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Hey everybody I was wondering for some feedback from everyone on how do they feel about the drug and alcohol use at your resort? Is it really a problem or is it handled properly. The National Park service and the Major resort company's are under pressure to manage this problem as to many resort employees are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Starting in 2011 company's are changing to more enforcement of Chemical Dependency issues by more randum drug testing and more severe punishment for users.Also some company's are hirering counselors to try to manage the addiction problem.So I was wondering how you feel about this issue and if you will still be employeed by your company when these changes occur.

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What I observed in Yellowstone last summer was a lot of under age drinking. I don't necessarily think the kids handled the alcohol poorly .... but they had a real poor understanding (disregard?) of the law. This was especially true of the older kids who were buying the booze for the younger ones. If the DNC management would have known exactly who was doing this, they would have all been fired immediately and sent home. If the YNP rangers saw this happening then the kids would spend the night in Mammoth's jail and then be banded from the park for the remainder of the year. Too much to risk to buy someone you just met some beers in my opinion. But some folks like to live "on the edge" I suppose. The other concern I had with all the teenage drinking was these kids were missing some great experiences because they wasted several nights laying around drunk (and essentially doing nothing). To each his own.
Hey thanks for the feed back as I have been expossed to this issue first hand in my employment the last couple of years. My experiences have gave me the drive to go back to college to be a counselor and during my education here I have researched the NPS and there lack of commitment to handle many problems. They are a big contributer to say what goes on in their park but nothing is being done because of private company's are not willing to comply with the NPS. I have gone through alot of channels and redtape that finally it is paying off as 2011 the NPS and GVT is stepping up and making these company's hirer counselors and strictor enforcement is coming to the resort industry. Thanks for the input
I agree with you, Aggie. Alot of young people seemed to be loving dorm life, and a big part of that was partying. When they got busted, they were issued a probationary card, and banned from the pub for x amount of days. Which, when there were special events at the pub, they were out of luck.
I was unaware of any illegal drug use. I think Xanterra did a good job in dealing with the drinking issues, given all the legal reprocussions of hiring minors, right to privacy for adults, and a general unwillingness of coworkers to report wrongful behaivor. The main thing we did was survive.
I worked in Tusayan, the little town right outside the South Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park, back in 1997. The place was over run with drugs back then, and the hotel I worked at was so bad that employees were sellling each other drugs across the front desk and in the dorm behind the hotel, employess were doing lines in the hallway. This was going on while the hotel had no general manager as one quit and it took the hotel over seven months to get a new one during that boom economy back then. On the one hand, good for employees as it was easy to get work, on the other hand, crazy things like the drugs gone wild at this hotel were tolerated.....I have never seen any place as crazy since and I hope I never do again. 40Rob
Yes, I agree I worked at Canyon, Old Faithful, and The Grand Canyon AZ, and have been involved worked with corrections in Central Idaho.
I could not believe how much of a problem there is, in all of these places.
There is AA meetings in the parks, but no one is forced to go to them. Like outside. I know a couple of people starting some AA meetings in the Park, but is not getting cooperations from the private companys. If you know of some one with some pull, give me a shout out, then I can get word out to them.
The time I worked in Canyon I saw 2 drug bust's and at least 30 people fired for drug or alcahol related crimes. As a metter of fact I even know people who got hired back with Xanterra after being fired for such crimes.
I'm glad there will be a change, if you need any help you can count on me.
Hi Clayne,
This is true I have seen Foreever Resorts and Xanterra hirer back people that were selling drugs and dismissed from the job, and in return they were hirered back. So after seeing this first hand I contacted NPS dept of the Interior in washington and beleive it or not government does work, as they call me directlly within a week. We chatted on the phone of my experiences and they had alot of interest as the complaint process has been going on for quite sometime. They told me that I might be getting a call back with in a week from a senoir member of NPS. Next thing you know I was on a plane to Washington and sat down with the director, Jon Jarvis, and he was very interested in this matter. It all comes down to this NPS is taking the horns with this matter and by next year will have in place a detailed plan for the private sector that run these parks, to clean up there act. Iam currently in college to be a Chemical Dependency Counselor and plan on going back to work in the Resort Feild after my schooling, as theyre going to be quite a need after next year. Hey thanks for the info
I am glad that there are still a few seasonal workers, who just like me, feel that the drug and alcohol problems concerning concession employees are getting out of hand. It is always sad to point out that our national parks have already become a haven of criminal activity for people who have total disregard, when it comes to our set of laws. It will be very difficult to curb (or to even minimize) the ongoing trend within the national park system without a major commitment coming from the concessionaires. The law enforcement rangers regularly have their hands full when it comes to dealing with concession employees. It will never change until concessionaires streamline their hiring process to where the application of strictest standards is enforced.

Law enforcement rangers are not babysitters and it is not incumbent upon the NPS nor the concessionaires to have a mandatory program to help employees deal with their addiction. Whether it is alcohol and drug dependency, or sex addiction, it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual not the employer or NPS. Hello? These places are not rehabs.

It is a catch-22 however, as national park concessionaires attract these kinds of people. I have worked for three different concessionaires in three different national parks and I have never been around a greater compilation of alcoholics, drug addicts, and sexual predators than what I have seen in our majestic parks. It is mind boggling as these wonderfully preserved landscapes are now hideouts of people staying below the radar of law enforcement.

The wilderness, inadequate law enforcement activity (we all know law enforcement rangers stop patrolling after midnight), the non-existent of background checks, the non-administration of drug test, coed dorms, all contribute to the lure of people with questionable merit. In return, concessionaires reciprocate the favor by offering low pay, no benefits, poor living conditions, leniency on drunkeness while at work, and the tolerance of underage drinking, possesion of drugs, and sexual predatory acts.

In paper, concessionaires have the highest standards when it comes to their hiring process. It is a no-brainer as their proposals to the NPS have to be competitively better than the rest to land them lucrative contracts from the feds. But concessionaires don't follow strict standards as they have a relatively huge amount of power and independence from NPS. So don't hold your breath as changes will never occur until concessionaires start hiring quality people.
This is what makes or breaks a season for me is the amount of seperation I can get away from the druggies. I know its a fact of life that there will always be some people who's sole purpose in life is to get loaded legally or illegally alright glad to see them fulfilling their purpose. Now in a city I can avoid these people with little or no effort but in a park or setting where its a small group of us and no more its hard if not impossible.
young people drinking and smoking weed? who would have thunk it??
Wow. It actually surprises me that the majority of comments are of this mindset. I think that anyone who has worked in the park/lodge setting fully realize that the majority of employees that flock to these jobs do so for the sense of freedom it gives them and the desire to get away from the burden of having to deal with mindsets like the ones of expressing their thoughts here. The VAST MAJORITY of these employees are college-aged folks who are still exploring who they are and smoking pot and drinking is a part of that. If that wasn't the case then they would work in cubicles and have bricks instead of trees outside of their windows. Why on earth would you expect otherwise? Any employee that lets their habits affect their work ethic SHOULD be fired, but if not, leave them be. Drug testing will just make potential hires pay more in deposits. I do not smoke and drink only occasionally but I know what I'm in for working in the middle of nowhere. All of you do as well; you're just complaining about it because chances are you don't feel like you fit in anymore, OR, you feel like it's your job to rehabilitate others; in which case, put your bible down and think about why you're in a place in your life that makes you feel lacking. In case you haven't noticed, more people die from cigarettes than anything else, but you don't champion that cause, do you? Like I said, if it affects their job, report them, by all means. If not, accept your life choice and leave others be.
As for this: "I have worked for three different concessionaires in three different national parks and I have never been around a greater compilation of alcoholics, drug addicts, and sexual predators than what I have seen in our majestic parks. It is mind boggling as these wonderfully preserved landscapes are now hideouts of people staying below the radar of law enforcement."
Don't you think that's a bit dramatic? Don't be that person that ruins others' lives because you don't agree with theirs or don't have any friends.
Thanks Jon I appreciate your honesty,
Its not that I want to change the world but I do want to make a difference in the way people are turning off the world and dealing with problems by usuing a drug or drink. The problems that they are running from are still going to exsist so they choose to escape by smoking a joint or drinking until they puke. Im not a angel as I have suffered from addiction for over twenty years and what stopped me was when I hit bottom, when I lost everything; family friends, jobs,health,promisses, should I keep on going with things I lost because I was a alcoholic; to many to list.
So I try to pass the warning on to other people starting out so that they dont suffer the pain that I have. And heres the thing Im not the only one, theres millions of addicted people out there that are wishing they have never picked up that first drink or drug. Then theres the people that confide with me of a tragic death or a accident that was never done on purpose and they caused death to occur because of a drug or drink.Young, old,black,white,fat,thin, addiction does not discriminate or choose certin people to affect.
Listen to the stories on the front line instead of standing in the shadows saying drinkings ok, or smoking pot is ok. Visit a rehab or better yet go to a detox unit and talk with some of the people there; then think after your visit if Im being Dramatic.
Jon I will agree that you have some good points especially about cigerettes but being in administration at a couple different resorts I have seen the worst And you are right some of the employees that the venders hirer are avoiding law enforcement so what does that say about the company thats hirering them, that they will hirer anybody that will work without any background checks. These companys should not be in business with the NPS as they dont care about nature and the environment; just the mighty buck. When I was in Olympic National Forest I have seen the bottles and cans in the woods because of a employee party, so much for the employee conscience nature lover.
I like to hear from everybody on this subject as My thesis at college is on Addiction across the country Thanks Jon
Not everyone that has a drink or uses a drug becomes addicted. Not everyone that has a drink is doing so to "deal with problems." I think you're advocating some early preventative interventions of some kind? It's a laudable goal...but I'm going to say I have major doubts of how this would work. College campuses have been trying it for decades without much success.

(And I think Jon's quote from another entry about being under the radar of law enforcement was what he was saying was a touch too dramatic...)


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