The National Park Service centennial year has just begun and what a year it is shaping up to be for the Jenny Lake area and the transformation that is underway. This popular spot has long been one of America’s most beloved destinations. Soon it will also be known for its visitor-friendly trail system and sustainable construction that will allow Grand Teton to allocate fewer dollars and less manpower to keeping trails and the interpretive plaza in good condition for millions of visitors who will explore this area. Inspiring Journeys, our campaign that is funding the effort, is a $17 million public-private partnership between Grand Teton National Park and the Foundation.
Spring will mark the start of the third of four construction seasons. Backcountry trail work will continue and improvements to the visitor plaza will begin as well—the first time construction will appear at major gathering areas in the frontcountry. Visitor cooperation and patience will be greatly appreciated during this time.
We are happy to share some photos with you from the 2015 construction season. Grand Teton crews made incredible progress on the trail between Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, which will open to visitors in summer 2016. Enjoy!
Before and After Photos from 2015 Construction
Before/after: Typical of most of the Inspiration Point trail, the section shown above (left) had deteriorated to the point that it was rugged and challenging for many visitors. The reconstructed conditions (right) will be long lasting and much more easily navigated by hikers with a broader range of abilities.
Before/after: Delineating the main trail, providing durable viewing and gathering areas, and generally clarifying where hikers should and should not go are all techniques that were incorporated at “Exclamation Point,” the first major vista point encountered while climbing up the trail.
Before/after: The eroded trail (left) required high stepping skills and contained trip hazards and uneven surfaces. The reconstructed trail (right) required a stable stone fill, new stone steps, and treads in order to maintain the trail in its original alignment and to decrease the gradient.
Before/during/during construction: Decades of heavy use on an unsustainable trail resulted in an eroded gully (left) four feet deep in places. Large amounts of stable fill material were required to reconstruct the trail. This challenging section of trail is designed to carry water for more than 50 feet before channeling flow away from the trail via a large stone drain.
Before/after: Crews utilize dry-stone masonry techniques to build walls, steps, and drainage structures for safe and efficient hiking.