National Park Service decides to help sue their concessionaires

Normally this information requires a Freedom of Information Act request, however this parks seems to hand it out like brochures.

A concessionaire at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area rented tubes to a family. The dam up above the tubing area was scheduled for and did release more water while the tube renters were on the river. A 9 year old girl was swept away during the higher flows and died.

The National Park Service released a report stating the concessionaire was liable for the fatality.
Allegedly, the tubing company was required to inform the renters of the dam release and what to do when an emergency occurs. This is all according to “federal law.”

I seriously doubt it. I even doubt the regulations are that strict. At best it might be in the concession agreement, but I even doubt that.

The report resulted in the concession agreement being pulled. The report was also forwarded to the federal prosecutor office. Why? What criminal act occurred when you rent inter tubes? Did they intentional not tell the family about the dam release? The concessionaire wanted to lose his concession agreement?

The concessionaire should immediately ask for the right to appeal and appeal this ruling. The NPS does not have much to stand on and here’s why.

A rental operation is not an outfitter or guide service. Just like a rental car company, the people renting the tubes could have taken them to any river and floated.

Protect your Customers and you protect your Concession Agreement.

It is always sad when someone dies. It is worse when a beautiful young girl dies this way. However it is not nerf tiddlywinks.

It is very easy and very necessary to educate your customers of the risks of the activities. A dam release is a known risk of the activity. A simple sign might have helped.

You should always tell your customers what to do if they are in trouble. Normally in a rental operation the best way is to have them call the “800” number on the side of the equipment you rent. You do have your name, phone number and website on everything you rent, right?

How are you going to get your gear back if you do not have your name on it?

If you are operating under a federal or state permit or concession agreement make sure you fully understand and do everything listed on the concession agreement. That is the first step the federal land manager always reviews when it is time for your permit to be renewed.

At the same time, knowing what you are required to do may also create a gray area for your operation. The gray area does not exist with the land manager, only with your customers. The land management agency cannot hold you liable for those things it does not tell you want to do in your permit.

The issue is you may not lose your permit, but you may lose the lawsuit.

However, you should always make sure you fight to hold on to your permit.

This is sad, very sad. It is going to get worse because of the lawsuit promoted by the NPS and the loss of the permit.

See Tubing company at fault in girl’s drowning

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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