Concessioner Earns Environmental Awards from U.S. Park Service

Concessioner Earns Environmental Awards from U.S. Park Service

Xanterra Parks & Resorts has received two National Park Service (NPS) 2004 Environmental Achievement Awards for its environmental performance at Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks. The NPS Environmental Achievement Award recognizes environmental successes throughout the national park system and highlights those organizations and individuals that have demonstrated superior environmental performance and stewardship during the previous fiscal year.

"Being recognized by the National Park Service reaffirms that we're headed in the right direction in our continuous pursuit of natural resource protection in the national parks. We know that as a responsible company we must work relentlessly to reduce our environmental impact to meet our goal of raising the bar for environmental performance in the tourism industry," said Chris Lane, senior director of environmental affairs for Xanterra Parks & Resorts. "These awards are a testament to our employees' commitment to sustainable operations in two of the most beautiful places on earth."

The Grand Canyon Recycling Partnership between Grand Canyon National Park and Xanterra's operations at the South Rim was the NPS Environmental Achievement Award winner for 2004 in the Team Category. NPS made special mention of the waste reduction operations at the Grand Canyon and the increase in recycling. In total, more than 1,454 tons of materials were recycled in 2003. This corresponds to a waste diversion rate of 40.2%. The NPS also cited these actions:
  • Awarding a new recycling contract that resulted in an expanded list of recyclable items for the entire park

  • Developing an advertising campaign targeting local residents, employees and visitors to promote the new recycling program

  • Developing programs to recycle or reuse bus tires, car batteries, oil, solvents, fluorescent lamps, laundry drums, and toner and inkjet cartridges

  • Composting mule manure for use in future vegetation projects

  • Creating a recycling program at the Grand Canyon Recreational Center resulting in the collection of phone books, plastic grocery bags and household batteries

  • Reducing waste through purchasing 209,457 pounds of recycled content products and 62,200 pounds of products with post-consumer content such as toilet paper, garbage bags, office paper and toner cartridges.
Xanterra's Grand Canyon operations have also been recognized for its environmental efforts. The Grand Canyon's South Rim operation was cited as runner-up for the 2004 Ecotourism Award from Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Both the South Rim and the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim of the park were selected as a member of the EPA "National Environmental Performance Track" program. In 2003, the company's Grand Canyon South Rim operations received the State of Arizona's Governor's Tourism Award for Preservation. Xanterra's Grand Canyon operations have also received the EPA's Region Nine Superior Environmental Performance Award for Business (2002), and the Department of the Interior's Environmental Achievement Award (2001).

In Zion National Park, Xanterra received honorable mention in the NPS Environmental Achievement Award Partner Category. NPS recognized Zion Lodge's commitment to pollution prevention and waste reduction through numerous internal initiatives that exceeded the requirements of its concession contract, including:
  • Utilizing a Baseline Resource Tracking System (BRTS) to track natural resource conservation as well as consumption (e.g., electricity, solid waste recycled, water), resulting in the lodge being selected a member of the EPA's Performance Track Program

  • Reducing water consumption by 17% (40% since 2000) by replacing non-native seeded grass with native rock and shrubs and installing low-flow fixtures and appliances and implementing a guest linen reuse program

  • Reducing solid waste by 48% (nearly 60% from 2000 levels) through extensive recycling of aluminum, tin, plastic, glass, mixed, cardboard, batteries and universal wastes and through environmental purchasing practices

  • Serving "sustainable cuisine," environmentally friendly food and beverages

  • Retrofitting 90% of incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving compact fluorescents and procuring 10% of electricity from wind power.
In 2003, Xanterra's operations at Mount Rushmore National Memorial received an honorable mention Environmental Achievement Award. National Park Service director Fran Mainella personally presented an award plaque to Mount Rushmore staff during the annual Independence Day festivities this year.