Sunday, July 7, 2013

Parks & Wildlife Request Proposals for Guide Services at E Rock

Deadline for submission is July 18th.  There is a long list of requirements and guidelines available from or see copy below.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Request for Proposals
For the Provision of Guide Service Activities
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Attention: Park Superintendent
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
16710 Ranch Road 965
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624
Phone: (830) 685-3636
Fax: (830) 685-3346
Closing Date – July 18, 2013
Enchanted Rock RFP
Texas Park and Wildlife Department Mission:
To manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
State Parks Division Mission:
Manage state parks and historic sites to conserve natural and cultural resources, provide recreational and educational opportunities, and foster an understanding of the diversity of Texas' lands and heritage for all generations.
Enchanted Rock RFP
Request for Proposals
Guide Service
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (ERSNA) is currently accepting proposals beginning June 19, 2013 through July 18, 2013 at 5:00 P.M. for guided service providers for backpacking tours, educational workshops, hiking tours, instructional services, photography seminars, sightseeing and rock climbing tours. Proposals that do not fall under these categories will be considered only if the resulting use conforms to the objectives of the guide service program, approved public use plan and is respectful of the Park’s natural and cultural resources.
The Guide Service Contract granted will be for a two (2) year period beginning September 1, 2013 and will be awarded after a recruitment and selection process for applicants.
The Guide Service Provider contract may not be sold or transferred, or used in any manner by persons other than the approved contracted Guide Service Provider. Guide Service Provider will not solicit investments in existing contracted activities. Moreover, the contract does not convey or grant any right of renewal.
Legal Notice
This announcement is provided for information purposes only and has no bearing as to obligations on the part of the state or contracting party in relation to the enforcement of any contractual rights or obligations incurred for the operation of the guide service concession described herein. Only the terms and conditions as specified in a duly executed contract will be binding on either party.
Purpose of the Guide Service Program
Guide Service contracts are issued to Concessionaires to enhance public use and enjoyment of the Park. The commercial aspects are secondary to visitor recreational/educational benefits and are not intended to disturb or disrupt the peace and harmony of a park visit.
Persons designated by the Department to provide guide services in state parks will complete special training in the use of the parks’ natural and cultural resources, conservation of the resources, state park rules and regulations, and pay an annual guide service fee and/or user fees for the privilege of providing group programs or activities.
Guide Service Definition
1. Guide service is any activity involving the escort of, personal direction of, or attending to visitors in Texas State Parks for the use and enjoyment of the state park. Guide Service Provider Program is available to commercial entities providing guided services under contractual agreements.
2. Commercial activities that are of a service nature are excluded unless there is a related guide or other service provided related to the use of the State Park or its resources. Entities desiring to engage in such activities may be required to enter into a different contractual arrangement with the Department and pay a commercial use fee.
3. Entities providing commercial vehicle shuttle services and outfitter-provided rental equipment deliveries to park visitors are not considered Guide Service Providers. These entities or individuals may apply to the Department for consideration for a Park Access Agreement.
Enchanted Rock RFP
Location and General Information
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (ERSNA) consists of 1,643.5 acres on Big Sandy Creek, 18 miles north of Fredericksburg off of Ranch Road 965, on the border between Gillespie and Llano counties. It was acquired by warranty deed in 1978 by the Nature Conservancy of Texas, Inc., from the Moss family. The state acquired it in 1984, added facilities, and re-opened the Park in March 1984, but humans have visited here for over 11,000 years. ERSNA was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1970 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The Rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome that rises 425 feet above ground, 1,825 feet above sea level, and covers 640 acres. It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States.
Tonkawa Indians believed ghost fires flickered at the top, and they heard weird creaking and groaning, which geologists now say resulted from the rock's heating by day and contracting in the cool night. A conquistador captured by the Tonkawa described how he escaped by losing himself in the rock area, giving rise to an Indian legend of a "pale man swallowed by a rock and reborn as one of their own." The Indians believed he wove enchantments on the area, but he explained that the rock wove the spells. "When I was swallowed by the rock, I joined the many spirits who enchant this place." The first well-documented explorations of this area did not begin until 1723, when the Spanish intensified their efforts to colonize Texas. During the mid-1700s, the Spaniards made several trips to the north and northwest of San Antonio, establishing a mission and presidio on the San Saba River and carrying out limited mining on Honey Creek near the Llano River.
The site also offers recreational opportunities including primitive backpacking, camping, hiking, picnicking, geological study, bird watching, star gazing (minimal light pollution) and technical rock climbing. Visitors to ERSNA must not disturb plant or animal life, geological features, or Indian or historic artifacts. These park resources are protected by law! Bring your own firewood. Rock Climbers must check in at the ERSNA Headquarters; route maps and climbing rules are available.
Facilities include restrooms with showers; walk-in water sites (25 to 100 yards) with tent pads, picnic tables, fire rings, hike – in primitive sites, located in three unique areas with composing toilets (backpack camping in designated areas only); picnic sites for day-use with tables and grills; a group picnic area with a pavilion and restrooms; a 4-mile trail for backpacking/day hiking that winds around the granite formations; a short, steep trail leading up to the top of ERSNA (foot traffic only); an interpretive center; and a Texas State Park Store. No facilities are available for vehicular camping of any type.
Guide Service Program – Guidelines
1. Any activity authorized under a Guide Service Contract shall conform to applicable laws of the State of Texas and to the Department’s regulations, policies and procedures.
2. The authorized guided activity shall be limited to appropriate public use as defined in State Park Mission.
3. Guide Service Providers may be allowed to link to the Department’s State Parks website section; display brochures and flyers within the local Park headquarters; and drive/park branded company vehicles on site. Any other forms of advertising/marketing within the Park boundaries are prohibited unless approved in writing by the Park Superintendent.
4. The Department owns and retains all proprietary rights to program names, collateral materials and current and future logos. The Department will grant the right upon request to utilize these intellectual properties in connection with providing guided services in the Park. Guide Service Providers may not claim any rights to these branded properties.
Enchanted Rock RFP
5. A Guide Service Provider will not be allowed to construct any permanent or temporary structure in the park.
6. Guide Service Provider who transport clients into and within a State Park must provide to the Department a Certified Drivers Record for all drivers transporting clients.
7. The Guide Service Provider assumes full financial responsibility for costs and charges associated with any and all search and rescue activities or medical emergencies resulting from the use of the State Park area. Guide Service Provider may incur charges for Park staff time and resources utilized during emergency responses.
8. The duration of the Guide Service Provider contract shall be up to two years from the date of authorization unless the Department determines that a temporary contract is required to extend services or test a new product/service.
9. All trips/programs will be led by a trained guide(s) competent in the specific activity to be conducted. Competency standards are defined as those prevailing in the industry and used by reasonable and prudent operators providing similar services. There must be a minimum of one (1) guide who is responsible for the group and who acts as the trip/program leader. When the number of participants exceeds the maximum group size, additional guide(s) will be required.
10. Maximum group size will be limited to a number that can be reasonably and safely accommodated in the activity or setting in which it is to occur. Exceptions may be granted for group size/counts by the Park Superintendent, when in his/her judgment, the increase will not result in threats to health and safety or adverse resource impacts, and/or diminish the quality of the trip/program. Guides will not be counted towards the group size.
11. Depending on public demand and carrying capacity, limits may be placed on the number of trips/programs and user days allowed under the contract. Within designated areas, limits may be placed on dates and times of use. The contract does not grant any preferential right or use of specific locations within the park.
12. Guide Service Provider trips/programs must be scheduled and administered by the Park.
13. No music may be played or excessive noise produced during guide service activities. “Excessive noise” is defined as any sounds that may be deemed disruptive to the peaceful enjoyment of Park visitors. The judgment of the Park Superintendent or his designee will be final.
Public Rates and Charges
Guide Service Provider’s rates and charges should be set taking into consideration marketplace factors, including profitability, customer price value and satisfaction. The reasonableness of the Guide Service Provider’s rates and charges to the public shall be judged primarily by comparing current charges for services of comparable character under similar conditions.
Reservations and Use of Other Park Facilities
The Guide Service Contract does not grant use of the Park’s public facilities. Guide Service Providers wishing to use such facilities must reserve them separately under the normal reservation process through the Customer Service Center. Use of overnight accommodations may be available at prevailing public use rates.
Enchanted Rock RFP
Department’s Lands
Guide Service Provider will not be allowed to construct any permanent or temporary structure in the park. The Guide Service Contract does not grant or convey exclusive use of any area of the Park.
All Guide Service Providers are required to carry general liability coverage from a US-based company for activities conducted within the Park. Additionally, Guide Service Providers may also be required to carry automobile liability insurance as described below. All policies must be effective prior to the execution of a Guide Service Contract. Failure to maintain the required coverage will result in cancellation of the contract.
Comprehensive General Liability Coverage
Guide Service Providers are required to obtain and maintain at their own expense a commercial general liability policy naming the Department as an additional insured. Additionally, this policy must:
1. Be written by an insurance carrier, and in a form, approved by the Department; and
2. Be in the amount of at least $500,000.00 per occurrence for personal injury, bodily injury and property damage.
If awarded a Guide Service Contract, the Guide Service Provider must provide to the Department a valid Certificate of Insurance that reflects the amounts of coverage above and the following endorsements:
1. Additional Named Insured: Must be listed as Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Attn: State Parks Business Management Section, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744.
2. Stipulation: “Coverage cannot be modified, canceled or reduced without 30 days prior written notice to the Department at the address above.
3. Dates: Certificate must reflect coverage date(s).
Automobile Liability Insurance
Guide Service Providers who transport clients into and within a State Park are required to provide proof of minimum limits for automobile liability coverage as stated under Transportation Code §601.072 on vehicles used for any client transportation, regardless of whether the vehicle/bus is owned or non-owned. For owned vehicles, the automobile liability policy must state “any vehicle,” “scheduled vehicles,” or “owned vehicles.” If the policy solely states “scheduled vehicles,” then only the vehicles listed on the policy are allowed to operate within the Park. For non-owned vehicles, the policy must state “any vehicle” or “non-owned vehicles.”
Enchanted Rock RFP
Guide Service Provider Fees (Annual and Per-Person Fees)
Fees for the Guide Service Contract will be two-tiered based on (a) an annual fee of $300.00 per year, and (b) a $10.00 per person/per day use fee. For documented non-profit groups receiving a discount for guided services, a $5.00 per person/per day use fee will be assessed. Supporting documentation (proof of non-profit status) must be provided for discounted participants. These charges will be stated in and made a part of the Guide Service Contract.
An annual guide service provider fee of $300.00 (Three Hundred) dollars will be charged at the signing of the contract for the first year and is due at the time of contract signature. The second year’s guide service provider fee of $300.00 (Three Hundred) dollars will be payable to the Department one calendar year (365 days) from the first year’s payment. Both payments should be paid at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Headquarters, 16710 Ranch Road 965, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624
The per-person per-day use fees will be due and payable monthly to the Department. These fees shall be delivered to the Park on or before the 20th day of the month following the month they accrue. Overnight fees additionally apply when appropriate.
Accounting System and Reports
All Guide Service Providers are required to provide annual gross revenue and visitation figures to the Park Superintendent as they relate to the guide service activities conducted within the Park. Guide Service Providers will also be required to complete a monthly guide service Sales Report that will be submitted with payment of monthly fees and provides official supporting documentation for non-profit group status that is acceptable to the Department. In addition, each day that the guided activity occurs, the guide or a representative of the Guide Service Provider will be responsible for recording their activity for that day in their log book.
The Department, its Internal Auditors, and the State Auditor’s Office or successor agencies shall have the authority at any time during the term of and up to five years after the termination of the contract to access, review, examine, audit and investigate all of Guide Service Provider’s books, accounts, reports, correspondence, files, memoranda, and other records that relate to trips within the Park. Guide Service Provider further agrees to cooperate fully with any authorized audit or examination, including providing unrestricted access to all such records.
Guide Service Providers will be required to submit Accident or Incident Reports when an accident or incident occurs during the course of providing services and must notify the Park Peace Officer on duty that day.
Guide Service Provider Customer Relations
Guide Service Provider employees should exemplify hospitality, consideration and courtesy in all public relations. Those who come in direct contact with the public, so far as practicable, should be recognizable as a Guide Service Provider employee.
The Guide Service Provider shall strive to maintain an alcohol and drug free guide service environment while conducting guide service operations. All Guide Service Providers and their representatives must adhere to the established Park rules and regulations while operating within the boundaries of the Park. Guide Service Provider shall provide educational programs to its employees to deter substance and alcohol abuse. The Guide Service Provider must immediately report to the Department any evidence of alcohol or illegal drug use by Guide Service Provider or its employees on Department’s premises.
Enchanted Rock RFP
Criminal Background Checks
State contracting guidelines stipulate that a contractor should certify that the contractor and his/her employees have not been convicted of a felony criminal offense, or that, if such a conviction has occurred, the contractor has fully advised the Department as to the facts and circumstances surrounding the conviction. Guide Service Providers must conduct criminal history background checks on all current and prospective employees, or shall request that the Department conduct such checks at no cost to the Guide Service Provider. Current or prospective employees must be given appropriate written notice and the Guide Service Provider must secure employees’ individual consent before conducting criminal history checks and disclosure of criminal history information. Evidence of criminal conviction or other relevant information obtained from criminal history record information, and/or failure by an individual to disclose arrest or conviction information to the Guide Service Provider, must be considered by the Guide Service Provider to determine whether individual is qualified for continued or prospective employment. Criminal history background checks shall be made available to the Department upon request. Criminal convictions for sexual offenses or violent behavior offenses shall disqualify prospective or current Guide Service Provider employees to operate within the Park.
Annual Orientation Program
Guide Service Providers and designated guides will be required to complete an annual orientation program conducted by the Department that will focus on preservation of the area's natural and cultural resources; safety; significance of ERSNA; public use/management plan; and other topics. At the Department’s option, alternative training programs may be used to meet this requirement. Completion of the orientation program is required before the Guide Service Provider or staff may provide guided services within the Park.
Guide Service Provider Minimum Requirements
All guide service proposers are required to submit their proposals in the following format and must submit ALL required attachments/forms:
1. Business contact information.
Must include complete name of business or individual, stockholder information (if applicable) mailing address, phone, fax, and e-mail address.
2. Narrative description of the proposed visitor services.
Describe the types of guide service activities or types of tours you propose to provide.
3. Narrative description (may include map) of the areas to be utilized.
Must include as much detail as possible
Note: There is a maximum of three (3) climbing routes for clients at one time.
4. Estimated number of tours per year, group size and duration of tour.
Must include as much detail as possible
Note: Maximum group size is fifteen (15) not including the lead guide.
Enchanted Rock RFP
5. Narrative description of your experience, ability and training to provide the visitor services proposed.
Describe yours or your organization’s experience, safety practices, knowledge and skill in providing the type of guide service activities proposed. You should also describe in this section other attributes that you will be offering, such as specialized equipment or unique abilities/training.
6. Provide proof of Certifications, training, and driver information.
Proposers must submit to the Department their complete training and certification records. Provide a list that includes vehicle(s) description, license plates and drivers’ names if proposal includes transporting clients within the State Park.
Note: At a minimum, Guide Service Provider employees who provide guide services will be required to have a valid, current certification of at least 20 hours of first aid training that must include a valid, current certification in CPR. Proof of such certification will remain on file with the Guide Service Provider and will be subject to review or inspection by the Department. Other preferred certifications could include but are not limited to Wilderness First Responder training and American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Certification.
Note: Guide Service Provider who transports clients into and within a State Park must provide to the Department a Certified Drivers Record for all drivers. Copies of Certified Drivers Records are required to be submitted on any proposed drivers. Guide Service Provider should use the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Application for Copy of Drivers Record, which is also available online; proposed driver(s) should select option 3A. (See attached DPS Form). Guide Service Providers are responsible for all fees required by DPS to process the request for Certified Drivers Records.
7. Signed Authorization and Consent for Disclosure of Criminal History Information form. (See Attachment)
All proposers must complete and sign the Authorization and Consent for Disclosure of Criminal History Information. Failure to complete and sign this form will disqualify the proposal. A representative from the Department’s Human Resource Division will verify and approve the submitted Authorization and Consent for Disclosure of Criminal History Information. The criminal history information will be used solely for the evaluation of the proposers’ suitability for contracted services to the Department.
8. State Parks Rules and Regulations (See Attachment)
Proposers must review, sign and date the attached copy of the State Parks Rules and Regulations. The signed and dated copy must be submitted with your guide service proposal.
9. Identify method(s) of communication for use by trip leader(s) within the Park.
Provide types of communication devices to be utilized within the Park, such as two-way radio, cell phone, etc.
Enchanted Rock RFP
10. Submission of a Notarized Information Release Form (See Attachment)
Completion and submission of a personal Notarized Information Release Form
11. References: Business and personal references
Submit three (3) business and three (3) personal references with contact information.
12. Additional Information-Optional.
Provide any additional information that you believe is important to your proposal, such as your ability to manage and market the type of visitor services you propose to offer.
Submission of the Guide Service Proposal
All Guide Service Provider proposals must be:
1. Completed in such detail as to facilitate a comprehensive analysis (see proposal submission format above);
2. Addressed to: Pat Berger, Business Management Section, State Parks Division, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744;
3. Received by 5:00 PM on July 18, 2013;
4. Submitted in an envelope and clearly/prominently labeled:
5. Include the following completed forms/information: Signed and dated Authorization and Consent for Disclosure of Criminal History Information Notarized Information Release Form Signed and dated Park Rules and Regulations Certified Drivers Records (if applicable).
The Department reserves the right to disregard any and all proposals submitted. The Department also reserves the right to make any counter offer that it may consider reasonable or desirable.
To ensure timely and equitable consideration, the information/documentation listed above must be included with each proposal. Failure to provide the complete outlined information above and to ensure its receipt by the Department within the deadline will be sufficient grounds to disregard any proposal.
Confidentiality of Proposals and Public Information
Proposals submitted in response to this Request for Proposal become the exclusive property of the Department and are considered public information, which may be disclosed by the Department to any person upon request. Prior to proposal submission, consider the following disclosure requirements:
PUBLIC INFORMATION: All information, documentation, and other materials submitted in response to this solicitation are generally considered non-confidential and/or non-proprietary and are
Enchanted Rock RFP
subject to public disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552.001, et seq.) after award of a Contract. However, certain information may be confidential and fall under an exception to disclosure under the Public Information Act, such as proprietary information, trade secrets, and certain commercial and financial information where disclosure might cause “substantial competitive harm to your business.” If the applicant believes that his proposal contains confidential information in those categories, he must specifically document this at the top or bottom of each page that contains the information he considers confidential. The applicant’s documentation must include a statement that confidential information is contained on that page, refer to its exact location on the page, and describe the specific nature of the exception to the Public Information Act that he believes applies to this information, i.e. copyrighted, trade secret, proprietary, financial etc. A general disclaimer that the applicant‘s response contains confidential information will not be sufficient to meet this requirement. If such documentation is not provided, the Department will assume that all information provided in response to this solicitation may be disclosed under the Public Information Act.
The Department strictly complies with all statutes, court decisions, and opinions of the Texas Attorney General with respect to disclosure of proposal information. Usually all proposals are exempt from public disclosure and not released until the completion of the proposal and contracting award process.
The Department, State, or its employees shall not in any way be liable or responsible for the disclosure of any such records, or any part thereof, if disclosure is required under the Public Information Act or otherwise by law.
Guide Service Proposal Review and Selection
All proposals received will be evaluated within 30 days after the closing date. The Request for Proposal outlines the basic criteria for all submitted proposals. In making a recommendation, proposals will be evaluated primarily on the basis of:
(1) Guide Service Proposal Concept
(2) Adaptability to Department Culture and the Park’s Public Use Plan
(3) Customer Service and Safety Standards
(4) Management Skills
(5) Operational Standards and Past Operational Experience
(6) Promotion and Outreach
Proposals submitted by the applicants play an initial role in determining the qualifications needed to provide the Guide Services at the Park.
The Director of Business Management and the State Parks Concession Manager will impanel a review committee consisting of the Park Superintendent, Regional Director, related Department personnel and other industry professional/individuals as deemed necessary. The reviewing committee will be asked to participate and evaluate applicants in the interview selection process. The recommendation to award a Guide Service Contract is based on the committee’s review of the guide service provider applicants.

After all qualified applicants have been interviewed and judged against defined selection criteria, the proposals belonging to the review committee’s recommended applicant(s), the selection justification criteria, and the interview questions will be forwarded to the Division Director, and the Executive Director or his designee, who will make the final decision

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