The National Park Service recently cancelled a solicitation for mountaineering services in Denali National Park because the NPS felt the applicable laws would have resulted in an excessively high franchise fee for the contracts which would have been issued. The solicitation involved complicated rights of preference and rights to match pursuant to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Because the highest evaluated proposal proposed an extraordinarily high 18% franchise fee, NPS concluded most of the other offerors had to match the proposed fee amount.
When the other offerors and members of the public pointed out that the 18% fee would have serious implications on the quality of the operations and the costs to visitors, NPS decided to cancel the Prospectus. NPS acknowledged that “[t]oo high of a franchise fee could create a financially unsustainable situation for some operators, which could result in a range of outcomes detrimental to visitors and other park values.” NPS has issued temporary contracts to the existing concessioners and intends to re-solicit the contracts.