutritional evaluation tools food preferences of today s domestic and international visitors marketing healthier food options to today s parks visitor trends in rating food sustainability nutrition wellness and feedback to Sysco on concessioner needs and desires Participants will be given a specialized map of the Sysco Food Show being held in the Mart showing vendors identified by Sysco as especially attuned to the Healthy Food in Parks initiative Participants will have ample time to visit the show floor creating an opportunity to speak with vendors and sample products The Denver Sysco Food Show is the largest show held by Sysco with 300 displays The program is designed to support efforts by NPS staff at the regional and park levels operating level employees of NPHA members and park concessioners providing food services who are not currently NPHA members Attendance is limited to 75 and requires preregistration click here for details Return to top Made in America Status NPHA organized a task force to consider calls from Congress and others to increase Made in America offerings at retail operations in national parks Significant progress has been made and this progress needs to be shared with the National Park Service and the Congress U S Senator Jon Tester D MT recently announced plans to pursue this issue legislatively and there is continuing interest in this topic in other Hill offices Actions taken to date include 1 Preparations for a new survey of major concessioners to update information on percentages of American made items offered for sale and developing a new definition which would allow inclusion of products like books and DVDs where the majority of value is generated in the USA 2 A draft NPHA guide to sourcing Made

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