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Argued November 6, 2001

Randolph, Circuit Judge: These are four consolidated cases on appeal from the judgment of the district court sustaining regulations of the National Park Service governing concession contracts in the National Park System. Many of the issues are tied to the history of the National Park System and the functions concessioners perform in the operation of the parks.

The history begins with the discovery of “Old Faithful” and the other natural wonders of what is now Yellowstone National Park. In 1872, Congress withdrew the land at the headwaters of the Yellowstone River from “settlement, occupancy, or sale,” thus creating the first national park in the United States. Act of Mar. 1, 1872, ch. 24, s 1, 17 Stat. 32. See also Aubrey L. Haines, Yellowstone National Park: Its Exploration and Establishment (1974). Not everyone had been enthusiastic about the plan to create Yellowstone National Park. A local newspaper editorial worried that “the effect of this measure will be to keep the country a wilderness, and shut out, for many years, the travel that would seek that curious region if good roads were opened through it and hotels built therein.” Haines, supra, at 127 (quoting the Helena Daily Herald of Mar. 1, 1872). In the final legislation, Congress responded by authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to lease portions of the park for “the erection of buildings for the accommodation of visitors.” 17 Stat. 33.

 
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