Xanterra Files for Preliminary Injunction to Keep Visitor Services Open at Grand Canyon

DENVER, COLORADO, November 19, 2014 –Xanterra Parks & Resorts is the country’s largest and oldest national park concessioner and has received numerous awards from the National Park Service (NPS) for its work in the national parks. Xanterra has found it necessary to file a motion for a preliminary injunction in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado asking the court to step in to essentially keep the NPS from having to shut down most visitor services on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

Unless the Court grants the preliminary injunction Xanterra seeks in this motion, Xanterra argues that the primary visitor services (restaurants, hotels, mule rides and basic services) at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park will likely shut down at midnight on December 31, 2014 resulting in irreparable harm not only to Xanterra and its more than 1,000 employees, but to the Northern Arizona economy and the public at large.

The most arbitrary act that has led to this state of affairs is NPS’ irrational decision to allocate far too much NPS-controlled employee housing in the Park to the new smaller contract and so little housing to the new larger contract, with the result that it is not possible to house many employees needed to perform under the larger contract. Xanterra has exhausted every available means to warn NPS about the many problems this misallocation has created, and has repeatedly proposed viable solutions. But each time, over a period now exceeding fifteen months, NPS has refused to fix this fundamental defect. Instead, it has suggested irrational alternatives that would, for example, require Xanterra to permanently triple bunk adults working fulltime into small, old hastily winterized cabins. 

By relentlessly refusing to change its original allocation of employee housing between the new contracts and blindly pursuing plans to reduce the investment amounts needed to take on the new larger contract, NPS has ended up issuing solicitation after solicitation for the new larger contract that no company will bid on because of the unreasonable terms.  Instead of increasing competition for the new larger contract, NPS has done the opposite and eliminated it.  Xanterra’s motion maintains that NPS’ actions on the new larger contract solicitation should be set aside under the Administrative Procedure Act because they are arbitrary and capricious and flout NPS’s statutory and regulatory obligations.

“The NPS has created a dire situation at the Grand Canyon because both of the existing contracts expire on December 31, 2014,” said Andrew N. Todd, President and CEO of Xanterra.   “We are asking to maintain status quo with both existing contracts so that the NPS can address the housing problem, which may become intractable if the new smaller contract takes effect on January 1, 2015 as planned.   If the housing problem is not solved now, visitors to the Park in January 2015 may find the many lodges, restaurants, and other essential facilities that Xanterra previously ran shuttered.”

To review the filing, please click here.

 

Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts® entities include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks, as well as resorts, a cruise line, railway and tour companies. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Crater Lake, 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 owns and operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel in Williams, Az., the Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Az., Windstar Cruises, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Country Walkers and Austin Adventures.