National Parks, Recreation, & Tourism

For over 40 years, the firm has provided counsel on the highly specialized legal, regulatory, and strategic business issues that play a critical role in facilitating visitor enjoyment and use of our National Parks, National Forests, and other Federal land areas. Clients represent a diverse range of services including: lodging, marinas, food and beverage, merchandising/retail, outfitting and guiding (whitewater rafting, scenic float trips, and other), cruise ships, tour vessels, ferries, watersports, and camping.

With the ongoing nature of contract and permitting relationships, maintaining positive and cooperative relationships with agency partners, at the local, regional, and national levels is critically important.  We pride ourselves on our ability to build and foster partnerships between private sector entities and the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Forest Service, and other federal agencies.  Building on our nearly forty years of practice in this area, we continue to enjoy pursuing both traditional and innovative approaches; however,  if cooperative resolution is not possible, we have the expertise and experience to pursue other routes when appropriate or necessary.

Areas in which our clients have operated include:

  • Big Bend National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Buck Island Reef National Monument
  • Canyon de Chelly National Monument
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Denali National Park & Preserve
  • Gateway National Recreation Area
  • Glacier Bay National Park
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Isle Royale National Park
  • Lake Berryessa, California
  • Lake Mead National Recreational Area
  • Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • Virgin Islands National Park
  • Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
  • Yellowstone National Park

    Having represented concessioners since the firm’s inception, Van Ness Feldman’s attorneys possess substantial knowledge in matters relating to the Concessions Management Improvement Act (CMIA), the now-repealed Concessions Policy Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wilderness Act, the National Park Service Organic Act, and the many other federal laws, regulations and policies affecting the NPS and other federal land management agencies and their unique relationship with concessioners.


    Operating under a concession contract or permit involves an ongoing relationship with a federal agency with interests that sometimes do not align with those of your business.  Operating in accordance with the terms and conditions of your contract or permit, and navigating the many implementation issues that may arise over the term of a contract or permit, require an awareness and understanding of the many complex laws, regulations, and policies that govern these authorizations.  Van Ness Feldman has a strong understanding of these laws, regulations, and policies, as well as the ability to help clients work cooperatively with agency officials when possible—and employ alternative strategies if necessary.  Whether the issue involves amending an existing contract or permit, seeking a contract or permit interpretation, addressing a rate administration issue, dealing with an operational problem, addressing leasehold surrender interest issues, securing a contract extension, responding to or appealing an unfavorable annual rating, or other contract or permit administration matter, Van Ness Feldman’s attorneys possess the tools to address the situation.


    Preparing winning proposals for the award of concession contracts is an increasingly resource-intensive task requiring specialized knowledge of the industry and of agency mandates, policies, and priorities.  We regularly employee our familiarity with the federal agencies' processes with our understanding of what might provide a winning edge in a competitive bidding situation to partner with prospective or existing concessioners on strategy and development of proposals to obtain contracts and permits.