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In Hot and Dry Death Valley, The Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort
Learns How to Reduce Water Usage and Generate Electricity
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DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, July 8, 2009 – The Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort in Death Valley National Park has enacted a series of environmental initiatives designed to minimize the impact of its operations and of its guests. The resort has put in place programs to reduce water usage, generate electricity and purchase and serve sustainable cuisine.
 
The single-biggest development undertaken by Furnace Creek operator Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been the installation of a five-acre, one megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The system went active in June 2008 and now generates more than one-third of the total annual electricity needs of Xanterra’s Death Valley operations, including the historic Furnace Creek Inn, Furnace Creek Ranch, Furnace Creek Golf Course, employee offices and housing. 
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Solar PV Energy Installation: In 2008, we installed one of the largest non-utility-owned renewable energy systems in the country. This is a one megawatt (1MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system being constructed at the sunniest place in the country, our Death Valley operations.
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In an area as hot and dry as Death Valley, balancing water usage with conservation requires significant planning. Furnace Creek and its namesake resort exist in their location because natural spring water flows from nearby mountain ranges to create an oasis. By routing the water from one point to others, Xanterra’s goal is to use the same molecules of water for several purposes. The spring-fed water is first used at the Furnace Creek Inn to irrigate gardens and supply the swimming pool which was designed with a flow-through system that minimizes chemical use. That water then continues downhill to the Furnace Creek Ranch where it fills the ponds on the golf course, providing habitat for local and migratory wildlife. The water in the ponds then irrigates the golf course. 
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Furnace Creek Inn Pool
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“We do receive questions about water usage in the middle of the driest area of the continent,” said Joel Southall, director of environmental health and safety for Xanterra’s Death Valley operations. “Below ground, however, we are blessed with huge groundwater reserves that we use efficiently with a gravity-fed flow that eliminates the need for most chemical treatments and electrical pumps.”
 
The resort’s sustainable cuisine program stresses the best methods for producing items as well purchasing foods and beverages from local sources whenever possible. Xanterra follows guidelines developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch protocol and the Audubon Society’s Living Oceans Seafood Guide. The company serves fish from Marine Stewardship Council-certified sustainable fisheries and those that were harvested using sustainable practices. Several years ago its restaurants stopped serving four species of seafood – Chilean Sea Bass, Atlantic Swordfish, Blue Fin Tuna and Shark – because the survival of those species is threatened by over-fishing, or they are harvested in ways that damage the environment.  Locally sourced items include dates, pistachios, almonds and some beer and soda products. 
 
Other initiatives include:
  • Replacing all shower heads at the Inn with ultra-low-flow models
  • Encouraging guests to reuse their towels and linens when staying multiple nights
  • Replacing lighting fixtures with the most efficient models available
  • Replacing 75-watt incandescent bulbs with five-watt cold cathode bulbs
  • Replacing golf course irrigation motors with new, premium-efficiency variable-frequency drive motors
  • Participating in a program called Demand Bidding with Southern California Edison to decrease electrical consumption during peak demand periods
  • Discontinuing use of lights at the Inn tennis court 
  • Removing old, inefficient flood lighting and replacing it with “night-sky friendly” lighting, limiting light pollution in the park.
The Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort has been welcoming guests since the 1930s. The AAA Four-Diamond-rated Furnace Creek Inn is open from mid-October through mid-May. It features 66 rooms, including two suites with a full array of amenities, fine dining, tennis courts and a spring-fed pool. Open year-round, the Furnace Creek Ranch is situated adjacent to the golf course and features 224 rooms in a casual setting, general store, spring-fed swimming pool, tennis courts, seasonal horseback riding and the Borax Museum.
 
For more information about facilities in Death Valley National Park or to make room reservations at in-park lodges, call toll free at 1-888-236-7916 or 1-303-297-2757 or go to www.furnacecreekresort.com.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts® (consisting of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Inc. and Xanterra South Rim, L.L.C.) operates lodges, restaurants and other concessions at national parks and state parks and resorts. Xanterra Parks & Resorts is the country's largest park concessioner. Xanterra operates concessions in the following locations: Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Crater Lake, Death Valley, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial; and at the Silverado Resort in Napa, Calif.; and eight Ohio State Parks. Its affiliate Xanterra South Rim, L.L.C. operates concessions at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Xanterra also operates the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz.

Long committed to the preservation and protection of the environment, Ecologix, Xanterra Parks & Resorts' environmental program, includes a variety of proactive environmental stewardship programs in each location. Xanterra has been repeatedly recognized for its environmental leadership in the hospitality industry and is the recipient of many honors, including major awards from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Travel Industry Association, Colorado Department of Public Health, State of Arizona, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

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Contact:

Xanterra Parks & Resorts 
6312 S. Fiddlers Green Circle
Suite 600 North
Greenwood Village, Co 80111
 www.xanterra.com

Mona Mesereau
(1) 720-842-5271
mona_mesereau@msn.com
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Also See: The Menu at Xanterra’s Lake Yellowstone Hotel Stresses Sustainable Fshing, Farming and Ranching Practices / June 2009
Borax, the All Natural Cleaning Agent, Has Strong Ties to Furnace Creek Inn in the California Desert / May 2008
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