Grand Teton National Park Foundation Celebrates 20th Anniversary!

We are celebrating twenty years of successful partnership with Grand Teton National Park in 2017. Since 1997, the Foundation has raised more than $65 million in support of projects and programming that vastly improve visitor services, preserve park resources, and provide outreach to a wide variety of audiences.

In 1997, Jack Neckels, Grand Teton National Park’s superintendent at the time, approached Jerry Halpin, the owner of Lost Creek Ranch, with the idea of forming a nonprofit that would raise funds to build a new park visitor center. Grand Teton National Park Foundation took shape under the leadership of Halpin as board chair and a group of founding board members that included the late Clay James and his wife Shay, Rob Wallace, Ed and Lee Riddell, Brad and Kate Mead, and Bob and Nancy Jaycox.

The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center welcomes, orients, and educates visitors when they arrive in Grand Teton National Park.

Leslie Mattson joined the team in 2004 as the president and led the effort to raise $25 million (which included an $8 million congressional appropriation) for the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, which opened its first phase in August 2007 and the subsequent auditorium addition in 2011. The completion of this facility not only laid the groundwork for the partnership that exists between the organization and Grand Teton today, it also created a sizeable and growing network of supporters. From annual initiatives supporting youth engagement and wildlife research, to the multiyear transformation that is underway at Jenny Lake and the recent protection of 640 acres of critical habitat on Antelope Flats, this partnership has had a tremendous and long-lasting impact on Grand Teton and the nearly five million annual visitors.

Protecting this 640-acre on Antelope Flats from any chance of development was one of the Foundation’s most significant achievements in the last twenty years.

The Foundation has devoted two decades to partnering with individuals and organizations to fund projects in Grand Teton National Park. These gifts solve challenges, provide meaningful experiences, and assure this world-class landscape continues to be one of the most fascinating outdoor destinations in America. Thanks to all of our supporters and partners who have helped us reach this milestone!

Visit to learn more about our achievements from the past two decades.

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