VISITOR EXPERIENCE INITIATIVE
The Foundation aims to enhance experiences for the park’s visitors by funding programs that increase safety, improve access, and create opportunities so people enjoy their time spent in Grand Teton National Park. As millions of people continue to explore this incredible place every year, federal budgets have not kept pace and the park often struggles to keep up. It is now more important than ever to provide additional support to renew heavily used areas and increase safety for Grand Teton’s visitors.
Grand Teton transforms during winter into a tranquil, sparkling wonderland.
The Foundation funds regular grooming of the 14-mile stretch between Bradley-Taggart trailhead and Signal Mountain on the Teton Park Road. Regular grooming allows visitors to easily explore on Nordic skis, snowshoes, or foot to experience this special season in Grand Teton National Park.
Teton Crest Trail
The Teton Crest Trail is a forty-five-mile-long backcountry route that passes through the high country of Grand Teton National Park. It is one of the most scenic, picturesque sections of trail within the National Park Service.
The Foundation is currently seeking support to fund improvements along this iconic footpath in two particular places—Hurricane Pass and Paintbrush Divide. The sections at Hurricane Pass and Paintbrush Divide were originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in approximately 1934, and they have persisted largely untouched since. Decades of use along the trail, coupled with natural erosion processes at high elevation, have led to deteriorating trail conditions that necessitate repair and improvement. Work is slated to begin on Hurricane Pass in summer 2020 and continue at Paintbrush Divide in 2021.
People from across the globe are drawn to Grand Teton for its beauty and year-round recreational opportunities. Visitor enjoyment and safety go hand-in-hand, however, accidents happen. A new focus for the Foundation is to ensure Grand Teton’s rangers are well-equipped and adequately trained so that people in need of assistance are met with the best possible response.
The Foundation’s Teton Ranger program, which includes the elite team of Jenny Lake Climbing Rangers, is dedicated to advancing operations as well as volunteer programs that promote visitor protection efforts. Park rangers provide a wide-range of support to people in need. From stranded backcountry skiers in technical alpine terrain to lost hikers with sprained ankles, to assisting with vehicle accidents or searching for a missing person—this highly skilled group is always the first to respond. Grand Teton depends on them to help in situations when no one else can.
Interagency Avalanche Forecasting
The popularity of backcountry skiing and riding continues to increase in the Tetons—there are more and more users venturing into technical avalanche terrain each year.
In fall of 2018, the Foundation purchased two weather stations (wind and snow) that were placed in the Surprise Lake area of Grand Teton National Park. Data from these sensors supports the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center’s daily forecast and provides skiers and riders with more information before entering the park’s backcountry.
The Foundation also supports a meteorological technician who assesses the snowpack and makes professional-level observations throughout Grand Teton National Park. The technician collaborates with Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center to create the daily forecast and write weekly snowpack summaries for the park.
Be sure to visit http://jhavalanche.org/ for the most up-to-date information regarding avalanche conditions in the Teton Range.