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Park Service Cancels Contract Offers To Mountaineering Guides At Denali National Park


The National Park Service has pulled contract offers to mountaineering guides at Denali National Park and Preserve/NPS, Tim Rains

After granting 10-year mountaineering guide contracts to six concessionaires at Denali National Park and Preserve in April, the National Park Service has decided to void those offers and start the process anew, citing concerns from multiple groups about franchise fees and clarity around provisions in the contract.

“After significant feedback from businesses, guides, and the public about the process and potential outcomes of the mountaineering guide concession contract opportunity at Denali National Park and Preserve, NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis has decided that it is in the public interest to cancel the solicitation and to re-solicit a revised business opportunity,” the Park Service said last week in a release.

Mountaineering guide contracts allow businesses to lead clients to the top of 20,310-foot Denali, the highest peak in North America. In April, contracts to run from 2017 to 2026 were awarded to Alaska Mountaineering School LLC, Alpine Ascents International Inc., IMG Denali LLC, Mountain Trip Alaska LLC, and Rainier Mountaineering Inc. The National Outdoor Leadership School also was awarded a contract for its historic usage. As a result of the cancellation, those contract offers are null and void.

In lieu of new contracts, the Park Service will issue temporary contracts to the six existing concessioners, taking effect January 1. These contracts can be extended for up to two years. The agency intends to release the new prospectus in the next few months. 

“In the new prospectus, the Service will address concerns expressed throughout the process, including those related to franchise fees and enhanced clarity on the financial and Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act provisions,” the Park Service said.

In April, the Park Service said the new contracts were similar to those offered in the past “but include increased opportunity for commercial climbing during the shoulder seasons, through the implementation of the 2012 Climbing Allocation Environmental Assessment, and an expansion of the geographic area of authorization for climbing activities to include the entire Alaska Range within the boundaries of the park.”


Colby Coombs is an Alaska legend.  AMS is probably the most dialed in guide service in the Range.  They would be foolish to discontinue their contract at any point although I know this is just window dressing for the sake of avoiding impropriety.

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