Crater Lake Concession Contract Eyed By New Company

KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. — The National Park Service (NPS) announced in a press release that hospitality company ExplorUS intends to take over the concessions contract at Crater Lake National Park after several controversies arose at the park under the management of the current operator, Crater Lake Hospitality LLC, a subsidiary of Aramark.

Aramark has managed the park since late 2018 after taking over from Xanterra, a different concession company. Xanterra ran the park for about 15 years and received a lot of high ratings, but during Aramark’s tenure, some problems have come to light.

Roman Battaglia of JPR has given Aramark a low rating. The concessionaires are rated on a four-tier scale with scores from 0 to 100. Battaglia said that to compare to school grades, Aramark got a “D” in 2019 and then they got a bunch of “Cs.” He sets their grade for 2023 at an “F.”

Read: NPS Delivers Notice To Terminate Crater Lake Hospitality Contract


Issues At Crater Lake

Several things led to the NPS considering terminating the contract:

  • Last year over 4,500 gallons of diesel spilled from a tank at the Crater Lake Lodge. Although it spilled into an underground vault designed to catch these spills, Aramark did nothing for five days while this diesel continued to spill out. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)  found a lot of failures to do preventative maintenance on the tanks and to train maintenance staff.
  • A lot of raw sewage leaked into a stream that flows out of Crater Lake. The traps that Aramark is supposed to maintain have not been kept up. There were a lot of failures to keep things maintained and take care of things.
  • With staff, there have been issues with training staff and providing decent accommodation, as well as environmental problems and a failure to report fire safety code violations to NPS.


One of Oregon’s U.S. senator’s, Ron Wyden, has been vocal about Aramark’s failings. He put a lot of pressure on NPS to ensure that visitors are not affected, and prevent further damage to the park.


New Contractor Seeking Crater Lake Concession Contractor

The NPS said that ExplorUS has indicated that they are optimistic they will be able to provide a full suite of visitor services and transition all current Crater Lake Hospitality employees to their company this summer. The release says that “ExplorUS says they intend to honor all reservations and deposits for future stays and services.”

Before this can happen, NPS’s prior written approval is required. They can’t assign or otherwise transfer the Crater Lake Hospitality LLC concession contract to ExplorUS yet as the process will take a few weeks. They have not yet shared the details but Director Chuck Sams is committed to ensuring that there is no lapse in visitor services.

As the NPS has not officially approved it, the concession contract transfer is not valid yet.

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