Murkowski: Park Service Decision is a Victory for Small Business in Alaska

Agency Responds to Alaskans’ Concerns by Issuing Temporary Contracts, Resetting Contract Process

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed the National Park Service’s announcement that it will cancel the current contract solicitation, issue temporary contracts for mountaineering guides in Denali National Park and reissue a prospectus for these services in the coming months. The decision reflects the concerns of  Alaska-owned mountaineering businesses with operations in the Park whose contracts may have been threatened due to ongoing issues with the solicitation process.                                                                                   

“After receiving critical feedback from Alaska-owned and operated businesses about the solicitation process for mountaineering guides at Denali, I was happy to take their concerns to the leadership of the National Park Service,” Murkowski said. “I was pleased to hear that the agency took those concerns into consideration and will be working with us to improve this process moving forward.”        

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. She has been working with concerned Alaska-owned concessioners since late April, when the NPS announced it would finalize the selection process and award new contracts. Alaska-owned businesses cited problems with the existing process, ranging from potential ANILCA violations to extraordinary and non-competitive franchise fees as issues complicating the process. After working with stakeholders and the NPS, the service agreed to revisit the process.

In order to ensure visitor services are not interrupted, the NPS will issue temporary contracts to the six existing concessioners for a two-year time period with identical or similar terms. In the months ahead, Murkowski will continue to work with stakeholders and the NPS to address concerns expressed by Alaskans throughout the contracting process, including those related to franchise fees and ANILCA provisions.