Xanterra Parks and Resorts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Xanterra Parks & Resorts (formerly Amfac Resorts and Amfac Parks & Resorts) is a privately owned United States park and resort management company based in Greenwood Village, Colorado, controlled by entertainment magnate Phillip Anschutz. Denver-based billionaire Anschutz, who has an extensive history of developing and operating mineral, railroad, newsmedia and entertainment enterprises, is one of the largest private promoters of live events in the world, most notably soccer.[1]


A legacy of the 19th century Fred Harvey Company, after the death of the founder's grandson in 1965, the company became affiliated with Chicago-based JMB Realty, which acquired large Hawaii landholder Amfac in 1968 and broke it up into independent corporations including Amfac Resorts. In 1995, Amfac bought the large national parks management concession TW Recreational Services from Flagstar.[2][3] In 2002, Amfac changed its corporate name to Xanterra after the bankruptcy of Amfac Hawaii.[4] The name comes from a combination of Xanadu and terra, meaning Earth.[5] The Anschutz Company bought Xanterra from JMB in 2008.[6]

Xanterra specializes in tourism in U.S. National Parks, and has a presence in Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, and a number of other national and state parks. They are contracted by the US National Park Service to provide lodging and services in these parks. Accommodations and pricing vary widely and include quality hotel rooms, lodges, rustic cabins, motel-style lodging and camping.

The most notable of the original Harvey operations is the Grand Canyon South Rim concession, including the El Tovar Hotel. The company owns the Grand Canyon Railway. In July, 2010, the company announced it was acquiring the Kingsmill Resort near Williamsburg, Virginia. The Kingsmill Resort was developed beginning in the 1970s as part of Anheuser-Busch's projects of theme parks, residential, commercial and industrial developments coordinated between August Busch and Winthrop Rockefeller intended to complement Colonial Williamsburg and enhance both the region's tourism attractions and local economy.

Glacier National Park controversy[edit]

In March 2013, Anshutz Exploration Corp. announced that it would cease drilling on the Blackfeet Reservation.[7] Five months later, Xanterra was awarded an important concessions contract in Glacier National Park.

On August 13, 2013, the National Park Service announced that a 16-year contract would be issued to Xanterra despite the fact that the energy division had been fracking on lands adjacent to the eastern boundary of the park. Members of the Blackfeet Nation had been protesting the destruction of tribal lands for several years.[8]

Tourist Railways[edit]

Xanterra operates the Grand Canyon Railway in Arizona on the line originally built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Since their takeover of the operation, the line has retired its steam locomotives and historic ALCO FA diesels, though the steam engines, modified to run on waste vegetable oil, are still used on special occasions.[9]

In May 2010, Xanterra announced the American Railway Explorer "cruise train" which was to operate multi-day tours in four regions: Southwest (between California and New Mexico), Northwest (between California and Jackson, Wyoming with stops in several national parks), Transcontinental (between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.) and West Coast (between northern and southern California).However, plans for the train were cancelled in August 2010.[10][11]


  1. ^ Patrick, Whitehurst (2008-06-24). "New ownership for Xanterra, GC Railway". Williams News. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  2. ^ Fred Harvey - Civilizer of the West - Territorial Times - Williams, Arizona - No. 1 Vol. XXIII
  3. ^ "Flagstar to sell TW Recreational Services to Amfac". Nation's Restaurant News. Findarticles.com. July 24, 1995. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  4. ^ Resort Operator Amfac Changes Name to Xanterra Parks & Resorts - Hotel Online - April 5, 2002
  5. ^ Xanterra:Grand Canyon Railway's New ownership - Territorial Times - Williams, Arizona - No. 1 Vol. XXIII
  6. ^ Anschutz to acquire operator of parks The Denver Post.
  7. ^ http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1470
  8. ^ http://missoulian.com/news/local/glacier-park-awards-new-concession-contract-to-xanterra/article_f4247216-0466-11e3-b0ea-001a4bcf887a.html
  9. ^ http://www.thetrain.com/special-events/steam/
  10. ^ Woollard, Deidre (Aug 5, 2010). "American Railway Explorer Ceases Plans For Luxury Trains". Luxist. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  11. ^ Repanshek, Kurt (2010-08-08). "Alas, the Luxury Train Tour of Western National Parks Won't Even Leave the Station". National Parks Traveler. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 

External links[edit]