Backcountry Food Service Standards

Backcountry Food Services Minimum Operating Standards


Description - This category of foodservice includes food services provided with activities such as back country river running, horseback rides and outfitter and guide services.


A. Exterior

  1. Grounds - Grounds are monitored after each meal, and prior to leaving a site to ensure that no garbage or debris is left in the vicinity.
  2. Garbage and Trash/Recycling - All trash is maintained to not attract wildlife or other vermin while in the backcountry. All trash is collected after each meal service, contained within a wildlife-proof container and transported off-site, and properly disposed.
  3. Public Restroom - Hand wash stations, which include soap and potable or treated water as required, are provided near toilets and any on-site prepared meal service. If the environment does not allow for hand-wash stations, the concessioner provides hand sanitizer.
  4. Menu Board - Any posted menus are legible and accurate.
  5. Meal Site Areas - Meal sites are left clean and only existing fire rings are used in meal preparation areas. No structures are built, including rock walls, trenches, or new fire rings. Only approved wood is used for cooking.
  6. Noise - No radio or similar devices for entertainment purposes are transported to the site. Noise levels are kept at a minimum so as not to impair the experience of others or impact wildlife.

B. Food and Food Preparation Areas

  1. Hand Washing - Staff hand washing facilities are equipped and maintained in proximity to the food preparation area and equipped with soap and potable or adequately treated water. The use of disposable towels is preferred. If the environment does not allow for a hand washing station, the concessioner provides hand sanitizer.
  2. Cleanliness - Food preparation areas are kept clean and orderly. A program for routine cleaning of equipment following each meal service, and deep cleaning at the end of a trip is established to ensure overall food preparation area cleanliness, including areas underneath counters, grills, stoves and other temporary kitchen equipment.
  3. Gray Water Collection and Disposal - All gray water is collected and disposed according to approved methods, park requirements, or in compliance with the recommendations of "Leave No Trace" practices.
  4. Food Storage - Foods are properly stored at adequate temperatures, and in a manner that prevents animal or other wildlife access. Whenever possible and for all multi-day trips, raw potentially hazardous foods are stored in a separate cooler. When this is not possible, or for single cooler trips, raw potentially hazardous foods are stored at the bottom of a cooler in durable leak proof containers. Double bagging is not adequate when storing raw potentially hazardous foods in the same cooler as ready to eat foods. Dry foods are stored in sealed containers to protect them from moisture and rodents.
  5. Cleaning Supplies and Equipment - Cleaning supplies and other equipment are properly marked and safely stored. Cleaning supplies (e.g. dish soap) and other chemicals are stored separately from food or food supplies.
  6. Cooking/Refrigeration Equipment - All equipment used to serve, cook, or store food is clean and well-maintained. All applicable FDA Food Code standards are met.
  7. Ware Washing Sinks - If food is prepared, a minimum three compartment ware washing system (e.g. plastic bins) is present and used.
  8. First Aid Kit - An approved first-aid kit is readily accessible to employees and guests.
  9. Food Preparation and Self-Service Counters - Food preparation surfaces are in good repair without cracks and holes and easily cleanable. If possible, a tarp is laid down on the ground before setting up the kitchen to aid in later cleanup activities. Potentially hazardous food are not prepared in advance in the backcountry and then cooled down for later service. All potentially hazardous foods cooked on site are consumed or discarded within four hours of preparation. When possible, wood surfaces are cleaned after each use with a sanitizing solution to prevent the buildup of bacteria.
  10. Tableware/Drink ware – Dishes, other tableware, and drinking cups are reusable/recyclable/compostable/bio-degradable in nature. No Styrofoam is allowed.
  11. Fire Extinguishers/Fire Prevention - Accessible fire extinguishers suitable for use on anticipated types of fires are used in those areas with exposed-flame cooking equipment. Extinguishers are visibly displayed, appropriately signed with proper, up-to-date visible inspection certificates or tags. Special care is taken to ensure proper fire prevention including, but not limited to, the removal of flammable materials from open flame, cleaning and removal of excess grease, and the control and containment of exposed flame.
  12. General Storage - Storage containers are in good condition, clean, and provide for the orderly storage of food and preparation equipment.


A. Service

  1. Hours of Operation - All meal services and snacks are served on the advertised schedule and that promotes guest comfort and safety.
  2. Customer Service/Customer Meal Service Orientation - Guests are oriented to the food service area, and how meals are served, where to find plates and utensils, and how to prevent undesired animal interaction.
  3. Table Services - Food preparation and eating areas are promptly cleared and inspected at the end of each meal to minimize attracting wildlife.

B. Food and Beverages

  1. Presentation - Meals are appetizing in appearance, free of discoloration, and served on adequately sized plates or bowls.
  2. Temperature - Food and beverages are served at appropriate temperatures. The evaluator uses reasonable judgment in determining this requirement.
  3. Menu Item Availability - All food and beverage items approved and advertised are available. Any substitutions are of the same type as the menu item substituted. Food is available in adequate quantities for the number of clients. Menus include items for diet and health-conscious customers.
  4. Condiments - Appropriate condiments are provided. Condiments are provided either in portion control packets, or in bulk or manufacturer's dispensers in accordance with local public health requirements. Bulk or manufacturer's dispensers, if used, are properly stored, clean, and covered at all times. Any dispensing utensils used are cleaned after every meal service or upon contamination.
  5. Core Menu - All backcountry trips provide some core menu items.
  6. Liquor Laws - If alcohol is served, all applicable Federal, state, and local laws concerning liquor sales and service are observed. Guests are informed of policies regarding taking alcohol out of a food service area. The concessioner discreetly verifies the age of any guest who appears to be fewer than 10 years older than the legally established drinking age.

C. Personnel

  1. Staffing Levels - All food and beverage services are properly staffed to prevent undue delays in service. In determining what constitutes undue delay, the consideration is given to the kinds and types of services rendered and which situations or conditions are beyond the concessioner’s control (e.g. unanticipated influxes of guests, facility or equipment breakdowns, or sudden weather changes). The reasonableness of the delay, based on the above is the determining factor.
  2. Employee Attitude - Each employee projects a friendly, hospitable, helpful, positive attitude and is capable and willing to answer guests' questions (about both job and general park information). To the extent possible given meal service conditions, employees are as proactive as possible in solving guest's issues, ensuring guest satisfaction, and anticipation of guest's needs.
  3. Employee Appearance - Each employee wears a company shirt or name tag identifying them as a concession employee. The uniform is required on the first day of the trip. Employees present a neat, clean, and otherwise attractive professional appearance.
  4. Employee Training Programs - An active training program for the development of the necessary skills and techniques is provided for all employees. These sessions stress work performance and also include technical training for specific equipment, food handling, and safety, alcoholic beverages, fire and life safety (use of fire extinguishers, CPR and Heimlich Maneuver), product and service presentation, cleanliness, employee attitudes, and NPS philosophy and policy. Performance is indicative of good training.

D. Rates

  1. Approved Rates - All rates charged do not exceed those approved by the Superintendent. These rates are verified against the specific approved service, quality, price or other such criteria.

Last updated: October 4, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


(907) 697-2230

Contact Us