DENVER, April 10, 2015 – Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the largest operator of concessions in national parks, has joined the Find Your Park campaign conducted by the National Park Service and National Parks Foundation and co-chaired by First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush.
Xanterra also encourages everyone to support National Parks Week April 18-26 by visiting a park or supporting the foundation. Entrance fees to the parks will be waived that week.
“Working in national parks is at the core of our existence,” said Betsy O’Rourke, vice president of sales & marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts. “We encourage everyone to hike a trail, spot a wild animal, catch a sunset, learn about a historical site, visit a president’s birthplace, ride a train or engage in one of the thousands of adventures offered at our national parks.”
Xanterra traces its roots to famed restaurateur Fred Harvey, the “Civilizer of the West.” Beginning in the late 1800s the Fred Harvey Company worked with the Santa Fe Railway to raise the level of hospitality throughout the Southwest. The two entities worked together to conceptualize and build Grand Canyon’s El Tovar Hotel, Hopi House and other structures starting in 1905 – even before Grand Canyon was designated a national park. Over the course of many years the company built and has maintained more than 300 buildings inside the park such as El Tovar, Bright Angel Lodge, Phantom Ranch and others, including many designed by famed Fred Harvey architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter.
In 1968, Amfac Parks & Resorts (later renamed Xanterra Parks & Resorts) purchased Fred Harvey Company from the Santa Fe Railway.
As the oldest and largest concessioner in the parks, Xanterra has been a proud supporter and steward of many parks through the years. In addition to continuously operating Grand Canyon National Park Lodges, Xanterra has worked in many parks, monuments and memorials.
Its projects extend well beyond Grand Canyon. In Yellowstone, Xanterra is in the midst of a $150 million redevelopment, including completely rebuilding Canyon Lodge & Cabins with five new lodge buildings to be completed during NPS’s 100th anniversary. At Mount Rushmore Xanterra was part of the $14 million project that included construction of foodservice and retail buildings. In Crater Lake it developed the LEED-certified Annie Creek Restaurant & Gift Shop. And these are just a few examples.
Today Xanterra operates lodging, restaurants, gift stores and activities Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Death Valley, Crater Lake, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks as well as Mount Rushmore National Memorial. In 2007 Xanterra purchased and reunited with Grand Canyon Railway which was started by the Santa Fe Railway more than a century ago. Xanterra also recently purchased the No. 1 tour operator in national parks, Austin Adventures.