Grand Canyon averts interruption of services at South Rim by awarding temporary contract

Officials have awarded a temporary contract for a concessionaire to provide services at the The Grand Canyon's South Rim.

The one-year contract to Xanterra (zan-TAYR'-uh) Parks & Resorts averts a shutdown of some of the park's iconic hotels and its mule rides to the bottom of the canyon.

Xanterra has been providing those services for decades but its current contract ends Dec. 31.

Three companies expressed interest in the temporary contract that will be in place while the National Park Service solicits bids for a 15-year contract.

Efforts to have a long-term contract in place before the end of the year failed with no one submitting bids meeting the Park Service's terms.

Xanterra sued the Park Service over the long-term contract. A hearing was canceled this week while the parties discussed a settlement.