Tag Archives: national park service

National Park Service Selects New Operator for Everglades National Park

New contract will expand and improve visitor services including a new restaurant and lodging at Flamingo

General Park Information:  305-242-7700
Media Queries: Denese Canedo, Denese_Canedo@nps.gov, 786-481-7592

HOMESTEAD, Fla – Get ready for new ways to experience Everglades National Park! On May 30, 2017, the National Park Service selected Everglades Guest Services, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Guest Services, Inc. (Guest Services), to provide visitor services in the park’s Flamingo district. The contract requires construction of 24 cottages and 20 eco-tents by December 2019, but authorizes a total of 40 cottages and 40 eco-tents. Apart from campsites, this will be the first expanded overnight accommodations in the park since 2005, when the previous lodging complex was removed due to severe damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma.

Under the new agreement, Guest Services will manage all visitor services in Long Pine Key and Flamingo, including campgrounds, boat tours of Florida Bay and Whitewater Bay, a new restaurant co-located with the cottages, and retail. The new accommodations will be environmentally friendly, affording a sustainable visitor experience. The 20 year term of the contract will enable the new operator to invest in needed visitor services and make customer service a priority.

Superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, Pedro Ramos, expressed excitement about the new contract: “Guest Services has a long history of serving our national parks and the millions of visitors that come out to visit them. We are thrilled that we can now move forward with Guest Services to revitalize Flamingo and offer quality services that will enhance the visitor experience at Everglades National Park.” Ramos also expressed his gratitude to Sammy Hamilton and Everglades National Park Boat Tours for over eight years of providing services to the visitors of the Flamingo area.

Gerry Gabrys, CEO of Guest Services, Inc. similarly shared his enthusiasm by stating, “2017 has been a very special year for our organization as it marks a ‘Century of Service’ since our founding in 1917. When we received this tremendous news from the National Park Service, our Centennial Celebration became even more special. We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to steward and enhance visitor services within the Everglades – truly one of America’s most iconic National Parks!”

Flamingo is accessed by water, through Florida Bay, or a 45-minute scenic drive through the park. Visitors will be able to walk out their cottage door, and within minutes have the opportunity to see crocodiles, alligators, manatees, sawfish, sea turtles, dolphin, tarpon and more. Flamingo is also a world-class birding and fishing paradise, with rich history of peoples and industries from the Calusa & Tequesta Indians, Guy Bradley and the Audubon Society, to Henry Flagler and agriculture.

Guest Services was selected under the provisions of the 1998 Concessions Management Improvement Act. Guidelines used to evaluate proposals can be found online at: http://www.nps.gov/commercialservices. More information about the company is available at www.guestservices.com.

For more information about Everglades National Park, visit http://www.nps.gov/ever or call (305) 242-7700.

– NPS –

The National Park Service has more than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 National Parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

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Food Management Magazine Ranks Guest Services, Inc. as the #1 Company To Watch in 2017

Guest Services experienced a surge in new business across its markets over the past year, highlighted by major contract wins with the National Park Service, Florida State Parks, Missouri State Parks, and a ski and golf resort in the Upper Midwest. Growth was augmented by the acquisition of Boston Outdoor Recreation, a marketer of non-motorized watersports services. The company also increased its market share in the senior living segment via new partnerships in Tennessee, Florida and the Pacific Northwest.

Those successes served to kick off centennial year celebrations throughout 2017 for the firm, which was founded in 1917.

In 2016, Guest Services introduced a series of national brands such as Starbucks, Five Guys, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Red Mango in several of its accounts and added a series of new proprietary concepts. These include Local Roots (allergen-free, locally sourced, organic cuisine), Qi Bao (pho and stir-fry), Wedge (display and made-to-order sandwiches), Borders (self-serve regional and international cuisine), Pigs ‘n Pickles (barbecue), Green Works (tossed-to-order salads), Cracking the Coconut (curries), Olives (pizza, calzones, strombolis and pasta), Tejas (Mexican) and Nature’s Table (salad bar).

In 2017, Guest Services plans to roll out an enhanced nutritional program led by Corporate Nutritionist Judy Caplan, who previously served as founding director of nutrition services at Canyon Ranch Resort & Spa and has also been a media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Guest Services Chefs

Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service!

On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) is proud to celebrate 100 years as “America’s Best Idea.” To celebrate such a great feat, we think it’s the perfect time for a #ThrowbackThursday.

With 100 years of service, comes a lot of change and decades of fantastic memories. We have been privileged and honored to steward many of these historic sites over the years, including Great Falls Park, Thompson Boat Center, and Carter Barron Amphitheatre. Do you recognize any of these NPS locations? Let us know if you have any old NPS pictures and tag Guest Services when you share them on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram, and, we’ll share your pictures!

C&O CanalC&O Canal

We can’t get enough of this picture of an old boat tour on the C&O Canal. Take a look at the mules pulling the boat! How times have changed… Back in the old days, mules would take “towpaths,” or paths beside the canal, and tow the boats down the canal. This certainly makes us more appreciative of the modern (and more efficient) technology we have today! Do you know anyone who took a horse-drawn boat tour on the C&O Canal? Share with us on social media!

Visit: C&O Canal’s Website


Carter BarronCarter Barron Amphitheater

Carter Barron Amphitheater was packed full for this ballet performance years ago! Do you recognize this performance? We would love for you to share the performance name and year with us! All these years later, Carter Barron Amphitheatre still hosts excellent concerts, movie nights, and fun performances like this one.

Visit: Carter Barron Amphitheater’s Website



GreatFallsGreat Falls Park, MD

Just a glimpse into years past at what appears to be a welcome center at Great Falls Park, MD. Take a look at guests enjoying a beautiful afternoon at Great Falls. A relaxing day at Great Falls is a timeless classic that never grows old!

Visit: Great Falls Park’s Website





Thompson Boat Center

We think it’s amazing that Thompson Boat Center has been hosting droves of visitors all these years! It was just as packed and popular venue then as it is today. Share your fun memories of an afternoon on the water, and don’t forget to visit and continue to make more great memories with Thompson Boat Center!

Visit: Thompson Boat Center’s Website


Join the Conversation!

Do you recognize anyone in these pictures or know the year a picture was taken? Please let us know! As we said above, we’d absolutely love to see all the fun pictures you have from visits to America’s beautiful national parks. Here’s to another 100 years of memories from all of us at Guest Services!