FLAGSTAFF (AP) – The National Park Service has awarded a rafting contract for the Colorado River to a subsidiary of concessionaire giant Aramark – and took the deal away from an Arizona company that has long offered rafting.
Colorado River Discovery has led rafting trips from the Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry in northern Arizona since the park service awarded it the concession contract in 2006, the Arizona Daily Sun reported on Friday. The company's contract expires at the end of this year.
The park service manages this section of the river as part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
The decision announced last week was a surprise to company officials who said the rafting trips make up the majority of services they offer. The decision was baffling and disappointing, General Manager Korey Seyler said.
"There are many questions that the owners and management have to consider in the near future," Seyler said.
At peak season last summer, the company employed about 90 people. Through the company, about 57,000 people traveled down the Colorado river. Seyler said he hopes many of the seasonal employees will be hired by Aramark.
"It's a valuable contract, a great thing to have under your belt," Seyler said. "We knew people would be coming for it and gunning for it."
Proposals for the 10-year concession contract were evaluated by a panel of National Park Service representatives. The park service did not release how many proposals the agency received.
A different subsidiary of Aramark holds a park service concession contract to operate marina facilities at locations on Lake Powell. Another subsidiary under Aramark held the Glen Canyon rafting contract prior to Colorado River Discovery's 2006 contract.
Aramark will operate the rafting trips under the name Glen Canyon Rafting Hospitality, company spokesman David Freireich said.
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