Xanterra South Rim LLC – Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Project Point of Contact
Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim
Xanterra Parks and Resorts® is committed to environmental stewardship in all aspects of our business. This stewardship is a visible component at every one of our 28 properties including Xanterra South Rim, LLC. However, when evaluating a “sense of culture” in regards to environmental stewardship, one specific property stands alone.
In such a remote area as Grand Canyon National Park, every environmental program undergoes thorough review. We implement practices to minimize refuse we can not recycle. We strive to conserve our precious natural resources through energy conservation and awareness. Our remoteness at the South Rim is only topped by the extreme remoteness of our Phantom Ranch operation.
A View of Phantom Ranch
It is not a choice to practice environmental stewardship; it is a requirement of living at the bottom of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The canyon is such a fragile microcosm that environmental consciousness is vital to continue adequate preservation of this amazing place.
The full-time staff of seventeen run the accommodations at Phantom Ranch, which houses up to 94 guests per night and sees roughly 28,000 overnight visitors and upwards of 75,000 day visitor each year. This staff is not only responsible for the maintenance and continued tracking of the environmental programs; they also serve as the main source of environmental education to our guests.
Waste Diversion and Reduction
Re-used Feed Sacks for Guest Duffel Service
At Phantom Ranch, we truly understand the pillars of waste reduction – reduce, reuse, and recycle. The staff reuses everything possible:
The composting efforts are probably the greatest positive environmental impact. Twenty-thousand pounds of kitchen waste is composted annually at Phantom Ranch. The compost is then used for trail fill and repair. These 20,000 pounds represents a reduction in solid waste that would otherwise need to be carried out by mule and then sent to the land fill.
Phantom Ranch is often described as a tranquil oasis due to the many lush trees planted over 100 years ago. As an act of environmental stewardship to perpetuate the oasis for the future, the Phantom Ranch staff planted 17 ash trees in 2008. All of these saplings were germinated from seeds harvested from trees already growing at the Ranch. To ensure the success of these new trees, Phantom Ranch installed a gravity fed (zero emissions) irrigation system.
Phantom Ranch is celebrating its 8th year as a participant in the “Adopt-A-River Mile” program. The employees at Phantom Ranch instituted the Grand Canyon’s first and perhaps only river clean-up adoption program. The employees adopted river mile 89 and voluntarily clear it of trash that flows from upstream. They collect hundreds of pounds of trash from the river each year. This is in addition to the litter they remove from the trails on their 11 mile commute to work.
Composting Operation at Phantom Ranch
Pack Mules Carry Supplies across the River to Phantom Ranch
Phantom Ranch remains extremely conscious of all operating supplies. All supplies arrive by mule and all trash goes out by mule. Phantom Ranch does not stock plastic cup lids or straws. This eliminates dozens of cases that would be hauled in to be used one time and hauled out. The lunch menu was recently revised to include an electrolyte replacement system powder mix instead of canned juice. This alone saved about 250 pounds per week in supplies. In additional, smaller programs have also been implemented. Staff now serves ketchup at breakfast by request only. This has saved an additional 40 pounds a week. These simple changes have saved 15,000 pound of supplies from being hauled in (and out) just this year.
Education & Outreach
Finally, Phantom Ranch is committed to environmental stewardship through environmental outreach and education. In all guest areas, there are educational signs posted to help our guests understand that they are in a fragile desert environment. These posting illustrate what each individual guest can do to help preserve and protect this amazing place.
As a step to providing our guests with more environmentally friendly options, all of the postcards sold at Phantom Ranch are printed by Mosaic. Mosaic is a zero emissions printing company that generates their own electricity from wind power and uses entirely eco friendly printing processes. If mailed from Phantom Ranch, all of these postcards are transported by mule to the rim, truly making Phantom Ranch on of the last pony express stops remaining in the country
Phantom Ranch (as part of Xanterra South Rim, LLC) is committed to doing anything possible to be stewards of this amazing place we are lucky enough to call home. The efforts described above, as well as any additional efforts made to accomplish environmental stewardship, is not our obligation but our honor.
U.S. Department of the Interior
Greening of the Interior