GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - With a special run of a steam locomotive powered by used vegetable oil and discounts in Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon Railway (GCR) and Xanterra South Rim will celebrate Earth Day festivities April 22.
GCR will operate steam locomotive 4960 using recycled vegetable oil for fuel along with 11,000 gallons of reclaimed rain and snow melt collected during the winter and Northern Arizona's rainy season. The train will make the daily 65-mile journey from Williams, to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and back.
A Greener Day Recycling - a Camp Verde, Ariz.-based company specializing in collecting and refining waste vegetable oil will donate 2,000 gallons of oil - collected from GCR, Xanterra South Rim and Xanterra's operations at Petrified Forest National Park - to the steam train. After the train arrives at the Grand Canyon Depot at the South Rim, GCR personnel, including chief mechanical officer Sam Lanter, will be on hand to provide renewable energy strategies and accomplishments. Other GCR team members will be at the Grand Canyon National Park visitor's center giving away shopping bags made of recycled plastic.
GCR will offer a 20 percent discount on reusable water bottles and (second promo per BB).
"Because we take our environmental stewardship of GCR and the whole rail corridor between Williams and Grand Canyon National Park so seriously, Earth Day is almost like a holiday to us," Morgan O'Connor, director of sustainability for GCR. "We like to recognize the many people who help keep the Canyon so special."
Xanterra South Rim, the primary concessioner at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, will offer retail and dining specials and support various community initiatives.
The Arizona Room and El Tovar Dining Room - popular in-park restaurants - will offer dinner specials on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 highlighting local and/or sustainable ingredients. In 2011, 29 percent of Xanterra South Rim's food and beverage was considered local and/or sustainable, and the company's goal for 2015 is to reach the 50 percent level.
All Xanterra South Rim retail stores will offer reusable water bottles at 20 percent off April 22. This promotion supports the National Park Service's decision to increase the usage of reusable water bottles after banning the sale of any containerized water in the park. The various retail stores operated by Xanterra South Rim will highlight their local and sustainable items throughout the entire weekend as well.
Visitors who want to learn more about the environmental efforts undertaken at the Grand Canyon can also go to the main visitor center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Representatives from the National Park Service, Xanterra, the Grand Canyon Association and the Grand Canyon community will offer exhibits showcasing environmental initiatives and will be available to answer questions. Park Visitors will also be able to sign a pledge signifying their commitment to monitor their utility usage at home.
As the operator of lodges, restaurants, gift stores and activities at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Xanterra South Rim is in a prime position to help minimize the environmental impact of park visitors. Xanterra's environmental management program, called Ecologix, has earned recognition from a variety of industry and environmental organizations for its depth and success. The company uses its own highly refined performance metrics model - called Ecometrix - to define resource consumption on annual per-room night and per-dollar revenue bases.
Additional information can be found by visiting www.grandcanyonlodges.com or calling toll-free 1-888-297-2757 or 1-303-297-2757 from outside the United States. Additional information about the park can be found at www.nps.gov/grca.