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Conservation is grand

Conservation is grand

How we’re working to minimize environmental impacts

The thing about natural wonders of the world is that there’s only seven of them. There’s the Grand Canyon, northern lights, Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest, Victoria Falls, Harbor of Rio de Janeiro and Paricutin, Mexico. With such a limited supply, you need to take good care of them.

That’s what Delaware North seeks to do with its lodging and retail operations at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. This effort takes several shapes. It includes a focus on locally made and authentic Native American retail products, among several other important environmental priorities.

“Working in the national parks is very meaningful to Delaware North and we want to take care of these special places,” said Kaitlin Christiansen, environmental/risk manager, Delaware North at Grand Canyon. “So, we look to minimize packaging waste from our vendors. Reducing single-use plastics is a key priority and our new plush vendor uses plastic-free shipping. We’re always seeking to take small steps that add up over time.”

Those steps include updated water fixtures, enhanced refrigeration and new LED lighting in stores. It means minimizing packaging as much as possible and not selling bottled water. The Delaware North team focuses on a circular economy, which is a system where materials never become waste and nature is regenerated. This is put into practice as both batteries and cigarette butts are recycled. Plus, leftover cardboard is baled and backhauled by a grocery vendor while plastic bottles and aluminum cans are taken by our beverage partner, Pepsi, to recycling facilities.

At the South Rim, our environmental efforts have focused primarily on three areas: purchasing, waste and water/energy.

Our priorities at the South Rim include:


  • Purchase and use environmentally friendly products whenever available and feasible
  • Ensure 70% of retail products sold are made in the United States
  • Dedicate 50% of Desert View Trading Post retail space to culturally tribe-specific handicrafts, jewelry and artwork
  • Ensure that at least 30% of foods purchased are local, sustainable and/or organic
  • Purchase 90% of food ingredients within 190 miles of the property
  • Purchase hormone- and antibiotic-free meat products
  • Provide 100% of coffee, tea, chocolate and hot chocolate from fair-trade or rainforest-certified sources
  • Offer at least 40% of beverage menu items without added sugar


Working directly with the National Park Service, Delaware North achieved 57% waste diversion from the landfill in 2020 — with a goal to achieve Zero Waste over the life of our contract through the following practices:

  • Using reusable cups, dishware and silverware at Yavapai Tavern and Restaurant when possible
  • Donating Canyon Village Market food products nearing expiration to local food pantry to benefit the community
  • Educating guests on the impact of straws through The Last Straw campaign, using straw-free lids at our coffee operations and providing phade® compostable straws when requested
  • Responsibly sourcing recyclable or compostable single-use packaging whenever possible
  • Recycling electronic waste with an environmentally ethical, zero-waste-certified company twice a year
  • Donating usable construction items, furniture and soft goods to local charities and communities
  • Issuing all new employees reusable cups for use in the workplace
  • Using refillable bottles and washable rags for cleaning
  • Recycling cigarette butts collected from our facility into plastic lumber used to make items like the picnic tables in front of the Canyon Village Market and Desert View Market
  • Only offering paper bags and reusable bags in stores


Water/energy is a key priority at the Grand Canyon as well. Our goal is to reduceboth water and energy use 40% by 2025.

“We’re always looking to purchase materials that are compostable with the least environmental impact,” shared Christiansen. “We sell reusable bags made from plastic bottles and feature an Eco Shop area of the store that highlights sustainable products. We look to reuse packing peanuts and share food that is nearing expiration with a local food pantry. It’s many tactics aligned with one larger, overarching goal.”

Today, Delaware North is working to ensure that future generations can also enjoy the natural wonder of the Grand Canyon.

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