Xanterra Travel Collection is a hospitality company that operates various resorts, lodges and attractions in national parks, state parks and other iconic destinations in the U.S. 

In part, this collection includes concessions and lodgings at The Oasis at Death Valley, Glacier National Park Lodges, Cedar Creek Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park Lodges, Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, The Grand Hotel at The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park Lodges and Zion National Park Lodge. It also owns and operates upscale biking (VBT Bicycling Vacations), walking (Country Walkers), a railway (Grand Canyon Railway), touring (Holiday Vacations) and cruising (Windstar Cruises) companies with itineraries on six continents.

Related: Service center in national park honors history of the area

Sustainability is a significant focus for Xanterra. The company has implemented several initiatives to reduce its environmental impact and promote responsible tourism. Regardless of which park you’re headed to, it’s likely you’ll experience the results of these sustainability efforts, even if you don’t notice them at first. 

For example, in Yellowstone National Park, Xanterra operates the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, both of which are partially powered by solar panels. The company has also implemented energy-efficient practices in its facilities, including LED lighting, motion sensors and efficient heating and cooling systems.

Xanterra has recycling programs in place at its Yellowstone properties, focusing on recycling paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, aluminum and composting organic waste.

It sources local (within 500 miles) and organic products whenever possible (around 70% of all food and drink across its 56 restaurants), including bison and trout from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Similarly, at the Grand Canyon National Park, The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, owned and operated by Xanterra, has achieved LEED certification for its sustainable building practices and energy-efficient design. Xanterra has implemented water-saving measures, such as low-flow fixtures, water-efficient laundry practices and landscaping with native, drought-tolerant plants. Recycling programs are available at various locations within the park, allowing guests and employees to recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminum.

Furthermore, the company operates the Grand Canyon Railway that connects guests from Williams, Arizona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, keeping up to 70,000 individual cars from entering the park each year. Even better, the #4960 steam engine turns 100 this year and has been upgraded to run on recycled waste vegetable oil collected from the Grand Canyon’s own restaurants.

“Instead of using coal or diesel fuel, each locomotive uses about 1,200 gallons of vegetable oil per round-trip journey, significantly reducing the C02 emissions compared to using ultra-low sulfur diesel,” the company reported.

The mules that transport goods in and out of the canyon are even thoughtfully powered. Since 2013, 148 hard-working mules are fed a diet that includes apples and food scraps from the Grand Canyon National Park Lodges restaurants. These mules act as a natural recycling system, consuming food waste and gifting manure back to the land. 

In Utah’s Zion National Park Xanterra introduced a fleet of electric shuttle buses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution. Xanterra’s Zion Lodge has implemented energy-saving initiatives, such as LED lighting, occupancy sensors and high-efficiency appliances. The lodge collaborates with local farmers and suppliers to incorporate fresh and sustainable ingredients into its food offerings.

Crater Lake National Park also participates in recycling and composting programs to reduce waste. Xanterra encourages carpooling and provides shuttle services to minimize vehicle congestion and emissions within the park. Educational programs and guided hikes promote understanding and appreciation of the park’s natural and cultural resources.

Mount Rushmore is another shining example of Xanterra’s sustainability efforts. Solar-power generates nearly half the electricity used by the restaurant and gift shop, and another 54% comes from a nearby wind farm. The company offsets any remaining carbon footprint, making Mount Rushmore a carbon neutral operation.

Facilities in Death Valley National Park, the site of only two inches of annual rainfall, have been equipped with water and energy efficient systems. Xanterra has implemented LED lighting upgrades and HVAC system improvements, to reduce energy consumption. The company actively promotes water conservation measures and educates guests about the importance of water in the desert environment.

Across its many operations, Xanterra operates recycling programs and actively encourages guests to participate in responsible waste management practices. It’s committed to minimizing its ecological footprint and preserving natural resources in some of the majestic landscape across the country. 

The company installed solar panels at several properties, generating clean energy to power its facilities. This helps reduce reliance on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Xanterra prioritizes sustainable food sourcing and promotes local and organic products whenever possible. The company supports regional farmers and suppliers who practice sustainable agriculture, which helps reduce the environmental impact of food production and supports local communities.

Xanterra incorporates sustainable design and construction principles in its building projects. This includes using environmentally-friendly materials, implementing energy-efficient systems, and adhering to green building standards. 

Xanterra actively collaborates with various stakeholders, including government agencies, non-profit organizations and local communities, to develop and implement sustainability initiatives. It engages in partnerships and initiatives focused on conservation, preservation and community development.

Xanterra Travel Collection’s sustainability efforts have earned recognition and certifications from organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Green Seal and the Sustainable Travel International (STI). The company continues to innovate and improve its sustainability practices to contribute to the long-term conservation and enjoyment of the destinations it serves.

+ Xanterra Travel Collection

Images via Xanterra