Question 1. What Are Concessions?
Concessions are private businesses operating under contract in state parks to provide products and services designed to enhance or facilitate the park visitor’s experience. Typically, concessionaire services are not provided by State employees.
Question 2. What Type Of Concessions Does State Parks Have?
Concessions range from small-scale, seasonal services, such as mobile food carts, to large-scale, year-round operations, such as marinas and lodging. Concessions include full-service restaurants, snack bars, mobile food services, retail sales, camp stores, lodges, golf courses, marinas, aquatic services, equestrian tours, theaters, and educational programs and demonstrations.
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Question 3. How Many Concessions Exist In The State Park System?
In fiscal year 2014-15, the Department held 201 concession contracts. In addition, the Department held 57 operating agreements with local government agencies and non-profit organizations for the operation of partial or full state park units. Local operating agencies may also enter into concession contracts with the Department’s approval.
Question 4. How Are Concessions Established?
Concessions are established by the Department after evaluating visitor needs, determining compatibility with the park’s mission, and, in some cases, after review by the State Parks and Recreation Commission to determine the concession’s compatibility with the park unit’s classification and general plan. Currently, any concessions with revenue projections or capital investments greater than $1,000,000 require review by the Commission and notification to the Legislature.
Question 5. How Are Concessions Proposed?
Concessions can be proposed by:
- A park’s general plan process;
- A district superintendent who sees a need for a concession;
- A member of the public;
- An entrepreneur or a corporation;
- A legislative mandate; or
- A local agency under an operating agreement with the Department.
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Question 6. How Are Concession Rents Determined?
The Department periodically conducts economic feasibility studies to establish minimum acceptable rents. Most concession opportunities are offered through a public Request for Proposals (RFP) or bid process, which establishes fair market rent for the specific concession opportunity. State park concession rent is paid by a flat rate or a percentage of the concession’s gross sales, whichever sum is greater.
Question 7. How Much Revenue Is Generated By Concessions?
In fiscal year 2014-15, concession sales at state parks exceeded $140 million and resulted in over $20 million in compensation to the Department in rent and/or facility improvements.
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Question 8. Where Do Concession Rents Go?
Rents from concessions are deposited into the State Parks and Recreation Fund (SPRF) or the Off-Highway Vehicle Fund (OHVF). The money deposited into these accounts is used to support the Department’s respective programs.
Question 9. How Many State Park Concession Opportunities Are Offered To The Public Each Year?
The figure varies but there are approximately 10 new or replacement concession contracts offered to the public annually.
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Question 10. Which Concession Types Pay The Most Rent To The State?
Rental payments from restaurant operations make up the bulk of the revenue the State receives from concessionaires. Other concessions that contribute significantly include retail sales, parking lot management, lodging, and marina operations.
Question 11. What Rules Or Regulations Govern Concessions?
Public Resources Code Sections 5080.03 et. Seq. governs concession contracts. These sections include guidelines for the RFP public bidding process, contract negotiations, and the responsibilities of the State Park and Recreation Commission and Legislature. The California State Parks and Recreation Commission sets policy for the Concessions Program.
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Question 12. How Are Concessionaires Selected?
Concessionaires are normally selected through a RFP or public bid process, but contracts may be negotiated under certain circumstances. When a concession is offered for RFP or public bid, the Department evaluates proposals based on criteria established for the project. A concession contract award board appointed by the Director evaluates each proposal and prepares a “best responsible proposer/bidder” recommendation for the Director.
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Question 13. How Long Are The Terms For Concession Contracts?
Generally, concession contract terms are five to ten years. However, capital improvement requirements may warrant a longer term up to 30 years for marina operations and 50 years for lodging as provided for in statute. Any other contract terms over 20 years require special legislation.
Question 14. How Can A Person Find Out About Concession Opportunities?
The Department maintains a mailing list of interested individuals who receive notices about concession opportunities as they occur. Concession opportunities are advertised in State, regional and trade newspapers, on the State’s RFP advertising portal, and on the Department’s website.
Question 15. What Restrictions/limitations Exist On The Types And Locations Of Concessions?
Concession capital improvements, programs, products, and services must be compatible with the park unit’s classification and general plan.
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Question 16. How Many Proposals/bids Are Generally Received On A Concession?
The number of proposals/bids received differs for each concession, but on average the Department receives from 2 to 4 proposals per project.
Question 17. What Is A Seasonal Concession?
Seasonal concessions operate only during certain months of the year. The location of a concession and the number of visitors at any given time determines whether a concession operates seasonally or year-round.
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Question 18. What Percentages Of Concession Contracts Have Interpretive And Educational Elements?
Approximately 20% of concession contracts have an interpretive focus.
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Question 19. How Did Concessions Get Started In State Parks?
In 1959, a California Department of Finance study concluded it was appropriate in some state parks to have concessionaires build and operate facilities. In 1960, the Legislature adopted Concession Law (Public Resources Code Sections 5019.10, et. seq.). In 1982, the Concession Law was amended (Public Resources Code Sections 5080.03 et. seq.) to include legislative oversight. Review Public Resources Code Sections 5080.02 – 5080.29 for the current concession laws.
Question 20. In What Type Of State Park Units Are Concessions Generally Placed?
The decision to place a concession in a state park unit is guided by the classification and general plan for the park unit. Concessions generally are placed in State Recreation Areas; State Beaches; State Parks; and State Historic Parks.
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Question 21. How Are The State Parks And Recreation Commission And Legislature Involved In The Concessions Program?
RFPs for concessions with anticipated gross receipts and/or capital improvements exceeding $1,000,000 must be presented to the State Park and Recreation Commission for them to determine whether the concession is compatible with the park unit classification and general plan. In addition, the Legislature must be provided with 30-days advance notice of the Department’s intent to advertise the RFP.
Question 22. What Is The Guide Concession Program (gcp)?
The GCP will select qualified individuals to conduct big game commercial guiding on state land. The program’s selection process would involve qualified individuals submitting an application with supporting documentation to the Division of Mining, Land and Water (DMLW), which would then be reviewed and scored by a panel of agency personnel. Concession permits would be awarded and managed by DMW.
Question 23. Why Do We Need Such A Program?
Currently there are no limits on the number of guides conducting big game guiding on state land. The Board of Game, the Big Game Commercial Services Board and Representatives from the Big Game Guide Industry have identified a variety of issues and have requested DMLW to analyze and develop a program that would address problems occurring in the field including: lack of wildlife conservation, loss of quality of experience, conflicts between user groups, a lack of land stewardship and inadequate levels of enforcement.
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Question 24. What Legal Authority Does Dnr Have To Develop And Manage A Program Like This?
- The GCP will be authorized pursuant to Alaska Statutes (AS) 38.05.020 – Authority and duties of the commissioner, AS 38.05.035 – Powers and duties of the director, and AS 38.05.850, Permits.
- Specifically the general grant in AS 38.05.035(4) gives the director of DNR the power to, “prescribe application procedures and practices for the sale, lease, or other disposition of available land, resources, property, or interest in them;” and AS 38.05.035(6) states that the director may, “under the conditions and limitations imposed by law and the commissioner, issue deeds, leases, or other conveyances disposing of available land, resources, property, or any interests in them.
- Further more AS 38.05.035(13)(b)(10)(e) states that: “Upon a written finding that the interests of the state will be best served, the director may, with the consent of the commissioner, approve contracts for the sale, lease, or other disposal of available land, resources, property, or interests in them. In approving a contract under this subsection, the director need only prepare a single written finding. In addition to the conditions and limitations imposed by law, the director may impose additional conditions or limitations in the contracts as the director determines, with the consent of the commissioner, will best serve the interests of the state.”
- This broad authority to dispose of “interests” in “land, resources and property” necessarily includes arrangements that are not outright sales or leases, including concession contracts, licenses, permits, etc. Concession contracts are legally indistinguishable from licenses or permits.
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Question 25. Will An Assistant Guide Be Able To Apply And Obtain A Concession Permit?
No, only registered and master guides will be able to apply for and receive a concession permit.
Question 26. Does Size Of Development Have A Positive Or Negative Effect On Scoring?
We are working toward resource conservation and how an applicant addresses that depends on their operating goals and needs.
Question 27. What Are The Categories In The Scoring Criteria?
There are four categories in the scoring criteria with each having multiple subcategories.
The four main categories are:
- Demonstrated Experience as a Big Game Guide and Guide Business Owner.
- Operating Strategies Used to Protect and Conserve the Natural Resources of the Concession Area.
- Business Plan for Operating a Successful Business while Providing Quality Service to the Clients and Financial Ability and Commitment.
- Violations/Citations/Convictions/Default History.
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Question 28. Will There Be A Bidding Process Or A Set Price For Each Concession?
All fees amounts mentioned below are not final and are presented for the purposes of the proposed decision. The goals of the GCP fee structure are to cover the cost of the GCP and provide a reasonable return to the state. DMLW will be requesting that all fees will be solely program receipted to the GCP and not to the state’s general fund. All of the final fee amounts will be established in regulation, following the Final Decision for this program.
The proposed fees for the GCP are as follows:
- Application Fee: Every application must be accompanied by a proposed $250 application fee. This fee is to cover the administrative costs for handling and preparing applications for the evaluation panel(s).
- Annual Fee: All concession holders will be required to pay an annual fee for the duration of the concession permit. This fee will be based upon the actual program cost of running the GCP, including: staff salaries, administrative costs, calculated loss of revenue from decreased permit fees, inflation proofing for the program and accounting for concession vacancies. Currently, the annual program cost is estimated at $1,000,000.00. The annual fees for full and limited concessions are different due to the level of administrative costs for each permit type. The proposed annual fee for full concessions (215 offerings) is $4000.00 and is $2000.00 for a limited concession (85 offerings) based on the preferred scoring option.
- Client Fee: There is a proposed per client fee assessed annually. These fees would apply to both resident and non-resident clients. The client fee would be paid by the contracting guide of that client to the state. The proposed client fee is $750 per client for those species that require a guide for non-residents (brown bear, Dall sheep, mountain goat) and $500 per client for all other species. This fee is per client/per contracted hunt only, no matter the number of animals pursued by that client within that contracted hunt. For example, if a client is pursuing a brown bear and a Dall sheep, the client fee is $750 for that contracted hunt. If a client is pursuing a brown bear and a moose the client fee is also $750 for that contracted hunt. If a client is pursuing a moose and a caribou the client fee is $500 for that contracted hunt.
- Liability Insurance: Per 11 AAC 96.065, concession holders shall secure, and maintain in force, insurance during the term of the authorization.
- Bonding: After consideration of the potential risk to the state, per 11 AAC 96.060(a), the department may require bonding for GCP concessions. Bonds for any other authorizations such as land use permits or leases will still be necessary.
Question 29. What If There Is A Tie In The Process?
Ties in scores for the same concession area and type will be settled in the following manner:
- If a concession area has more than one available concession and the two highest scores are the same, both applicants will be offered a concession.
- If a tie occurs between applicants and there are not enough concessions to make an offer to both applicants, the tie will be broken by the scores on pre-determined questions from the scoring criteria. The evaluation panel will determine which questions are the tie-breakers prior to reviewing an applications. The applicant who had the highest combined score on the pre-determined questions will be offered a concession.
- If a tie has occurred on the combined scores of the pre-determined questions, then the winning applicant will be selected by lottery.
Question 30. How Many Years Will I Be Able To Keep The Concession?
As proposed, the initial concession offerings will be staggered. All of the concessions in the state will be offered in the first year but one third of those will be authorized for 4 years, one third for 7 years, and one third for 10 years. At the end of the 4 and 7 year terms, the next concessions offered for those same areas will be authorized for 10 years. This means that once the first concession period is complete, all of the concessions statewide will be authori
zed for 10 years. There will be a review and renewal at 5 years required on the 7 and 10 year concessions in their first term and then on every concession thereafter. The review will consist of a records check for compliance with the concession contract requirements and regulations and a check for any changes in violation history. If the concession holder is in good standing and wants to continue the contract, a renewal for the second 5 years will be issued noncompetitively.
Question 31. What Will Happen To My Leased Site If I Do Not Win A Concession Area?
If the lease holder is not selected to operate in the area, DMLW will provide an opportunity to modify the operations plan of the lease to allow for use other than big game guiding.
Question 32. How Long Will I Have To Remove My Property From State Land If I Do Not Win A Concession?
Award notifications and results would be available by early fall, 2014. If you were not a recipient of a concession you would have until December 31, 2014 to remove all personal property from state land. Each location will be reviewed independently to allow sufficient time to remove personal property.
Question 33. How Will The State Deal With Predator Control Areas?
DMLW will be working closely with the Department of Fish and Game and the Board of Game to address these issues. We are working to put the program together to not interfere with the ADF&G predator control management.
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Question 34. Why Do We Need Such A Program In Kodiak Since There Are Already Tag Drawings Which Limit The Number Of Operators In The Area?
DMLW has decided to implement this program statewide. We understand some areas are currently experiencing higher conflicts than others but we need to keep state wide continuity for the guiding community.
Question 35. When Will The New Guide Use Area Boundaries Go Into Effect?
The guide use area maps are not under the control of DMLW. Effective dates for revised Guide Use Area boundaries will be up to the Big Game Commercial Services Board to decide.