Friday, August 26, 2016

Grand Teton National Park Foundation Completes $14 Million Jenny Lake Campaign in Celebration of NPS Centennial

Grand Teton National Park Foundation has not only completed but exceeded its $14 million Inspiring Journeys fundraising campaign to renew Grand Teton’s most iconic destination in honor of the National Park Service centennial. This $18 million public-private effort is transforming backcountry trails and frontcountry visitor facilities at Jenny Lake to ensure this incredible resource inspires visitors for the next 100 years in Grand Teton. The National Park Service contributed $4 million to the project.

Construction is underway at Jenny Lake and this NPS centennial summer marks the third year of construction. Backcountry trails leading to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point were heavily eroded and worn by the millions of hikers visiting the park’s famous destinations. The trails had become unsafe for visitors and unsustainable for the park to maintain. Grand Teton crews are improving more than five miles of trail as part of this project of which 3.5 miles have been reconstructed to date. Crews are using long-lasting methods and materials such as dry-stone masonry techniques to honor the timeless craftsmanship of the Civilian Conservation Corps who built the original path in the 1930s.

Work in the frontcountry began this past spring. After decades of use by visitors, the area at South Jenny Lake was full of social trails and generally caused confusion for visitors. Crews are working to create an intuitive trail system, sustainable lake overlooks, and engaging interpretive areas that will give a wide range of visitors the opportunity to truly enjoy Jenny Lake and expand their understanding of the area. Construction is projected to be complete by summer 2018.

This season alone, crews have moved over 900,000 pounds of material to build over 207 stone steps, 20 stone drains, 338 linear feet of single-tier wall, 704 square feet of multi-tier wall, and 550 cubic feet of causeway. An average of 25 workers per day have been completing dry-stone masonry work, each responsible for moving 36,000 pounds or 18 tons of rock since the beginning of the summer season. Here's what one section of trail looked like before the rehabilitation project began:

And here's what that same section of trail looks like now:

“We have been touched by the many people who care deeply about Grand Teton and want to be part of this project,” Grand Teton National Park Foundation’s President Leslie Mattson said. “Helping park staff eradicate challenges they’ve faced with trails and other facilities at Jenny Lake will give Grand Teton a fresh start to the National Park Service’s second century and visitors an incredible experience they will never forget.”

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the margin of excellence they provide,” said Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela. “The Jenny Lake Renewal effort is transforming the visitor experience at Jenny Lake, and my sincerest thanks goes to the Foundation staff, board, and everyone involved in making this happen.”

To learn more about how this centennial project is benefitting Grand Teton National Park, please click here.


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