New business to take charge of hotels and restaurants in Glacier Park

Aug 15, 2013

Hotels in Glacier Park are owned by the Park Service, but operated by private business. Glacier Park Inc. has been operating these for more than 30 years. In January 2014 Xanterra is taking over.
Credit Katrin Frye

A new company is taking over management of Glacier Park’s historic hotels and restaurants. The National Park Service owns the buildings, but for the past 30-plus years Glacier Park Incorporated has been running the businesses. Glacier Park recently announced the Colorado-based Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Inc will replace Glacier Park Incorporated as the Concessioner operating these businesses with the new year. GPI has been running the Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier Hotel, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, Rising Sun Motor Inn, the Village Inn at Apgar, the Red Buses, the Two Medicine Camp Store, and the Park restaurants.

Acting Superintendent of Glacier Park Kym Hall says federal legislation in 19-98 put the National Park in charge of the buildings.

“And then when the legislation went into place where we took over ownership, then they became the proprietor of that contract. So, this is actually the first time that this contract has been bid in this way under the current legislation. So, it’s a little bit of a new process for us, but we’re just catching up with what’s been going on around the country,” Hall said.

Xanterra operates visitor services in national and state parks including Crater Lake, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone and Zion National Parks and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

The contract with Glacier Park requires the company to reserve 2.35% of its annual gross revenue for repair and maintenance of the buildings, and 2.5% aside for a Red bus Rehabilitation Reserve. The annual gross receipts are expected to be about $18.5 million.

President of Glacier Park Incorporated Cindy Ognjanov said they’re disappointed to have lost the contract, but wish Xanterra well, and will be working with them during transition, and as neighbors.

GPI still owns the Prince of Wales hotel in Glacier’s Canadian counterpart Waterton Park, as well as the Saint Mary Lodge, the Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier, and the Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish.

Reservations will continue being made through the GPI reservation system, and will get transferred over to Xanterra when the time comes.

The Xanterra contract lasts for the next 16-years.

This concessions contract does not relate to campgrounds, back country chalets or outfitting, or the bulk of the businesses in Apgar which are mostly privately owned.