Yellowstone National Park's Concessions Contract Awarded to Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Under a contract awarded to Xanterra Parks & Resorts, many of the lodging facilities, such as this cabin, at Canyon in Yellowstone will have to be replaced. David and Kay Scott photo.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been selected to operate the majority of the concession business in Yellowstone National Park during the next 20 years.

Xanterra is the current concessionaire at Yellowstone under a contract scheduled to end in November. The new contract covers nine lodging facilities, food service, retail, and tours.

The current NPS contract with Delaware North, which operates the Hamilton stores in Yellowstone, is not affected by the award to Xanterra.

The new contract requires an unusually large investment of nearly $135 million in facilities improvements, especially in the Canyon area where a considerable amount of the existing lodging is in sorry shape and will be replaced. The contract also requires Xanterra to construct housing at Lake and Old Faithful for concessionaire employees. The Mammoth area will also undergo some major changes including moving the concessionaire’s administrative operations out of the hotel.

NPS concession contracts are typically limited to 10 years, however, the Yellowstone contract required such a large investment that the term was extended to 20 years. The contract also includes a 4.5 percent franchise fee and a 6 percent annual contribution to the maintenance and reserve account. Both these fees are higher than for most other NPS contacts.