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Colorado company says fewer people applying for jobs in national parks

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. - The Colorado company that operates lodges, restaurants and gift shops in such places as Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Canyon national parks said it is having a hard time filling jobs amid an improving economy.

Xanterra (zan-TER'-uh) Parks & Resorts vice-president Jim McCaleb said for the past few years, the company has received many applications from experienced workers who he believes are now looking for year-round employment, instead of jobs that are only available during the tourist season.

"With the recession, we saw the uptick in pretty much every profile of applicant you could think of. We saw the uptick in experienced workers who either lost their full-time jobs, or couldn't find a full-time job and were opting for seasonal employment," he said.

There is now a shortage of applicants and Xanterra is seeking 4,000 seasonal employees to fill jobs in Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Canyon national parks, among other places. McCaleb said Yellowstone alone has 600 to 700 openings, the Denver Post reported Tuesday (http://tinyurl.com/pa4ykxg).

McCaleb said the lodges and hotels in the parks are staying open longer because of older visitors who love to visit the parks in the fall.

"Obviously with the aging of the baby boomers and the numbers of people moving into that demographic, the travel season in the fall has strengthened, and we see the visitor profile change from the summer family to the fall retired or semi-retired baby boomer couple," said McCaleb.

As a result, Xanterra needs to hire not only college students who often have to return to classes before the parks close, but also people who can work for longer periods.

In years past, the typical season for the lodges and hotels was mid-June to the beginning of September. But now, the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone closes in mid-October.

McCaleb said parks provide an opportunity for workers to take advantage of the nation's resources and get paid for doing it.

"We are in the market for people who are not only interested in working, but also living and spending recreation time in the national park this summer," he said.

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Online:

Xanterra Jobs: http://tinyurl.com/76jb7vh

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Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com

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