My Park, My Story: Jan Davis

My Park, My Story tells the stories of people who are passionate about Grand Teton National Park and are committed to protecting it for the enjoyment of future generations. In this edition, Foundation Resource Council Member Jan Davis shares what makes Grand Teton so special to her and her family.

Jan with her family in Grand Teton National Park.
Jan with her family in Grand Teton National Park.

"What I love about going to the park is that you never know what adventure you are about to embark on, what you will see. It is the longevity and footsteps of those who came before, and why we have to preserve this place for the future.”

Jan Davis first visited Grand Teton National Park in 1980 after her freshman year of college. Her roommate had gotten a job in Yellowstone for the summer as a waitress, and Jan travelled from New York City to experience the national parks first-hand with her friend. The pair enjoyed fabulous hikes, Teton views, and meeting people from all over the world in the national parks.

“It certainly was an adventure. I was born and raised in New York City. So travelling around Yellowstone and Grand Teton was quite the experience. It is something I will never forget.”

Of the many places Jan saw during that first trip out West, the Tetons captured her imagination and she knew she would come back. She returned in the late 80s when her parents got a place in Jackson and she has been coming to the area regularly since then.

“My kids have been lucky enough to grow up visiting the park almost every summer. We would take big hikes and do math problems along the trails to distract them. Now as young adults, I can say I’ve successfully passed on my love for this place to them.”

In addition to spending time with family, Jan enjoys sharing the Tetons with friends from across the globe. Last summer when she had visitors from Miami and Panama in town, Jan planned a simple day of visiting the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and hiking to Phelps Lake.

“When we arrived, we were redirected because there were two black bear cubs in the vicinity. Next thing we knew we were watching the bear cubs climb a tree just outside the visitor center window!”

A passion for the Tetons seems to run in the family. Jan has photos of her and her mom in the park 24 years ago. Her mom is now 85. Whether it is hiking, boating, or wildlife watching, Jan and her family love Grand Teton—especially Jenny Lake. The Foundation’s effort to restore the popular site spoke to Jan and her family, which is why she got involved and is a member of our resource council.

“It is a place for everyone. What I love about Grand Teton is hiking the trails and seeing all sorts of people out there. It is about stripping away the business of life, taking those walks, and just being with your family and having time to connect.”

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