Concessionaire Sought For Ross Lake National Recreation Area

The Park Service is looking for a concessionaire to oversee 15 rental cabins in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Photo by Paul Anderson.

The National Park Service recently released a prospectus for lodging and associated services in Ross Lake National Recreation Area, one of three units that comprise the Washington state’s North Cascades National Park Complex. The concession is the only lodging facility in the national recreation area, although another facility is in Lake Chelan NRA that is part of the same complex.

Ross Lake Resort, perhaps the most unusual lodging facility in a national park unit, is comprised of 15 cabins, including three bunkhouses, that float on huge logs anchored to the southern shoreline of Ross Lake. The cabins are accessible only by boat. Each cabin has a fully-equipped kitchen, private bathroom, and woodstove, but guests are required to bring all of their own food, beverages, and personal items.

The prospectus requires the concessionaire to offer cabin rental, sale of fuel and oil, boat rental, outboard motor rental, boat taxi services, rental of fishing equipment, and sale of fishing licenses. In addition, the concessionaire is authorized but not required to offer the sale of convenience items, small marine engine repairs, canoe rentals, and guest taxi service on the Ross Dam Haul Road.

During 2010 the current concessionaire generated $739,287 in gross receipts, approximately half of which came from lodging. Boat and motor rentals accounted for approximately 30 percent of receipts. Receipts for 2010 were slightly above those of the prior year. The National Park Service projects a lodging occupancy rate of 85 percent to 90 percent for 2013.

The current concessionaire has no possessory interest in the property and is not considered a preferred offeror for the contract. The estimated initial investment for a new concessionaire is slightly above $2 million, most of which is payment for the existing cabins. The other major expense is for furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

The new contract is for 10 years beginning January 1, 2013. It includes a franchise fee of 3 percent compared to the current franchise fee of 2.75 percent. The prospectus indicates some possibility for minimal expansion, but only with enlargement of the water storage system. Proposals are required by 4 p.m. PST on August 2, 2012.