In furtherance of the findings and policy stated in section
5951 of this title, and except as provided by this subchapter or otherwise authorized by law, the Secretary shall utilize concessions contracts to authorize a person, corporation, or other entity to provide accommodations, facilities, and services to visitors to units of the National Park System. Such concessions contracts shall be awarded as follows:
(1) Competitive selection process
Except as otherwise provided in this section, all proposed concessions contracts shall be awarded by the Secretary to the person, corporation, or other entity submitting the best proposal, as determined by the Secretary through a competitive selection process. Such competitive process shall include simplified procedures for small, individually-owned, concessions contracts.
(2) Solicitation of proposals
Except as otherwise provided in this section, prior to awarding a new concessions contract (including renewals or extensions of existing concessions contracts) the Secretary shall publicly solicit proposals for the concessions contract and, in connection with such solicitation, the Secretary shall prepare a prospectus and shall publish notice of its availability at least once in local or national newspapers or trade publications, and/or the Commerce Business Daily, as appropriate, and shall make the prospectus available upon request to all interested parties.
The prospectus shall include the following information:
(A)The minimum requirements for such contract as set forth in paragraph (4).
(B)The terms and conditions of any existing concessions contract relating to the services and facilities to be provided, including all fees and other forms of compensation provided to the United States by the concessioner.
(C)Other authorized facilities or services which may be provided in a proposal.
(D)Facilities and services to be provided by the Secretary to the concessioner, if any, including public access, utilities, and buildings.
(E)An estimate of the amount of compensation, if any, due an existing concessioner from a new concessioner under the terms of a prior concessions contract.
(F)A statement as to the weight to be given to each selection factor identified in the prospectus and the relative importance of such factors in the selection process.
(G)Such other information related to the proposed concessions operation as is provided to the Secretary pursuant to a concessions contract or is otherwise available to the Secretary, as the Secretary determines is necessary to allow for the submission of competitive proposals.
(H)Where applicable, a description of a preferential right to the renewal of the proposed concessions contract held by an existing concessioner as set forth in paragraph (7).
(4) Minimum requirements
(A)No proposal shall be considered which fails to meet the minimum requirements as determined by the Secretary. Such minimum requirements shall include the following:
(i)The minimum acceptable franchise fee or other forms of consideration to the Government.
(ii)Any facilities, services, or capital investment required to be provided by the concessioner.
(iii)Measures necessary to ensure the protection, conservation, and preservation of resources of the unit of the National Park System.
(B)The Secretary shall reject any proposal, regardless of the franchise fee offered, if the Secretary determines that the person, corporation, or entity is not qualified, is not likely to provide satisfactory service, or that the proposal is not responsive to the objectives of protecting and preserving resources of the unit of the National Park System and of providing necessary and appropriate facilities and services to the public at reasonable rates.
(C)If all proposals submitted to the Secretary either fail to meet the minimum requirements or are rejected by the Secretary, the Secretary shall establish new minimum contract requirements and re-initiate the competitive selection process pursuant to this section.
(D)The Secretary may not execute a concessions contract which materially amends or does not incorporate the proposed terms and conditions of the concessions contract as set forth in the applicable prospectus. If proposed material amendments or changes are considered appropriate by the Secretary, the Secretary shall resolicit offers for the concessions contract incorporating such material amendments or changes.
(5) Selection of the best proposal
(A)In selecting the best proposal, the Secretary shall consider the following principal factors:
(i)The responsiveness of the proposal to the objectives of protecting, conserving, and preserving resources of the unit of the National Park System and of providing necessary and appropriate facilities and services to the public at reasonable rates.
(ii)The experience and related background of the person, corporation, or entity submitting the proposal, including the past performance and expertise of such person, corporation or entity in providing the same or similar facilities or services.
(iii)The financial capability of the person, corporation, or entity submitting the proposal.
(iv)The proposed franchise fee, except that consideration of revenue to the United States shall be subordinate to the objectives of protecting, conserving, and preserving resources of the unit of the National Park System and of providing necessary and appropriate facilities to the public at reasonable rates.
(B)The Secretary may also consider such secondary factors as the Secretary deems appropriate.
(C)In developing regulations to implement this subchapter, the Secretary shall consider the extent to which plans for employment of Indians (including Native Alaskans) and involvement of businesses owned by Indians, Indian tribes, or Native Alaskans in the operation of a concession, contracts  should be identified as a factor in the selection of a best proposal under this section.
(6) Congressional notification
The Secretary shall submit any proposed concessions contract with anticipated annual gross receipts in excess of $5,000,000 or a duration of more than 10 years to the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate. The Secretary shall not award any such proposed contract until at least 60 days subsequent to the notification of both committees.
(7) Preferential right of renewal
(A)Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall not grant a concessioner a preferential right to renew a concessions contract, or any other form of preference to a concessions contract.
(B)The Secretary shall grant a preferential right of renewal to an existing concessioner with respect to proposed renewals of the categories of concessions contracts described by paragraph (8), subject to the requirements of that paragraph.
(C)As used in this subchapter, the term “preferential right of renewal” means that the Secretary, subject to a determination by the Secretary that the facilities or services authorized by a prior contract continue to be necessary and appropriate within the meaning of section
5951 of this title, shall allow a concessioner qualifying for a preferential right of renewal the opportunity to match the terms and conditions of any competing proposal which the Secretary determines to be the best proposal for a proposed new concessions contract which authorizes the continuation of the facilities and services provided by the concessioner under its prior contract.
(D)A concessioner which successfully exercises a preferential right of renewal in accordance with the requirements of this subchapter shall be entitled to award of the proposed new concessions contract to which such preference applies.
(8) Outfitter and guide services and small contracts
(A)The provisions of paragraph (7) shall apply only to the following:
(i)Subject to subparagraph (B), outfitting and guide concessions contracts.
(ii)Subject to subparagraph (C), concessions contracts with anticipated annual gross receipts under $500,000.
(B)For the purposes of this subchapter, an “outfitting and guide concessions contract” means a concessions contract which solely authorizes the provision of specialized backcountry outdoor recreation guide services which require the employment of specially trained and experienced guides to accompany park visitors in the backcountry so as to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors who otherwise may not have the skills and equipment to engage in such activity. Outfitting and guide concessioners, where otherwise qualified, include concessioners which provide guided river running, hunting, fishing, horseback, camping, and mountaineering experiences. An outfitting and guide concessioner is entitled to a preferential right of renewal under this subchapter only if—
(i)the contract with the outfitting and guide concessioner does not grant the concessioner any interest, including any leasehold surrender interest or possessory interest, in capital improvements on lands owned by the United States within a unit of the National Park System, other than a capital improvement constructed by a concessioner pursuant to the terms of a concessions contract prior to November 13, 1998, or constructed or owned by a concessioner or his or her predecessor before the subject land was incorporated into the National Park System;
(ii)the Secretary determines that the concessioner has operated satisfactorily during the term of the contract (including any extension thereof); and
(iii)the concessioner has submitted a responsive proposal for a proposed new contract which satisfies the minimum requirements established by the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (4).
(C)A concessioner that holds a concessions contract that the Secretary estimates will result in gross annual receipts of less than $500,000 if renewed shall be entitled to a preferential right of renewal under this subchapter if—
(i)the Secretary has determined that the concessioner has operated satisfactorily during the term of the contract (including any extension thereof); and
(ii)the concessioner has submitted a responsive proposal for a proposed new concessions contract which satisfies the minimum requirements established by the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (4).
(9) New or additional services
The Secretary shall not grant a preferential right to a concessioner to provide new or additional services in a unit of the National Park System.
(10) Secretarial authority
Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed as limiting the authority of the Secretary to determine whether to issue a concessions contract or to establish its terms and conditions in furtherance of the policies expressed in this subchapter.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the Secretary may award, without public solicitation, the following:
(A)A temporary concessions contract or an extension of an existing concessions contract for a term not to exceed 3 years in order to avoid interruption of services to the public at a unit of the National Park System, except that prior to making such an award, the Secretary shall take all reasonable and appropriate steps to consider alternatives to avoid such interruption.
(B)A concessions contract in extraordinary circumstances where compelling and equitable considerations require the award of a concessions contract to a particular party in the public interest. Such award of a concessions contract shall not be made by the Secretary until at least 30 days after publication in the Federal Register of notice of the Secretary’s intention to do so and the reasons for such action, and submission of notice to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives.
 So in original. Probably should be “concessions contract”.
This subchapter, referred to in text, was in the original “this title”, meaning title IV of Pub. L. 105–391, Nov. 13, 1998, 112 Stat. 3503, which is classified principally to this subchapter. For complete classification of title IV to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section
5901 of this title and Tables.
Change of Name
Committee on Resources of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Natural Resources of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 6, One Hundred Tenth Congress, Jan. 5, 2007.
The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.
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