The iconic Awahnee sign, age unknown. Credit, NPS.
As the clock ticks down on the legal dispute between the National Park Service and Delaware North Company (DNC) over trademark rights to some of Yosemite’s most iconic landmarks, an historic welcome sign belonging to The Ahwahnee Hotel has been stolen. The incident occurred Saturday night or Sunday morning according to a Yosemite spokesperson - only days before the sign was scheduled to be covered-up or replaced.
It is unclear whether the incident was motivated by the dispute or simply a brazen act of theft.
Just after midnight Tuesday, Aramark will officially take over as the concessionaire to Yosemite National Park. Unless the legal dispute is resolved beforehand, the Awahnee’s name will be changed, along with Curry Village, Wawona Hotel, Badger Pass Ski Area and Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. All attraction signage, as well as road signs and countless other systems, will be replaced or modified consistent with the outcome of the dispute. So while the Awahnee may be missing a sign, on Tuesday it might just be called The Majestic Yosemite Hotel anyway.
The National Park Service announced the name changes to much controversy back in January. Please see below for more information.