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The Peaks of Otter will be back in business none too soon.
Monday, April 22, 2013
We would place the Peaks of Otter among the nation's top scenic vistas in the National Park Service's vast collection of the world's most beautiful and treasured spots. Visitors, though, have been scarce since Thanksgiving due surely to the usual winter slowdown, but also to the closing of the restaurant, lodge and other concessions along the Blue Ridge Parkway's Mile Post 86.
So it is welcome news that the park service has entered into a 10-year contract with Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts to reopen and manage the Peaks of Otter facilities.
The company is no stranger to the park service or to Virginia. It manages facilities at many of the nation's finest parks - the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Shenandoah. So Delaware North will reopen the Peaks of Otter accompanied by visitors' expectations that the company will provide a top-notch experience that blends seamlessly with what nature already offers.
Many stand ready to welcome the management company, especially since there was grave concern about the facility's future when the former vendor opted not to renew its concession contract and another had not stepped forward by the closing at Thanksgiving.
By February, a number of suitors expressed interest, and the park service on Friday announced that Delaware North was selected. Though the contract terms have not been made public, the company has agreed to pay more than the minimum requirement of 4.5 percent of gross returns. How lucrative that turns out to be depends on the ability of Delaware North to fill the restaurant and 63 rooms at the three lodge buildings and whether it will operate year-round, as in the past, or opt for a May 1 to Oct. 31 season.
Bedford businesses that capture visitors' spin-off dollars will be among those admiring the sweet view of travelers once Peaks of Ottter reopens.
Weather JournalStorm track isn't very snowy for us