Protecting Precious Resources: Xanterra Initiatives Conserve Water in National Parks
DENVER, November 14, 2013 – Long recognized as an innovator in areas of sustainability
Xanterra has for years developed and implemented water-conservation initiatives that
continue to make a real, measurable difference in the effort to protect water resources.
“From desert climates like Grand Canyon and Death Valley National Parks to the
geothermal paradise that defines Yellowstone, water is a resource that we must never take
for granted, and we are continuously looking for ways to make sure that doesn’t happen,”
said Catherine Greener, vice president of sustainability for Xanterra Parks & Resorts.
Most recently, Xanterra joined a coalition of some 900 businesses known as “Protect the
Flows” to promote innovative water policy to protect the Colorado River. While the river is
best known for carving the Grand Canyon, it is also a key water source in two other
locations where Xanterra has operations: Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, which is
located near the river’s headwaters, and Utah’s Zion National Park, where the Virgin River’s
water flows to the Colorado.
“Time is running out for the Colorado River,” said Greener. “Due to a combination of
drought and increased consumption, the Colorado River has lost more than a third of its
stored water. Those of us who rely on the resource must take serious steps to preserve it.”
Greener noted that the Colorado River produces $26 billion per year in economic output
from recreation and supports one quarter of a million jobs.
The company has set an aggressive long-term goal to reduce water use by 25 percent from
2003 levels by 2015.
In addition to the tangible actions Xanterra is taking through the Protect the Flows
coalition, the company has initiated numerous location-specific programs designed to
conserve water and also to educate visitors about the importance of doing so. Among
In Yellowstone National Park where the company operates nine lodges along with
numerous restaurants, stores and activities, the company installed $2 million worth
of modern, energy-efficient laundry equipment, including a continuous batch
washing system that saves more than 3,000 gallons of water daily.
In response to one of the driest years on record in Crater Lake National Park and
other parts of the Pacific Northwest, Xanterra developed a program called
“Conserve for Crater,” with a goal to reduce consumption by 25 percent. Examples
of initiatives at Crater Lake Lodge and Mazama Village include the installation of
low-flow fixtures, no-irrigation landscaping and encouraging the reuse of sheets
and towels. Guest messaging is an important component of this well-received
The water used at Furnace Creek Resort in California’s Death Valley National Park
is mountain runoff entering the valley through natural springs and captured in a
gravity-feed system. The water is first used at the Inn at Furnace Creek water the
gardens and to supply the swimming pool, which was designed with a flow-through
system that minimizes chemical use. That water then continues downhill to the
Ranch at Furnace Creek where it fills the ponds on the golf course, providing
habitat for local and migratory wildlife. The water in the ponds then irrigates the
golf course. Additionally, during the winter the company uses a natural dye to
make brown, dormant Bermuda grass green, effectively eliminating the need for
At Grand Canyon National Park, just moving water from its source near the North
Rim to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and its six lodges and multiple other
operations is a challenge as the water must move 3,200 vertical feet, an energyintensive
exercise. To reduce this impact, Xanterra uses some 60,000 gallons per
year of reclaimed water for non-potable purposes in its kennels, employee
bathrooms and landscape irrigation.
At Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz., Xanterra has reduced water
consumption by 63.6 percent between 2008 and 2012 by harvesting 169,000
gallons of monsoon rain water and snow melt to reuse as boiler water for its steam
train, which makes special runs several times a year; and implementing an
aggressive conservation education program for guests and employees.
In addition to these examples, Xanterra has:
Equipped nearly all guest rooms with water-efficient fixtures
Installed dual-flush toilets in some public bathrooms
Installed waterless urinals in some locations
Converted from regular landscaping to xeriscaping or eliminating landscaping
Encouraging towel and linen reuse companywide, with an estimated 75 guestparticipation
“Even though we have made significant progress, we will continue to seek new ways to
conserve water in all of our operations,” said Greener.
For more information about the company’s sustainability initiatives, visit
Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts® entities include lodges, restaurants,
tours and activities in national and state parks and resorts as well as a cruise line, railway and tour operator. Xanterra Parks &
Resorts has operations in the Grand Canyon, including Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz., and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan,
Ariz.; Yellowstone; Zion; Crater Lake; Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National
Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at
Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., Windstar Cruises, VBT
Bicycling and Walking Vacations and Austin Adventures.