GNP Newcomers Welcomed With Protest - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

GNP Newcomers Welcomed With Protest

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WEST GLACIER -

This January, Glacier National Park will welcome Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Inc. as a new concessioner, but some 5,500 people say they believe these two make bad bedfellows.

Xanterra, currently operating in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and several other national and state parks, will now take over for Glacier Park, Inc. who has held a contract with the park since 1981.

"This is the major concessions contract in the park and it includes food and lodging, retail services, transportation services, and other visitor services across the park," said Denise Germann, a spokeswoman for the Park.

The concession's contract went out for offers this past Spring and all bids were scored numerically. Xanterra had the highest score, in turn leading to a surprising number of dissidents, even for the man who started the petition protesting Xanterra in the park, Bob Brigham.

"I read a story in The Missoulian about Xanterra applying to win this lucrative concession contract and thought it was just absurd considering that they are owned by a billionaire oil man who is currently fracking for oil just outside the park," said Brigham.

Brigham's online petition already has over 5,500 signatures. He hopes this will be enough to give his cause some visibility.

"The current status is that there's been preliminary approval of Xanterra receiving the contract. What that did is it now shifted this to congress, so it's now up to Montana's congressional delegation to pick up the ball on this and run," explained Brigham.

According to Brigham, congress has sixty days to act. Brigham plans to prompt all signees before the end of the week to contact their representatives--to ask them to help reverse this endorsement of what he views as a threat to Glacier National Park.

"Anybody that provided a proposal for this particular contract needed to meet some requirements and meet some of the factors that we were looking at--criteria," said Germann.

Included in these criteria is quote "sustainability and energy conservation."

To take a look at that petition for yourself, click here.

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