Six Flags, Inc., which runs 20 theme parks in the U.S., said Saturday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a bid re-emerge with $1.8 billion less debt, adding that day-to-day operations of its parks would not be affected.

“The current management team inherited a $2.4 billion debt load that cannot be sustained, particularly in these challenging financial markets,” Mark Shapiro, President and CEO of Six Flags said in a released statement.

He told employees in a letter posted to the company’s website that the restructuring process was strictly a “back of the house” effort to address the company’s financial stability.

The company has $400 million in debt coming due in the next year which cannot be refinanced in the current markets, Shapiro said.

“As a result, we are cleaning up the past and positioning the Company for future growth.”

The company’s plan also includes the elimination of more than $300 million in mandatorily redeemable preferred stock obligations, according to a statement released today.

He said the company has support of lenders and bond holders through lock-up agreements.