Every spring, Glacier National Park’s Red Buses are prepped for another season plying up and down the roads of America’s 10th national park. This year is no different except, for the first time in decades, the 33 buses will bare a different name across their classic exterior.
Four months after Xanterra Park & Resorts took over concessions inside the park, the company is rebranding the National Park Service’s iconic fleet of “Jammers” before the 2014 touring season begins.
The new logo displayed across the side of the buses reads “Glacier National Park Red Bus Tours” and depicts a bus driving up the Going-to-the-Sun Road with mountains in the distance. The logo was one of more than 50 designs, according to Dave Eglsaer, Xanterra’s transportation director.
“We incorporated some very important images from the park; the buses, the Going-to-the-Sun Road and the mountains, all the while retaining that vintage feel,” Eglsaer said.
Eglsaer, who previously worked for Glacier Park Inc., the former concessionaire, said Xanterra initially wanted to keep the traditional mountain goat logo on the buses, but the image’s copyright remains with the other company. Xanterra hired a company to come up with dozens of versions of the logo and the search was whittled down to four or five that were presented to the National Park Service. The final version was approved about a month ago and Xanterra started applying the new logos in late April.
The Red Bus fleet, which is known as the oldest intact fleet of passenger vehicles in the world, was moved from East Glacier Park to a warehouse near Glacier Park International Airport earlier this year. The buses are maintained at a shop near Evergreen on U.S. Highway 2 and Eglsaer said the buses would be a common sight this summer when they are moved between the shop and park for routine maintenance.
This year will prove to be a momentous one for the park and Xanterra with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of motorized tours in Glacier.
Glacier was the first park in the U.S. to offer bus tours and the Red Buses, built between 1936 and 1939, have become an iconic symbol in the area.
Red Bus rides commence May 25 with the Huckleberry Mountain Tour on the west side of the park. The three-and-a-half hour ride takes visitors from the Lake McDonald Lodge around the lake and up toward the North Fork. In June and July, more tours will be added to the lineup, particularly once the Sun Road opens, which is tentatively slated for June 20. Xanterra also hopes to offer Red Bus tours over the Going-to-the-Sun Road later into the fall, Eglsaer said. Last year those trips were foiled with the government shutdown.
Eglsaer said besides the new logo on the side of the buses, visitors’ experiences would remain much the same.
For more information about Glacier’s bus tours, visit www.glaciernationalparklodges.com.
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