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Point Reyes National Seashore hires new hostel operator, ousts longtime nonprofit

Point Reyes National Seashore hires new hostel operator, ousts longtime nonprofit

The Point Reyes Hostel will be under new management for the first time in 51 years after the National Park Service opted not to renew its contract with its longtime nonprofit operator.

Hostelling International USA has run the hostel located at 1390 Limantour Spit Road in the Point Reyes National Seashore since 1972. In the latest contract negotiations, the park service’s Pacific regional director opted not to renew its contract with the nonprofit in favor of a new private operator — Point Reyes Lodging Corp.

The corporation’s owner, Grant Cunningham, has run the campground and store in Pinnacles National Park in central California through his Pinnacles Recreation Co. since 2019.

Park Service concessions management specialist Sue Eibeck said concession contracts are awarded competitively. Applicants are asked to answer a series of questions and are scored based on the park’s evaluation criteria.

“The highest scoring proposal is selected for the contract award,” Eibeck wrote in an email, stating that she cannot provide further information about the bidders.

Elbeck said the contract, including its payments, will become available when it takes effect on Oct. 17. Point Reyes Lodging Corp. will operate the hostel under a 10-year contract.

Cunningham said visitors should expect no significant changes at the hostel other than some improved furnishings, additional amenities and a new name — Limantour Lodge. He said there are no plans for rate changes at this time.

“The hostel is a great property and we’re looking forward to connecting the guests with the national seashore and everything it has to offer,” Cunningham said.

A representative of Hostelling International stated the park service’s decision not to renew its contract was “greatly disappointing” given its relationship with the park service, reviews from hostel guests and its volunteer and staff engagement at the park.

“This is truly shocking and upsetting news for our stakeholders who have been involved with Point Reyes since the 1970s and for our staff who have lived on-site and ensured the highest standards of care to our guests and visitors to the Point Reyes National Seashore,” the nonprofit’s vice president Danielle Brumfitt Norris wrote in an emailed statement.

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In a news release, the park service stated that Hostelling International has “provided outstanding service” since 1972.

“NPS plans to work with both concession contracts to ensure a smooth transition and no disruptions to the visiting public are expected,” the release states.