Wyoming/Montana/Idaho – Less than one year after historic monumental rains and flooding hit Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins have opened their doors to guests once again. The National Park Service announced that repairs to the Mammoth wastewater treatment plant had been successfully completed allowing the property to reopen on July 1. With this event, all the lodges, hotels and Xanterra-run campgrounds in the park are now open and ready to serve guests. In fact, there are still in-park rooms and campsites available at many locations this summer, particularly later in the season, a rather rare occurrence.
The Mammoth Hotel & Cabins are located in the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District that includes Fort Yellowstone, where 35 structures remain from the 1890s and early 1900s when the US Army administered the park. Significant conservation policies were developed here that led to the origin of the National Park Service. The hotel recently underwent major renovations of the public spaces and guest rooms. The hotel as it stands today was built in 1936, while retaining a wing of guest rooms originally built in 1911, and features its signature Map Room containing a large wooden map of the United States constructed of 15 different kinds of wood from nine countries. Guests enjoy a variety of in-park accommodations as well as the chance of spotting elk grazing outside the hotel.
Unknown to many, Yellowstone is open in the winter and the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel—named after nearby springs—offers a warm welcome to winter visitors as well. During this special season, daily guided tours depart from Mammoth Hotel to popular in-park hot spots like Lamar Valley, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon and Old Faithful. The Bear Den ski shop, located in the gift shop, offers equipment, lessons, tips, and tours for cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts.
Moab Adventure Center in the red rock playground of Moab, Utah, is prepared to guide its clients through the National Park Service’s (NPS) second consecutive season of requiring advance permits to access Arches National Park.
“If you snooze you may lose,” underscores Sierra Schmutz, General Manager of the Moab Adventure Center. “However, people who are unable to get permits in a timely fashion can still count on our popular, daily guide-led programs that offer entry to Arches on a space available basis.”
Moab Adventure Center’s tours showcase the more accessible of more than 2,000 arches, the highest concentration of arches on the planet. Driving and hiking through this Jurassic-aged wonderland provides a glimpse back in time when gentle geologic forces from deep below the surface bulged upward to crack the surface sandstone into fins that over time morphed into arches.
Two of Moab Adventure Center’s most popular tours are morning and sunset adventures led by professional guides who share information and wisdom about their experiences in this magical landscape. Each trip is 4 hours. Rates include snacks, water and Park entrance fees. Guests relax in a bus or a Sprinter Van with high ceilings and large picture windows for maximum viewing comfort. There are several stops to get up close with the terrain on short, scenic hikes. The rate is $108 for adults and $88 for ages 5 to 18.
Also available is a 30-minute airplane tour at $159 for adults and $120 ages 3-12. Rivers, canyons, and arches, plus the vast sweep of this slice of America’s west are revealed to guests from a bird’s eye perspective who are always welcome to share their questions with the pilot.
What began as a trial run policy in 2022 to upgrade the visitor experience by eliminating overcrowding will now take effect as an NPS standard operating procedure. This means that from April 1 to Oct. 1, 2023, visitors will need to secure in advance a timed entry reservation in order to enter Arches National Park between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. The window for booking reservations opened January 10, 2023. Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis on Recreation.gov.
Reservations must be secured three months in advance of the anticipated date of visiting Arches. A single booking of a timed entry ticket covers each registered visitor (an individual, couple, group or family). Guests may enjoy the park all day, entering and re-entering at will with the validated ticket. The only cost visitors incur is a $2 Recreation.gov processing fee to obtain the ticket as well as paying the standard park entry fee. (It may also be possible to obtain a limited number of tickets through Recreation.gov up to midnight the day before planning to visit the park.) See more information on Arches National Park reservations and timed-entry tickets.
Moab Adventure Center (www.moabadventurecenter.com) is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532.
For information and reservations call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.
At a time when globetrotters are increasingly choosing eco-friendly trips in an effort to reduce their footprint on earth, Xanterra Travel Collection®, which operates many of the hospitality operations and concessions in and around the national parks, is making inroads to meet this imperative.
These include 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. Xanterra 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.
That also brings a responsibility and an obligation to protect the environment while making bucket-list vacations a reality –whether that is riding a mule into the depths of the Grand Canyon to Phantom Ranch, climbing the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu, taking a small-ship cruise through the islands of French Polynesia, or cycling through the Italian countryside.
Here are some of the most innovative, groundbreaking, and just curious ways Xanterra’s travel properties help minimize their impact on the environment and support a cleaner, greener future.
When One Bad Apple Does Good: When do bad apples help our planet? When they’re fed to the famous mules in the Grand Canyon and come out as manure used by local nurseries and farmers. Since 2013, a mule named Vista along with 147 of its fellow park mules have feasted on 31 tons of shriveled apples and other food scraps such as melon rinds, broccoli stalks, and carrot peelings generated by Grand Canyon National Park Lodges restaurants. Not only does that keep the food waste out of landfills, but those hard-working mules also produce up to 2 million pounds of manure per year. Through Operation Shrively Apples, Xanterra has returned tons of food back to the earth by using their beasts of burden to lighten the load we put on our planet.
All Aboard the “French Fry Express”: Hop on the best — and most eco-friendly — way to arrive at the Grand Canyon National Park and help keep 50,000 to 70,000 cars outside of the park each year. Ride the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, Ariz., on a scenic 65-mile 2.5-hour route across the Colorado Plateau to the edge of the canyon’s South Rim. But this train does more than just replace those polluting cars, thanks to French fry oil. The big steam engine #4960 turns 100 this year and runs 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.
In addition, the train harvests rainwater and snowmelt to operate its steam locomotives, taking advantage of a renewable water resource in this water-stressed area. As a result, it has reduced potable water consumption by more than 1 million gallons to date.
Old Presidents Under Bright Lights: Who better to preside over efforts to reduce greenhouse gases than great visionaries like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln? Just a few years ago, Xanterra built a 975-panel solar carport at Mount Rushmore under the watchful eyes of these past presidents. This structure now generates nearly half the electricity used by the restaurant and gift shop, while 54% comes from a nearby wind farm. Along with buying carbon offsets for the remaining emissions, Mount Rushmore is now a carbon neutral operation.
Sun and Water: The Oasis at Death Valley, a beautiful eco-resort in the middle of the 3.4 million-acre Death Valley National Park, has plenty of sun but not much water. So the property harnesses the power of one while carefully conserving the other. It generates reliable solar energy with the hospitality industry’s largest solar photovoltaic system. And because the park is the driest place in North America (averaging less than two inches of rainfall a year), the resort recycles the precious water from its own natural springs to feed two pools, water the golf course and gardens (planted with native drought-tolerant species), and eventually return it to nature’s watershed. Plus, it reduces the need to water the world’s lowest-elevation golf course by using natural dye on the dormant Bermuda grass in winter.
Pulling Carbon Out of the Big Sky: Feast on sustainably raised beef at the Yellowstone National Park Lodges restaurants and help support native grasslands in a first-of-its-kind project in the U.S. Xanterra helps four ranches outside the park participate in a 209,000-acre project to improve soil health, provide forage for cattle, and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help reduce the effects of climate change. The project also offsets all the emissions from electricity used at the lodges while restoring a damaged ecosystem and improving biodiversity. All from regenerative ranching practices.
Starry, Starry Nights: Xanterra, along with the National Park Service, helps the stars at night shine big and bright in the Grand Canyon National Park. By reducing light pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, Xanterra preserves views of the dazzling night sky and protects nocturnal animals and ecosystems in the park. Because nearly 2,000 light fixtures have been replaced since 2013 — nearly half by Xanterra — the International Dark-Sky Association recognized Grand Canyon as the International Dark Sky Place of the Year in 2019.
Xanterra uses similar outdoor lighting best practices at The Oasis at Death Valley, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (which contains Glacier National Park), and Zion National Park, which helped them all become designated International Dark-Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Purple Pipe Majesties: Xanterra’s many national park operations boast some of the most inspiring scenery on Earth: stunning vistas, deep canyons, and desert peaks. But purple plumbing pipes? Yup, they’re used for reclaimed water, one of the key ways to reuse and conserve this precious resource in Grand Canyon National Park. Quite simply, reclaimed water is wastewater that is treated and reused for a variety of purposes, such as drip irrigation and toilet flushing in the lodges, such Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Lodge. By reusing water rather than pumping it from the nearby springs or aquifer, the Grand Canyon lodges used about 3.6 million gallons of reclaimed water in 2021 and plan to switch another 3.9 million gallons a year from potable to reclaimed within the next two years.
Eat Your Greens While Going Green: When you eat at Xanterra’s 56 restaurants, you can expect food that not only tastes good but does good. That’s because the eateries strive for 70% of food and beverages to be sourced locally (within 500 miles) and sustainably, while reducing chemical additives, saving water, reducing transportation, protecting local ecosystems, treating animals humanely, and reducing waste. Locations such as Zion National Park and Mount Rushmore have even created on-site gardens to provide hyper-local produce and compost waste to enrich the soil and avoid synthetic fertilizers. In fact, in 2021 Xanterra composted 23.5% of its total food waste in five national parks, preventing 90% of it from heading to landfills in Zion alone. Meanwhile, at Glacier National Park, composted food waste nourishes the flower beds at Lake McDonald Lodge and Many Glacier Hotel — a lovely example of beautifying the environment by preserving it.
What’s more, only 23 (out of 650) Certified Green Restaurants in North America hold the coveted, highest 4-star certification. And three of them are Xanterra-operated restaurants in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Mount Rushmore (whose Carvers Café is the second greenest restaurant in North America according to the Green Restaurant Association) — thanks to on-site gardens, compostable tableware, water reduction, solar power, recycling, and more.
Using Suds for Suds: Instead of simply recycling empty beer bottles into pulverized glass, the Yellowstone National Park Lodges partner with Bayern Brewery in nearby Missoula, Mont., which washes, sanitizes, refills, re-labels, and puts them back into the supply chain. To date, the park has kept about 140,000 bottles in circulation. That’s about 30 tons of glass kept out of the landfill or recycling stream, which saves resources and energy — all by using sudsy water to refill bottles with suds.
The Big Stretch: In a case of bigger is better, three of Windstar’s small cruise ships were audaciously lengthened and re-powered to improve their environmental performance on the high seas. Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride were each cut in two to insert a new middle section, which features more-efficient and less-polluting propulsion and generator engines along with new cabins and restaurants. This increased the capacity on each ship from 212 to 312 passengers, reducing fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by about 20% per-passenger nautical mile. The ventilation systems on the three ships were also upgraded to include HEPA filters and UV-C disinfecting lights to purify the air. Plus, onboard incinerators were removed to eliminate their air emissions. It was a stretch, but it was worth it.
Xanterra Travel Collection®, one of the oldest legacy travel companies in the US, tracing its roots back to the Fred Harvey Company founded in 1875, has long been committed to the preservation and protection of the environment by providing legendary hospitality with a softer footprint. From reducing pollution and conserving water to transitioning to renewable energy and fighting climate change, it has been honored with 42 green awards or certifications.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — It’s sad but true that too many people can spoil the appeal and magic of wild, untamed places, like our national parks. Due to too much love leading to overcrowding – especially in the last two years – many national parks are having to limit entry and trail access through new reservation policies, permits and user limits.
In Utah alone, Deseret Media reports, “all-time visitation records were broken at four of the state’s “Mighty Five” national parks in 2021.” Totals reached more than 11 million visitors, far exceeding the 7.7 million recorded in 2020, the year when visitation plummeted as a result of the pandemic. As a result, long lines formed at entrance gates, tailhead parking filled quickly, roads and trails were over-populated and some visitors were turned away altogether.
Experts are predicting more of the same, if not worse conditions for 2022 and beyond. So how does one truly enjoy the serenity and wild beauty of the backcountry without having to share it with too many fellow travelers? “This is the year to leave the masses behind and experience the benefits of joining a small group, professionally guided tour,” says Karen Johnson of Holiday River Expeditions, based in Salt Lake City.
Offering a variety of whitewater rafting and mountain biking adventures from two days to over a week long, Holiday River Expeditions trips are limited in number of participants and have real Covid-wise appeal; from the small trip sizes, to low ratios of guests to guides on a boat, not to mention the canyon breeze making contagions float farther away than any indoor excursions.
By coordinating with other companies and scheduling launches and camps for maximum privacy while limiting the numbers and size of groups, guests won’t have to share their wilderness river or trail experience with unregulated crowds flocking to similar unpermitted, front country experiences nearby.
“What we are offering with our trips is an escape into the backcountry without the crowds,” explains Johnson. “You can experience Canyonlands National Park and not have to wait in a line or worry about getting a campsite. Our backcountry trips require federal permits – which regulates the number of people able to access certain areas at any given time, so no unpleasant surprises.”
Johnson also points out, “Due to the desire to create a ‘pandemic bubble”, custom and exclusive group outings are on the rise. With this increase in interest in private trips and the ability to secure such permits becoming very difficult, signing onto a scheduled tour departure may be the only good option to still get out on a trip this year.”
A guided tour comes with other benefits as well:
Tours are a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors without the hassles and crowds with guides and staff performing all the work and heavy lifting.
Get real! Disconnect from electronics and the “virtual” world.
Quiet the noise! Disconnect from the daily barrage of negative news.
Reconnect with friends and family in a setting that you can feel safe in (from the throws of the pandemic).
Clear your mind and soul. Feel the healing power of nature.
Escape civilization! No concrete, paved trails, parking lots, traffic, crowds, lines to wait in, overpriced concessions and inconsiderate tourists.
See the Milky Way in International Dark Sky Parks.
Campgrounds are private. See some of the most beautiful places imaginable with minimal effort exerted. Better chances of seeing wildlife.
Enjoy multiple days’ worth of interaction with knowledgeable and charismatic guides who have worked in these places for years. Better than a single short interaction with a park ranger or curator.
“The park system was really ahead of its time in setting use limits for commercial operators decades before overcrowding and pandemic contagions were a concern,” Johnson points out. “Thanks in no small part to our founder Dee Holladay’s participation in the creation of ‘Backcountry Management Plans’ in the 1970’s we have a system that works perfectly for the public and for those of us who make a living providing controlled backcountry access to anyone seeking adventure and nature at its purest.”
Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. The family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands in comfort and security. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT, Nov. 12, 2021 – This month Western River Expeditions opens select booking dates for charter groups anticipating river rafting adventures in 2023 in the Grand Canyon.
Groups ranging from extended family to corporate to non-profit can benefit from the advantages of this advance booking window for up to 28 people on prime departure dates.
Advance bookings for charter groups are available for select, 3, 4 6, or 7-day Grand Canyon rafting expeditions throughout the 2023 season.
“As the popularity of doing an exclusive private trip with just the members of your group has grown over the years, we have found it works best to open up select dates in advance for just these groups. That way they can still find dates with wide-open availability. Doing it this way, we can give our charter guests time to advertise, market, promote and book,” said Brandon Lake, co-owner and CMO. “We still leave several dates wide open for the general public so they have plenty of space to for individual bookings when the season opens for individual bookings on Nov. 30. Once this opens, many departures will sell out online within the first several hours.”
Although Mother Nature provides more than enough photo ops on the descent through the Grand Canyon, for these upcoming bookings, Western River Expeditions plans to offer groups the option of custom group t-shirts, adding even more pizzazz to group photos.
If an epic river rafting adventure is in your future, Western River Expeditions says don’t delay making reservations for trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and in Utah’s Cataract Canyon and Desolation Canyon.
Here are a few good reasons why to act now.
Tight controls on inventory through commercial permits make these areas available only to a limited few every year. While Western River Expeditions escorts more people down the Colorado River and Green River on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah and Arizona than any other rafting operator in the country, Western River, as well as other commercial tour operators, has to abide by the limits set by government-issued permits. These coveted seats are being snapped up quicker than ever before by an unprecedented surge of demand following months of COVID lockdown, record-breaking heat waves that beg for water-based recreation, and an exploding demand to visit America’s national parks.
As a result, Western River Expeditions filled all Grand Canyon slots for 2021 well in advance. Many departures for 2022 are sold out and others are very close to selling out. 2023 Grand Canyon dates will open for general bookings on Nov. 30 this year. Requests for 2023 group charters are being taken now.
For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2022/2023 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call 866-904-1160 (Local: 801-942-6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past seventeen consecutive years (2004-2020).
Greenwood Village, CO – Carpe Diem X 7. Xanterra Travel Collection, an award-winning globally diversified travel company offering unforgettable experiences in some of the most Beautiful Places on Earth®, announced its highly anticipated annual “Book Your Bucket List Sale” from Tuesday, Nov. 23 – Tuesday, Nov. 30. This year’s sale will last a full week beginning the Tuesday before Black Friday and running through Cyber Monday and Travel Tuesday. Xanterra owns or operates the lodges in Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, Death Valley and Grand Canyon South Rim; Windstar Cruises, The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, The Oasis at Death Valley, Holiday Vacations, Country Walkers and VBT Bicycling Tours. The affiliated legendary Five-Star, Five-Diamond Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and the longest-running Five-Star award-winning Sea Island Resort in Georgia are also participating in the sale.
And now, for the first time, Xanterra is offering an unparalleled gift of discovery and wanderlust with Xanterra Travel Collection Gift Cards. Redeemable across all Xanterra Travel Collection properties and brands for accommodations, tours, experiences, and retail purchases, recipients can choose their adventure with this gift of A World of Unforgettable Experiences. All new and available starting Nov. 16 at Xanterra.com/GiftCard.
Preview and plan now. Then book during the Book Your Bucket List one-week sale (Tuesday, Nov. 23 through Tuesday, Nov. 30) at Xanterra.com/BucketListSale. Highlights include:
The Oasis at Death Valley – 30% off hotel stays at the beautifully renovated historic AAA Four-Diamond Inn at Death Valley and newly revitalized, family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley. Valid for select overnight stays between Dec. 2021 and Feb. 2022.
Historic Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel – 50% off roundtrip train tickets on an entertaining journey to the Grand Canyon’s fabled South Rim when booking a two-night Getaway Package over select dates between Dec. 1, 2021 and March 10, 2022.
Grand Canyon South Rim – 20% off in-park lodging at Kachina Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge, Maswik Lodge, and the crown jewel, El Tovar, during select dates Dec. 1, 2021 to March 3, 2022. Discover the “secret season” at the Grand Canyon with fewer crowds. The lodges are either in or within walking distance to the Historic District and rim of the Grand Canyon which includes Lookout Studio and Hopi House.
The Grand Hotel – 30% off at the only AAA Three-Diamond hotel near the Grand Canyon in Tusayan (just one mile from the South Rim entrance) on select dates between Dec. 2021 and March 2022.
Zion Lodge – 30% off overnight stays inside the park at Zion National Park Lodge on select dates between Dec. 2021 and Feb. 2022.
Cedar Creek Lodge, at the gateway to Glacier National Park – 30% off room rates on select dates from Dec. 2021 through April 2022.
Lake Yellowstone Hotel – Save 25% off hotel stays at the charming and historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel, located inside the park on select dates during May 2022.
The Broadmoor – Rates as low as $249 per night for select dates, up to 25% off published suite rates, and 10% off the all-inclusive Wilderness Properties (The Ranch at Emerald Valley and Cloud Camp).
Sea Island – In honor of its Quarter Century Club (team members with at least 25 years of service to the resort), book a stay in December, January, or February and receive the third night for only $25. Plus, receive a $250 resort credit per stay at The Cloister and The Lodge. In addition, Sea Island will donate $25 per stay to the Sea Island Legacy Fund, which assists team members experiencing economic hardship.
Bicycling Tours – Receive $200 off any spring VBT Bicycling Tours Guided Italy tour departing between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022.
Walking Adventures – Receive $200 off any spring Country Walkers Guided Italy tour departing between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022.
Holiday Vacations – Save $250 per person on the Holland in Bloom featuring the Floriade tour departing on April 15, 2022.
Windstar Cruises – Save on 2022 yacht-style cruises with fewer than 350 guests. Enjoy a $100 onboard credit per guest to use on shore excursions, spa treatments, alcoholic beverages and more. Low fares start from $1,399 per guest. Yacht Club Members receive a double Alumni discount on all voyages departing on or before March 31, 2022.
Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Travel Collection provides a world of unforgettable experiences through its operations in national parks, including lodges, restaurants, tours, and activities, as well as through its ownership of resorts, a cruise line, a railway, and tour companies. Xanterra has operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain National Parks, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Xanterra Travel Collection also owns and operates the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, Ariz., The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., The Oasis at Death Valley in Death Valley Calif., Windstar Cruises, Holiday Vacations, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, and Country Walkers. Xanterra is also affiliated with two Forbes Five-Star Resorts, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO and Sea Island on the coast of Georgia.
As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to better protect, conserve, and restore the lands and waters that sustain the health of communities and power our economy, President Biden is signing three proclamations restoring protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments. By restoring these national monuments, which were significantly cut back during the previous administration, President Biden is fulfilling a key promise and upholding the longstanding principle that America’s national parks, monuments, and other protected areas are to be protected for all time and for all people.
The President’s protection of these three national monuments is among a series of steps the Administration has taken to restore protections to some of America’s most cherished lands and waters, many of which are sacred to Tribal Nations. The Administration has halted leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, committed to restore protections for the Tongass National Forest under the Roadless Rule, and initiated the process to protect Bristol Bay and the world-class salmon fishery it supports. The Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, the Columbia River Basin, and dozens of other special places are also back on America’s conservation agenda.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s land, water, ocean, and wildlife conservation efforts are critical to solving the climate crisis, protecting public health, promoting wildlife and biodiversity, and rebuilding America’s economy. As part of his Build Back Better Agenda, the President has proposed the creation of a new Civilian Climate Corps, which would partner with unions in putting to work a new generation that looks like America – with good benefits and pay – on the path to family-supporting careers in fields restoring the health of our public lands, coasts, waters, and forests, advancing environmental justice, and helping communities better prepare for the impacts of a changing climate. The President has also set the first-ever national conservation goal, which the Administration is pursuing by supporting locally-led and voluntary conservation efforts across the country and creating more equitable access to the outdoors, including by investing in urban parks.
President Biden’s action to restore Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments is consistent with recommendations from Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who – with the support of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Justice, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality – reviewed the actions of the previous administration that drastically reduced protections for these places. As part of this review, Biden-Harris Administration leaders met with Members of Congress, state and local government officials, representatives of Tribal Nations, and a wide range of stakeholders. Secretary Haaland also visited Utah to directly meet with local residents and tour the area. After gathering information and input, the Department of the Interior provided the President a report with recommendations on future protection for the areas.
“These protections provide a bridge to our past, but they also build a bridge to a safer, more sustainable future — one where we strengthen our economy and pass on a healthy planet to our children and our grandchildren,” President Biden said at the signing ceremony.
The specific actions that President Biden is taking are:
Restoring the Bears Ears National Monument to the boundaries established by President Obama on December 28, 2016 and retaining protections for an additional 11,200 acres added by President Trump in 2017. Restoring these protections will conserve a multitude of sites that are culturally and spiritually important to Tribal Nations— including petroglyphs, pictographs, cultural sites, dwellings, and areas used for traditional rituals, gatherings, and tribal practices — as well as paleontological objects, landscape features, historic objects, and plant and animal species. Restoring the Monument’s boundaries and conditions restores its integrity, upholds efforts to honor the federal trust responsibility to Tribal Nations, and conserves these lands and waters for future generations. With this action, the total protected area of Bears Ears National Monument is 1.36 million acres.
In restoring the Bears Ears National Monument, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring that there is adequate staffing and resources to appropriately protect the area’s natural and cultural resources, to manage the increased visitation that the area continues to experience, and to make Bears Ears a model for Tribal participation in the management of the Monument. The Bureau of Land Management plans to assign additional rangers to the region; install appropriate signage and infrastructure to inform and support visitors; begin working with local communities, the State of Utah, and Tribal leaders on assessing the potential opportunity for a Bears Ears visitors center that highlights the monument’s cultural resources; and support the Bears Ears Intertribal Commission’s participation in management of the National Monument.
Restoring Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to the boundaries that were in place on January 20, 2017. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was first protected in 1996, and as described in Proclamation 6920, the landscape holds world-class geological objects of historic or scientific interest, including the Grand Staircase, White and Vermilion Cliffs, Kaiparowits Plateau, Escalante Natural Bridge, Grosvenor Arch, and numerous other enumerated geologic objects. The Monument also contains vast paleontological objects including significant fossils of marine and brackish water mollusks, turtles, crocodilians, lizards, dinosaurs, fishes, and mammals, as well as a host of cultural objects associated with both ancient indigenous cultures and early Latter-Day Saint pioneers, including, but not limited to, petroglyphs and pictographs, occupation sites, campsites, granaries, and trails. The Monument also contains hanging gardens, tinajas, and rock crevice, canyon bottom, and dunal pocket communities, protecting the region’s unusual and diverse soils, endemic plants and pollinators, relic vegetation, and diverse wildlife. Restoring the Monument’s conditions and boundaries will restore its integrity, support the continued scientific exploration as outlined in Proclamation 6920, protect our shared lands and waters for future generations, and continue this administration’s historic efforts to honor the Federal trust responsibility. The total protected area of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is restored to 1.87 million acres.
Restoring protections to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, as established by President Obama on September 15, 2016. The Monument is composed of two units, the Canyons Unit and the Seamounts Unit, each of which showcases unique geological features that anchor vulnerable ecological communities threatened by varied uses, climate change, and related impacts. Under the restored protections, commercial fishing in the National Monument will be prohibited, with fishing for red crab and American lobster to be phased out by September 15, 2023. Consistent with President Obama’s Proclamation 9496, recreational fishing in the National Monument may continue.
The Monument includes Oceanographer, Gilbert, and Lydonia canyons; and Bear, Mytilus, Physalia, and Retriever seamounts. Restoring the Monument’s conditions will restore its integrity, expand the opportunity for unique scientific study and exploration, and protect and preserve natural and cultural resources for all Americans. With this action, the management conditions directed in Proclamation 9496 for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, which is composed of 4,913 square horizontal miles, vertically encompassing the water column above, will resume.
Moab Adventure Center, a division of Western River Expeditions, has a short list of how to enjoy autumn in the world’s red rock playground of Moab, Utah. This region becomes an artist’s dream world when fringed by the Colorado River’s yellow cottonwoods along the Colorado River and the golden aspens of the LaSal Mountains.
After the summer rush, daytime temperatures in September and October cool down to around the mid-70s to mid-80s. Fewer people around means more elbow room to be had on every adventure in not just one but two National Parks – Arches and Canyonlands.
Here are seven suggested adventures that continue through the end of November, with the exception of rafting which concludes the end of October.
Hummer Tours are conducted in style and comfort aboard the world’s most serious 4×4. Spectacular backcountry opens up in the hands of professional guides who help visitors explore seldom-seen, awe-inspiring Moab overlooks. Tours are two, three and four hours including a sunset safari. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-hummer-tours
Zipline Tours are always a thrill, but how about skimming over sheer sandstone cliffs and canyons on Moab’s only zip line? The Raven’s Rim Moab zip line tour begins with a spine-tingling ride to the top of the cliff faces overlooking Moab, swooping like a bird of prey landing on each of six gaps. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-zip-line
Mountain Bike Tours requests a commitment of 4.5 hours to experience why Moab has become the undisputed mecca for mountain bike enthusiasts from all over the world. Whether beginner or advanced the Moab Adventure Center offers professionally guided mountain biking tours on all of Moab’s classic rides. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-mountain-biking
America’s red rock playground, Moab, Utah, home of two national parks that are coveted icons to explore in post-pandemic lockdowns, has experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity this summer.
This influx means that visitors should “nail down your accommodations and your preferred guided excursions as soon as possible and certainly before you arrive in Moab,” said Cort Wright, manager of the Moab Adventure Center. This is the go-to outfitter for securing pre-set backcountry and national park access and tours. Moab Adventure Center specializes in all there is to do in Moab and bundles assorted activities and lodging to maximize enjoyment of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and the surrounding Colorado River country.
“Arrangements made in advance help deliver the peace and privacy you expect when surrounded by this natural playground,” Wright said. In fact, for early bird planners, Moab Adventure Center is offering excursions in 2022 at 2021 rates when booked this season. (www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-lodging)
“Making reservations well in advance of arrival helps assure that we can gear up to accommodate your specific adventure requests,” Wright said. “Now is the perfect time to plan for a fall escape to Moab. Everyone loves autumn in Moab. Just about every trip operates right through the end of October and all land-based tours through mid-November.”
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations please call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs. Visit https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/.
National Park concessionaire Delaware North launches online guide to make extraordinary outdoor adventures in America’s most iconic natural destinations more accessible for all
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Americans are dusting off their bucket lists ahead of summer travel season, and iconic natural destinations such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks are high on their lists. ExploreBetter.com is an online lifestyle platform that can simplify travel planning and make extraordinary outdoor adventures more accessible to first-time and even experienced National Park and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Already, the national parks are among the most popular destinations being snapped up by travelers bursting to get out after a year of confinement. And just in time, the CDC has lifted masking and social distance requirements for those who are fully vaccinated; it is expected that the mask requirement will also been lifted for federal buildings and federal lands. At this writing, masks were still required on airplanes, trains, buses and at airports and ports.
ExploreBetter.com shares trip-planning destination insights, accommodations, activities and inspiration featuring Grand Canyon, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks as well as New York’s Niagara Falls State Park. In addition to crowd-pleasing activities such as guided tours and other sightseeing suggestions, ExploreBetter.com is also the place for inside tips on active adventures like rock climbing, fishing and stargazing as well as romantic, wellness-oriented and even pet-friendly activities.
With content curated by site publisher and long-time National Park concessionaire Delaware North, ExploreBetter.com draws on insider knowledge of the parks and surrounding regions. The site plans to include contributions from members of the Bay Area Travel Writers, one of the country’s oldest regional professional travel journalist organizations, in the near future.
“First-time visits to National Parks can be overwhelming, and even seasoned visitors need fresh ideas. We’re simplifying travel planning so first-time visitors can plan with confidence and experienced visitors can always find new and exciting reasons to return,” explained Andy Grinsfelder, vice president of sales and marketing for Delaware North’s parks and resorts division. “As partners in the stewardship of many of these iconic destinations, we want visitors to experience unforgettable moments and forge deeper connections, not just with one another, but with their surroundings.”
With 2020 National Park visitation down by roughly 90 million visitors due to pandemic travel restrictions, ExploreBetter.com is intended to help encourage and restore responsible and sustainable visitation to National Parks and other iconic destinations. An upswing in National Park visitation was seen in data collected by U.S. Travel beginning in the spring of 2021, which fits with research that shows Americans continue to desire leisure trips to outdoor locations that are safe, socially distant and allow them to relax, disconnect, spend time with family and have new experiences.
At the lodging properties it operates, Delaware North last year implemented its Rest Assured Commitment to Care comprehensive health and safety program, including re-engineered operating procedures to minimize contact risk and bolstered hygiene protocols aligned with guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Delaware North Parks and Resorts operates lodging, food, beverage and retail services, recreational activities, and educational programming at destinations in North America, Australia and New Zealand. This includes lodging in and near many iconic national and state parks, including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Shenandoah, Sequoia & Kings Canyon and Olympic National Parks and Niagara Falls State Park, as well as at cultural attractions such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. To learn more about Delaware North’s hospitality management expertise, visit https://www.delawarenorth.com/divisions/parks.
Americans are discovering their national parks. Death Valley, Glacier, Grand Canyon South Rim, Yellowstone and Zion are booking up fast for summer, fall vacations and winter (all the above except Glacier are open in the winter). Here’s a cheat sheet on these parks for summer 2021:
Named for the Hebrew word “refuge,” Zion National Park in Utah is one of the most beautiful places on earth with its apricot-colored canyon and is open year-round. Zion is famed for seemingly endless breathtaking views. Only 166 miles from Las Vegas, the juxtaposition of city versus nature could not be more apparent.
The best place to enjoy a stay in the park is Zion Lodge. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Zion Lodge offers 76 hotel rooms, six suites, and 40 historic cabins, originally designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the 1920s.
Find everything you need to know about making a reservation at Zion Lodge by visiting zionlodge.com.
Glacier will Open from May 14 to September 22, 2021
Known for its seemingly endless acres of rugged and breathtaking landscapes, Glacier National Park was established in 1910 and stands today as a monument to wild natural places. In 1932 Glacier National Park was designated as part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Today, it remains a symbol of shared stewardship and a testament to the important and deep-rooted relationship between Canada and the U.S. Just as the landscape and wildlife are part of the heritage of Glacier National Park, so are the historic lodges and classic Red Buses and their drivers known as “jammers.” Glacier is exceptionally popular and has a very short season due to its location and the weather. This year the season will open on May 14, 2021 and close on September 22, 2021.
Many Glacier Hotel is the largest hotel in the park, located in the “Switzerland of North America,′′ in the northeastern area of Glacier National Park. Outside, awe-inspiring majesty. Inside, a magnificent towering lobby. This classic Swiss chalet-style lodge is located 10 miles inside Glacier National Park’s west entrance on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, nestled on the shores of the largest lake inside the park.
Built in 1913, Lake McDonald Lodge has a picturesque location on the eastern shore of beautiful Lake McDonald with 82 guest rooms split between the three-story main lodge, a row of cabins, Snyder Hall and the exquisite Cobb House. Main lodge rooms are located on the second and third floors. Large/small cabin rooms are located along a tree-lined pathway adjacent to the lodge. This location presents visitors with Russell’s Fireside Dining Room, Jammer Joe’s Grill and Pizzeria, Lucke’s Lounge, Creekside Reading Room, Red Bus tours, boat cruises, horseback rides, evening ranger programs and numerous other activities.
Cedar Creek Lodge and Conference Center is a mountain lodge with modern style just outside of Glacier National Park. This property is a four-season destination inspired by the people, culture and landscapes of Montana. Cedar Creek blends the comfort of a mountain lodge with modern style at the gateway to Glacier National Park in Columbia Falls. A rich sense of exhilaration infuses every experience, from fly fishing on Whitefish Lake and backcountry adventures in Glacier National Park to championship golf and more.
Visit glaciernationalparklodges.com for the most up-to-date information on what’s open and what’s available in the ever-changing post-vaccine world of COVID-19.
Death Valley in summer? Absolutely. The largest national park in the lower 48 states, Death Valley remains a popular destination to explore during the summer – even when extreme heat reigns supreme in the park’s 3.4 million acres. In a land of contrasts, The Oasis at Death Valley offers travelers unique experiences that many other resorts cannot, including a tranquil and cool respite in the desert. A true American oasis with date palm trees, lush gardens, pools, and even a golf course, The Oasis at Death Valley is a unique and exotic resort in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It’s legendary not only for its location, but for the movies and movie stars on location (Clark Gable, Ronald Regan, George Lucas…).
In a world where location is everything, especially in a post-quarantine world, The Oasis at Death Valley is certainly in a “universe far, far away.” It’s 61 miles from the nearest town and sits within Death Valley National Park, the largest national park in the lower 48 states. At 3.4 million acres, that translates into about 710 acres of land per staff and guests. Social distancing, and for that matter civilization distancing, is one of the resort’s primary features. Yet it is still very accessible – just a two-hour drive (120 miles) northwest of Las Vegas, NV and a four-and-a-half-hour drive (275 miles) northeast of Los Angeles, CA … in the middle of nowhere you’d rather be.
Just off of a $100-million renaissance, The Oasis at Death Valley encompasses two hotels — The AAA Four-Diamond historic Inn at Death Valley with 66 completely renovated rooms and 22 private casitas (outfitted with a personal golf cart) and the family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley where guest rooms that open directly to the outdoors and the spacious lawns, massive spring fed pool, and abundant open green space create an ideal environment to create your own adventure. The Ranch also features the lowest elevation golf course in the world (-214 feet below sea level) with some of the most spectacular views during the day, and a great location for stargazing in this “gold tier” dark sky park.
As the days get longer, peak season sets in at the Grand Canyon as many take advantage of family time afforded by their children’s summer vacation. 2021 is no different, and it’s clear that Americans have taken refuge in parks during the pandemic. The weather is warmer, but don’t let summer’s high temperatures deter you. The South Rim is a high desert with an altitude of 7,000 feet, so while summer days can find average temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit, at night those temperatures can drop down to the 40s.
Longer hours of daylight ensure more time to enjoy Grand Canyon. Compared to less than 10 hours of daylight on the December 21 winter solstice, in the summertime, you’ll enjoy a surplus of daylight — nearly 15 hours of sunshine at its peak on the June 21 summer solstice. Those five extra hours can be filled with an array of activities which, in the summertime, should include watching Grand Canyon illuminated by the dawn’s early light.
Summer temperatures can wilt even the most experienced hikers, but you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to get a glimpse below the rim. In the summertime, that means taking a short walk from the trailhead at Bright Angel Trail in the must-see Historic Village) Since temperatures actually get higher as you walk lower into the canyon, be sure to bring plenty of water and salty and/or protein-rich snacks, wear appropriate clothing, pack sunscreen, and carry a walking stick or walking poles as you set off on a short hike either a few hundred feet or perhaps half a mile into the canyon.
The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is 65 miles away in Williams, AZ where the Grand Canyon Railway starts its daily roundtrips to the South Rim. Grand Canyon Railway operates every day except Christmas and runs from Williams, AZ on historic Route 66 to the Historic Village inside Grand Canyon National Park, just steps from El Tovar, Hopi House, Bright Angel, and all the attractions found at South Rim. Trains leave in the morning and return late afternoon, affording guests more than 3 hours at the Grand Canyon South Rim. The train is comprised of six classes of service from historic Pullman and coach cars to luxury dome cars with beverages and tastings and even features an open rear platform observation car. It is possible to charter your own private luxury railroad cars on this train as well.
Several packages make a trip to Grand Canyon easier than ever:
The Longer You Stay, the More You Save: All guests staying at any of the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ, or at The South Rim at Grand Canyon through August 31 can earn the rewards of a long weekend stay. For a one-night stay, guests will receive 10 percent off the rack rate. A two-night stay equals a 20% savings and three or more nights will result in a 30% discount. All rates are per room for one or two people and guests input the promo code when making their reservation! Book here: thetrain.com/offers-packages/discounts
Summer Getaway Package: Save up to 30% off the train fare in conjunction with these 1- or 2-night packages. The Summer Getaway Packages include either 1- or 2-nights of accommodations in the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel plus 1 dinner and 1 breakfast at the Fred Harvey Restaurant per guest each night of your stay. The Summer Getaway Package is available June 1 through August 31, 2021*. Book here: thetrain.com/offers-packages/popular
Charter Your Own Train, or Private Railway Car: It is also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, etc. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit thetrain.com/charters.
Yellowstone National Park Lodges Delays the Opening of Most Operations to April and May 2021
Based on the guidance and recommendations of public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Park Service, we are modifying the opening schedule of our operations and beginning with a first phase of limited services for Summer 2021.
As health and safety guidelines allow, we hope to open additional lodging and services as part of the second phase of our Summer 2021 operations. At this point, we are not able to predict when this might happen but will provide updates as they are available. Hotel, lodges and cabins will start to come on line and open beginning on April 30 with the Mammoth Hotel. Campgrounds will begin to open on May 14. Dining will be take-out only starting on April 15 at the Geyser Grill.
Xanterra Travel Collection (www.xanterra.com) is the management company that oversees lodgings – including the campsites, cabins and lodges – in many of the most popular national parks, including the most iconic hotels, like El Tovar in the Grand Canyon, the Inn at Death Valley, Zion Lodge and the historic hotels and lodges in Yellowstone. For information about what’s open, what services will be available, reservations as well as any travel guidelines in this post-quarantine world, go to https://www.xanterra.com/contact/national-parks/.