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Questions and Answers about Concessions

What are concessions?
Concessions are private businesses operating under contract in state parks to provide products and services designed to enhance the park visitor’s experience. Concessionaires offer services and goods that the State could not otherwise provide. Through partnerships and concessionaires, the State Park Service also can enhance its educational mission by providing historical re-enactments and other educational programs, known in the park profession as "interpretation." 

What type of concessions does State Parks have?
Concessions are typically small-scale, seasonal services, such as snack bars at lake swimming areas. Large-scale, year-round operations, such as golf course operators, are managed through lease agreements. Concessions include, but are not limited to boat rental opportunities, mobile food services and gift shops. Visit our list of existing concessions.

How are concessions established?
Concessions are established by the Department after study and evaluation of visitor needs, feasibility and compatibility with the park’s mission.

How are concessions proposed?
Concessions can be proposed by: 1) a park’s general plan process; 2) an area superintendent who sees a need for a concession; 3) a member of the public; 4) an entrepreneur or a corporation.

How are concession rents determined?
Most concession opportunities are offered through a public sealed bid process, which establishes fair market rent for the specific concession opportunity. State park concession rents can be a flat rate or a percentage of the concession’s gross sales, or a combination of both.

How much revenue is generated by concessions?
In fiscal year 2009, concession sales at state parks were approximately $1,300,000.

Where do concession rents go?
Funds from concessions are deposited into the General Treasury.

How are concessionaires selected?
Concessionaires are normally selected through a public bid process but contracts may be negotiated under certain circumstances. When a concession is offered via sealed public bid, the Department evaluates proposals based on criteria established for the project. A concession team appointed by the Director evaluates each proposal and prepares a "best responsible proposer/bidder" recommendation for the Director.

How long are the terms for concession contracts?
The majority of concession agreements will have a term of three (3) annually renewable years with the option for a second annually renewable three (3) year term. A rent analysis and adjustments are made after the first three years. Concessions requiring a large capital investment may negotiate for consideration of a longer term. 

How can a person find out about concession opportunities?
The Department maintains a mailing list of interested individuals. Concession opportunities are advertised in State and regional newspapers and on this web site. To be added to the mailing list call the State Park Service Office of Concessions at (609) 777-0237 or write to:
N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, Office of Concessions, Station Plaza 5, 4th Floor, 501 East State Street, PO Box 404, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0404.

What restrictions/limitations exist on the types and locations of concessions?
Concession capital improvements, programs, products, and services must be compatible with the classification and general mission of the affected park area. In addition, the Department generally avoids entering into concession agreements where the facilities, products, or services are adequately provided within a short distance outside the park boundaries.

How many proposals/bids are generally received on a concession?
The number of proposals/bids received differs for each concession.

What is a seasonal concession?
The location, type of activity, and the number of visitors at any given time determine whether a concession operates seasonally or year-round.

In what type of State Park Service Areas are concessions generally placed?
Concessions generally are placed in state parks, forests, recreation areas, marinas  and historic sites when compatible with the area’s mission.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: March 19, 2009

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