Concession facilities at Shenandoah National Park receive major upgrades
Under the terms of their 10-year contract with the National Park Service, the Delaware North Company is making significant improvements in many aspects of the concession-operated facilities at Shenandoah National Park, according to Park Superintendent Jim Northup. “We are delighted with the progress that Delaware North has made so far,” Northup said. “All of this work will really enhance the visitor experience,” he added.
Since 2013 Delaware North, a Buffalo New York-based company, has held the contract for managing and operating a total of 104 structures within the park. These facilities, such as dining, lodging, gift shops, camp stores, a horseback riding stable, and a gas station – are all located along the Skyline Drive within Shenandoah National Park, at the Elkwallow, Skyland, Big Meadows, Lewis Mountain, and Loft Mountain areas of the Park.
In the Skyland Resort area, 46 guest rooms were renovated – including eight fully accessible rooms – to also include accessible routes of travel between the rooms and the lower parking area. The check-in desk was renovated to allow for easier access for guests in wheelchairs. A number of the public restrooms at the facility were renovated and a “grab-and-go” counter was added to the lobby area for the convenience of guests just wanting a quick bite, or a lunch or snack for the trail. A youth crew – Hands-On Preservation Experience (HOPE) – rehabilitated the exterior of the Skyland Stables.
In Big Meadows Lodge, 2 fully accessible rooms and the public restrooms were renovated along with the shower, laundry, and restroom facilities at the Big Meadows Campground. The public restrooms at Big Meadows Wayside were renovated, and new gas pumps were installed, allowing for the purchase of diesel and for 24/7 pay-at-the-pump.
At Loft Mountain, the Wayside received a major exterior rehabilitation including a new deck and new roof. The Loft Mountain Camp Store also received major updates with newly renovated showers, laundry, and public restrooms.
Continuing in 2015 and 2016, the Delaware North Company at Shenandoah plans some improvements to additional facilities. These include:
- the complete renovation of the Big Meadows historic cottages
- upgrades to the Skyland Conference Center and the Big Meadows Lodge meeting room
- new mattresses at all lodging facilities
- new paint on the exterior of all Skyland and Big Meadows buildings
- newly replaced pathways at Skyland registration and dining areas for wheelchair accessibility
- night-sky compliant pathway lighting
- new garbage and recycle containers
- new water filling stations.
The Park and Delaware North have also been working together to feature more local foods, and products and a more varied and interesting menu for diners. “We encourage Park visitors to see and experience all these improvements” said Park Concessions Specialist Chad Tinney.
Delaware North General Manager at Shenandoah Wayne Soard added “We are pleased to be partnering with the staff at Shenandoah to make all of these improvements and we are receiving a lot of positive feedback on our efforts.”