Park Concessioner Grand Canyon Railway Recently Received NPS Director’s Environmental Achievement Award

GCR and Xanterra staff receive Lean, Clean and Green award from Superintendent
From left to right: Bob Baker, Jeff D'Arpa, and Morgan O'Connor of Grand Canyon Railroad; Gordon Taylor, Vice President, Parks South, Xanterra Parks and Resorts; Superintendent Dave Uberuaga; and EPA Specialist Deirdre Hanners

NPS Photo by Michael Quinn

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News Release Date: February 21, 2012

Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. - Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA) concessioner Grand Canyon Railway (owned and operated by Xanterra Parks and Resorts) was recently awarded the National Park Service's (NPS) Environmental Achievement Award in the Lean, Clean and Green category. 

The Lean, Clean and Green Award recognizes NPS teams or partners for outstanding achievements in building or fleet energy efficiency, or renewable energy development and deployment. Grand Canyon Railway's (GCR) award stemmed from their recent conversion of an inefficient, 1923 Baldwin steam locomotive from diesel fuel to clean-burning, waste vegetable oil (WVO). This renewable energy source is a waste product generated, in part, by Xanterra and GCR food-service facilities.   

"This locomotive symbolizes our commitment to find cleaner ways of operating our resorts and of addressing our contribution to climate change," said Gordon Taylor, Vice President, Parks South, Xanterra Parks and Resorts.   

Use of the locomotive significantly reduces GCR's environmental footprint. Each round-trip journey to the park uses approximately 1,320 gallons of WVO which not only prevents the oil from entering the waste stream, but reduces GCR's diesel fuel consumption by about 1,100 gallons per trip. Because WVO burns much more cleanly than diesel, the WVO locomotive assists the Grand Canyon community in reaching their Climate Friendly Park goal of reducing green house gas emissions. 

 "The NPS Environmental Achievement Awards recognize concessioners who demonstrate exceptional accomplishments toward the overall goal of preservation and protection of the resources under our stewardship," said Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. "Grand Canyon Railway's innovative conversion is a tremendous example of actions that can reduce a park's carbon footprint and showcase the value of renewable energy, one of the goals of the Call to Action." 

The award was presented to representatives of Grand Canyon Railway and Xanterra Parks and Resorts on the 100th anniversary of Arizona's statehood. The WVO locomotive, which operates on special occasions, brought almost 1,200 visitors to the park that day to celebrate the state's 100th birthday. 

For more on the Grand Canyon Railway's WVO-powered steam locomotive, please visit GCR's web site at For more on Climate Friendly Parks, go to For additional information on the NPS Call to Action, please visit And for more on Grand Canyon National Park, visit the park's web site at 


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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