From Staff Reports
As summer winds down and crowds begin to thin a little in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, concessioners are working to give back to local communities with projects that benefit people, wildlife and habitat.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts, operator of lodges, restaurants and other concessions in Yellowstone Park, recently donated hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need at four Montana school districts near the park.
Xanterra personnel gathered in Yellowstone in August to assemble the backpacks, delivering a total of 570 of them in time for the start of the academic year to schools in Gardiner, West Yellowstone, Pray and Livingston, according to a statement released by the company.
“Supporting our neighbors—particularly those neighbors who are young and just starting out in life—has both immediate and long-term benefits,” said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Xanterra’s Yellowstone operations. “Helping children become better students is good for us all.”
In Yellowstone, the company also supports the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for Wyoming and has donated lodging and services in the park to organizations like Make-A-Wish and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Last year, Xanterra employees in Yellowstone raised more than $1,000 and two tons of food for a local food bank.
In Grand Teton National Park and the Laurence S. Rockefeller, Jr., Parkway, employees from local subsidiaries of Vail Resorts will be working Sept. 9 on projects that include native seed collections and eradication of weeds and invasive species.
The projects will include workers from Grand Teton Lodge Company and Flagg Ranch Company participating in Vail Resorts’ annual Echo Day, now in its third year, according to a statement released by the Grand Teton National Park Foundation.
“Vail Resorts, along with its local properties, continues to be exceptional partners in our mission to improve resources and educate young people in Grand Teton National Park,” said Leslie Mattson, president of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation.
Mattson said the companies “support youth and trail work in the park, and their funding and volunteer efforts make our community stronger.”
“We are excited to be partnering with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation during our annual volunteer Echo Day,” said John Rutter, vice president and chief operating officer for Grand Teton Lodge Company and Flagg Ranch Company. “We are lucky enough to live and work in this spectacular environment and enjoy finding time to be able to give through volunteer projects like this.”
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