Hottest Place on Earth Managed by Overland Park Company

All the news for the past few weeks has been about the heat.  The Economist published “Heat is causing problems across the world”.   China reported that a bridge was buckling because of the heat. There are triple digits across the United States causing fires and a city park in Pennsylvania extended their pool hours because it was so hot out. (Okay that last one is kind of cool). But have you ever really thought about living and working in the heat?

A company in Overland Park, Kansas known as ExplorUS provides operational support for a hotel, restaurant and gift shop in Death Valley National Park, the hottest place on earth according to the Conde Nast Traveler.  The National Park is actually listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s hottest recorded temperature of 134 degrees in 1913.  Today’s temperature was only 110 degrees but will be up to 115 by this time next week.  The property, located in Stovepipe Wells Village, employs around 75 people during peak season and is open 365 days per week; rain, shine and heat.

ExplorUS functions as a support company providing oversight of National, State, and Local Park and Forest Concessions across the country.  They have their corporate offices in Overland Park where over 50 people work in support of marinas, campgrounds, lodges, retail shops, caves, and a variety of other outdoor recreation areas.

“ExplorUS has operated park concessions for over 30 years”, said Frank Pikus, CEO. “We work to enhance the visitor’s experience while protecting the natural and historical aspects of the parks in which we operate.”  The company chose Overland Park for its corporate headquarters because of the centralized location in the United States, also known as The Heart of America. Not to mention the city’s great work environment.  “Overland Park is a lovely place to work and live,” said Pikus.  “While the city continues to grow it still manages to feel like a community.  There are great places to eat and shop, and the parks are beautiful which is really important to someone in the “park” business.”

As a customer service-based business, ExplorUS believes that employees are their most important natural resource.  The company offers competitive pay, excellent benefits, opportunities for advancement and adventure.  It is one of the few companies in the country that offers the great outdoors as their primary workstation.

For more information about ExplorUS visit www.goexplorus.com  

Press Release
Overland Park, IL
Contact: Amy Trimble, VP Marketing
[email protected]
815-238-8672

New Restaurant, Nolan’s, Open Inside Illinois Beach State Park

Nolan’s Restaurant at the Illinois Beach Hotel officially opened on July 5th, 2022, and is already getting great reviews.

Open to the public, Nolan’s offers a full menu for lunch and dinner. The dinner menu features some locally sourced products and includes items such as: Wisconsin White Cheddar Cheese Curds, Nolan’s Signature Cranberry Kale Salad, Salmon, Chicago Stockyard Ribeye, Michigan Whitefish Pomodoro, pastas, chops, and more. The lunch menu features burgers, a Wisconsin Brat, Nolan’s Famous Fish Tacos, and a wide variety of salads and sandwiches. Full menus can be found at www.illinoisbeachhotel.com/dining.

Nolan’s Restaurant is open to the public and offers lunch and dinner daily. Breakfast will be added in the next several weeks. “We are thrilled about the opportunity to reopen the Illinois Beach Hotel and its new restaurant Nolan’s,” said VP of Marketing, Amy Trimble. “Our desire is to support and enhance the community by bringing back events such as Sunday and Holiday Brunches, as well as offering a few new and interesting dining and entertainment concepts. We want folks to know our hospitality extends beyond just our out-of-town guests, and that we are grateful to be able to serve the local community as a whole”.

Reservations can be made by calling 224-259-2600. Walk-ins are welcome. Lunch and Dinner are being served from 11am to 8pm daily indoors or out on the patio overlooking the lake.

Facebook Reviews:
“Had the pleasure of meeting Jenny at Nolan’s restaurant. She was gracious to fill us in on what’s been happening at what I call a “hidden gem”. She made us feel very welcomed along with Liz our server. Food was great, fresh, and decent portion sizes. We will be back and look forward to trying more items on the menu!” – Lynn I.

“Delicious & Fresh food. Large portions. Great menu choices, from burgers to fresh fish. Shareable appetizers. Hidden gem!”- Donna C.

Like the Illinois Beach Hotel on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Illinois-Beach-Hotel

The Illinois Beach Hotel as well as Starved Rock Lodge and White Pines Lodge are all proud properties of ExplorUS (previously Ortega National Parks).

ExplorUS is a hospitality management company with over 50 properties across the United States. If you are interested in working for the Illinois Beach Hotel or another property within the ExplorUS family, please go to: www.goExplorUs.com

Visit our website illinoisbeachhotel.com for updated information, menus, and hours. Illinois Beach Hotel re-opened and is inviting you back to the beach.

Amy Trimble
ExplorUS
+1 815-238-8672

Allegany Concessions Under New Management

Salamanca, NY – Allegany Hospitality, part of a hospitality management company operating in parks across the country, has been awarded the concessions for the Red House and Quaker areas inside the largest state park in New York, Allegany State Park.  

Allegany State Park is a 65,000-acre primitive forest valley known for its beautiful views, wildlife, and exciting activities. There are many ways to enjoy the Red House and Quaker Run area including scenic picnic sites, museums, hiking and biking trails, fishing, and much more. 

Allegany Hospitality will oversee concessions inside the Red House Administration Building including The Red House Restaurant and gift shop, as well as bike and boat rentals at Red House Lake and the General Stores at the Red House and Quaker Areas. The General Stores are not only convenient for souvenir shopping, but also for campers who forgot any groceries or camping equipment. Don’t forget to try the mozzarella sticks at the Quaker Run Snack Shack!  

“We are so pleased to be adding Allegany to our list of properties,” said Frank Pikus, Chief Executive Officer. “A visit to this lovely park is not complete without a stop for dining at the Red House Restaurant or picking up a t-shirt at the Quaker Run General Store.  We have hired a wonderful staff to oversee these sites and are anticipating a successful summer season with years to follow”. 

The hospitality group is passionate about preserving and protecting the unique environments and precious resources where it operates.  With that in mind, they have partnered with the Friends of Allegany and are helping to sell ‘Save the Red House Sawmill’ raffle tickets at both the Red House Gift Shop and Quaker General Store.  

Red House Restaurant, gift shop and boathouse hours can be found at  www.alleganyhospitality.com 

Like us at Allegany State Park Hospitality on Facebook. 
https://www.facebook.com/AlleganyStateParkHospitality

Contact: Amy Trimble, VP Marketing
[email protected]
June 2022

ExplorUS will operate Lake Wappapello State Park concessions

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 6, 2022 —  ExplorUS, formally Ortega National Parks, a hospitality management company operating in parks across the country, will manage lodging and limited retail operations in Lake Wappapello State Park for Missouri State Parks beginning this year. 

Covering more than 1,800 acres in southeastern Missouri, Lake Wappapello State Park features cool, clear waters where anglers can cast their lines for white bass, crappie, and bluegill, as well as largemouth bass and catfish. The park welcomes more than 125,000 anglers, campers, swimmers, and hiking enthusiasts each year. The park also contains modern cabins with kitchens, rustic camper cabins, and more than 20 miles of hiking trails.

“We are so pleased to be adding Lake Wappapello to our list of Missouri properties,” said Frank Pikus, chief executive officer of ExplorUS. “This lovely park has great outdoor opportunities and the two- and three-bedroom cabins bring nature right to our guests’ door. We have hired a wonderful staff to oversee the cabin rentals and anticipate having a very successful season.” 

“We look forward to our partnership with ExplorUS at Lake Wappapello State Park,” said David Kelly, director of Missouri State Parks. “ExplorUS offers a variety of amenities and will help visitors have a state park experience filled with wonderful memories.”

ExplorUS is dedicated to preserving and protecting the unique environments and precious resources of the sites where it operates, allowing guests and future generations to experience the beauty, serenity, and splendor of local, state, and national parks. It provides concession services at 50 locations nationwide including three other Missouri State Parks;  Lake of the Ozarks, Montauk, and Sam A. Baker. You can find out more about ExplorUs at www.goexplorus.com 

Cabins are available for rent from April 1 through Oct. 31, 2022. More information can be found at https://lakewappapellomo.com/ or by calling 888-543-2490.

Lake Wappapello State Park is located at 8005 State Highway 172 in Williamsville, Missouri. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Contact:
Loretta Bittle, 573-526-0978
[email protected]

Illinois Beach Hotel Ready for Reservations

Zion, IL – Reservations are now being accepted at the Illinois Beach Hotel in Zion, IL.
The property which features 92 hotel rooms and a restaurant will be open to the public this summer after an almost year long hiatus. Guestroom reservations will be available for arrival on or after Friday July 1, 2022, just in time for the holiday weekend.

Under new management, the property is receiving an interior renovation, including all new lobby and guestroom furnishings. The rooms will have a beachy feel and feature comfy Serta mattresses, as well as amenities such as new LCD TVs, coffee makers, and hairdryers.

King and queen/queen guestrooms are available for rent, as well as two room suites that have a living room with microwaves, refrigerators, and a game table.

The hotel will have a soft opening starting July 1st and will begin taking reservations for limited hotel rooms on Monday, June 27th. For reservations, please visit our website at illinoisbeachhotel.com.

Nolan’s Restaurant will be open to the public and will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “We are thrilled about the opportunity to reopen the Illinois Beach Hotel and its new restaurant Nolan’s,” said Jason Smith, General Manager. “Our desire is to support and enhance the community by bringing back events such as Sunday and Holiday Brunches, as well as offering a few new and interesting dining and entertainment concepts. We want folks to know our hospitality extends beyond just our out-of-town guests, and that we are grateful to be able to serve the local community as a whole”.

Dinner reservations for July 1 and beyond can be made starting June 27th by calling 224-259-2600. For the first few weeks Nolan’s will serve from a limited menu and reservations are required. A reservationist will be available from 9a.m. – 6p.m. daily.

The Illinois Beach Hotel as well as Starved Rock Lodge and White Pines Lodge are all proud properties of ExplorUS (previously Ortega National Parks). ExplorUS is a hospitality management company with over 50 properties across the United States. If you are interested in working for the Illinois Beach Hotel or another property within the ExplorUS family, please go to: goExplorUs.com

Like the Illinois Beach Hotel on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Illinois-Beach-Hotel

About the Illinois Beach Hotel
Located in the Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park, the Hotel sits on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, the only remaining beach ridge shoreline left in the state. The Hotel features 92 guestrooms and suites, a restaurant and outdoor dining. Additionally, the park features a new convenience store/camp store with full food concessions and a gift store which is operated by the Illinois Beach Hotel and which will open later this summer.

For more information on Illinois State Parks and historic sites, visit www2.illinois.gov/dnr/parks.

Contact: Amy Trimble, VP Marketing
[email protected]
815-238-8672

Ortega National Parks will operate concessions at Sam A. Baker State Park beginning this spring

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, DEC. 29, 2021 – Ortega National Parks, a hospitality management company operating in parks across the country, will manage lodging, food service, retail and watercraft rental operations in Sam A. Baker State Park for Missouri State Parks beginning this spring.

Covering more than 5,000 acres in the southeastern Missouri Ozarks region, Sam A. Baker State Park features an unspoiled natural landscape and the cool waters of the St. Francis River and Big Creek, offering something for everyone to enjoy. Each year, the park welcomes more than 600,000 visitors, many of them anglers, kayakers and canoeists. The park also contains 34 miles of hiking, backpacking, bicycling and equestrian trails.

“Visiting Sam A. Baker State Park, and particularly renting cabins there, is a time-honored family tradition for many,” said Frank Pikus, chief executive officer of Ortega National Parks. “We plan to deliver a quality hospitality experience for those who have been frequenting the park for generations as well as guests visiting for the first time.”

“We are looking forward to expanding our partnership with Ortega National Parks at Sam A. Baker State Park,” said David Kelly, director of the Division of Missouri State Parks. “Their services will offer a variety of amenities at the park and provide visitors with a state park experience filled with great memories.”

Ortega National Parks will operate the rental of cabins, including the newly converted family cabin, the Mudlick Mountain Grill, the Mudlick Mountain Store and watercraft rentals in the park.

“We are thrilled to partner with State Parks at a third Missouri State Park. Sam A. Baker is a hidden gem, and our team is working hard to ensure that our operations there will enhance visitors’ experience,” said Pikus. A new online reservations system, updating the interior of the historic cabins, providing more boat rentals, and adding bike rentals and golf carts are among the many improvements Pikus says guests can expect in the coming season.

Pikus also thanked Mike and Jody Fleming, the current concessioners who are retiring, for their many years of service to the park. “They have been fantastic to work with to create a seamless transition for the 2022 season,” said Pikus.

Ortega National Parks is dedicated to preserving and protecting the unique environments and precious resources of the sites where it operates, allowing guests and future generations to experience the beauty, serenity, and splendor of local, state, and national parks. It provides concession services at 19 locations nationwide including two other Missouri State Parks, Lake of the Ozarks and Montauk. You can find out more about Ortega National Parks at ortegaparks.com.For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Ortega National Parks will operate Lake of the Ozarks State Park Marina beginning this spring

Ortega National Parks, a hospitality and retail company operating in parks across the country, will manage marina and retail operations in Lake of the Ozarks State Park for Missouri State Parks.

The park, located near Kaiser, offers more than 80 miles of lake frontage for water enthusiasts to enjoy, and more than 17,000 explorable acres and 12 trails for those who prefer to stay ashore. Visitors can even explore the world underground by touring the Ozark Caverns.

“Lake of the Ozarks State Park is a wildly popular park in Missouri,” said Frank Pikus, chief executive officer of Ortega National Parks. “We have enjoyed working as partners with the Parks department and look forward to continued growth of this relationship with the addition of the park’s marina to our portfolio.”

“We are really looking forward to our partnership with Ortega National Parks,” said Mike Sutherland, director of Missouri State Parks. “I know they will provide great service and great opportunities for an amazing Lake of the Ozarks State Park experience for our visitors.”

Ortega National Parks will operate the two marinas (Grand Glaize Beach Marina and Public Beach #1 Marina) and campground store within Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Along with watercraft and slip rentals, each marina has a general store where visitors can find boating and fishing supplies, as well as clothing and snacks, including hand-dipped ice cream. 

“Guests who have visited the marina and campground stores in the past should expect a pleasant surprise,” said Pikus. “Our on-site staff have been working diligently to improve the flow, aesthetic and product mix at all three stores. We are utilizing new technology to make the rental of watercrafts a more efficient process and taking extra steps to enhance the safety of our boat renters. Ultimately, we want to ensure that guests have everything they need for a safe and memorable trip to Lake of the Ozarks State Park.”

Ortega National Parks is dedicated to preserving and protecting the unique environments and precious resources where they operate, allowing guests and future generations to experience the beauty, serenity and splendor of local, state and national parks. They operate at 17 locations nationwide. You can find out more about Ortega National Parks at ortegaparks.com or information specific to the Lake of the Ozarks Marina concession at lotospmarina.com.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

#goExplorUS