Xanterra to open with reduced staff

Sam Klomhaus — Enterprise Staff Writer
Friday, May 15, 2020

Yellowstone National Park’s reopening plan, released Wednesday, included information about when Xanterra Travel Collection properties will be allowed to start opening.

Phase one of reopening begins Monday with the south and east gates open, and the southern loop open. Xanterra operates nine properties in Yellowstone, which are scheduled to begin opening in phase two.

Phase two allows campgrounds, visitor cabins and takeout restaurants to open on a rolling basis, so they won’t all open at once.

Hotels and full-service establishments are in phase three of the plan.

Xanterra General Manager Mike Keller said Thursday this was about what he expected, and communication with Yellowstone and state and county governments around opening has been good.

Despite the circumstances, Keller said, Xanterra expects to have a fine summer once all the properties are open, it’s just a matter of getting to a point when they can safely open.

Xanterra usually hires around 3,200 seasonal employees, Keller said, but this year they’re limiting hiring to about 800 employees.

“Given the public health concerns, we’re just not going to be bringing in the volume of employees we have in the past,” Keller said.

Since the reopening plan was announced, Keller said, Xanterra has been able to bring back most of the 25-30 full-time staff who were furloughed while the park was closed.

Yellowstone is part of a much larger ecosystem here, Keller said, and it’s too early to tell which properties will open when, and if some might stay closed all season long.

“Today there’s just too many unknowns,” Keller said.