WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) — Glacier Park Inc. may have lost the contract it held for 32 years with Glacier National Park Services, but the company has no plans to pick up stakes with several properties around the park.
The National Park Service announced Tuesday that it had awarded a 16-year contract to Xanterra Parks & Resorts starting in 2014 to provide lodging, retail, transportation and food and drink services inside the park.
Xanterra already provides similar services at Yellowstone, Zion and Grand Canyon national parks.
Glacier Park Inc. had submitted its own bid, and vice president, and general manager Ron Cadrette said it was a surprise that GPI was not selected.
Glacier Park Inc. has requested the National Park Service conduct a "post-bid review" of the process, Cadrette said. Regardless, the company plans on keeping the properties it owns outside of the park and will be looking to expand.
"More than 60 percent of our business exists outside of the park. We are positioned to look for opportunities in those areas," Cadrette said.
GPI owns Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier, St. Mary Lodge and Resort and Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton, Alberta. The Canadian government recently awarded the company a 42-year contract to manage visitor services at Waterton Lakes National Park.
The company also will maintain ownership and management duties of the 30-room Stewart Hotel near Lake McDonald Lodge and the red bus maintenance shop in East Glacier Park.
That means Xanterra may have to find a new location to store and maintain the well-known fleet of 33 red buses used to guide visitors on Going-to-the-Sun Road.
"We have no intention of selling or leasing outer park properties," Cadrette said, adding that GPI will need them to support its own operations. "(But) I foresee us having the same relationship with Xanterra that we've had with all of our partners, we'll be professional and good neighbors."
GPI has held the park's concession contract since 1981. The bidding process to award a new contract began in December 2012.
The contract calls for management of Lake McDonald Lodge, Apgar Village Inn, Rising Sun Motor Inn, Swiftcurrent Inn and Many Glacier Hotel, as well as the Two Medicine Camp Store, public showers and laundry facilities and the red bus tours.