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 our first edition, Jim and Jeanette O’Mara from Jackson, Mississippi share details about their connection to Grand Teton and why supporting this special place is so important.
Jim and Jeanette O’Mara, longtime park visitors from Jackson, Mississippi, are proud supporters of the Inspiring Journeys campaign that is revitalizing Grand Teton’s most popular destination. “The main reason we contribute is because we want it to still be around for our children and their children,” Jeanette said. “There just aren’t many gorgeous places left in this world. Jenny Lake will live on long after we do.”
The couple’s decades-long connection to the area began with a family vacation in the eighties to experience the true west. They found adventure—riding horses through the Tetons, braving a summer snow storm, and witnessing a moose give birth—and felt the undeniable magic of Grand Teton National Park throughout the week. “The entire experience of that first week out here was life-changing for us because it just hooked us on this area—we just fell in love with it,” Jim says.
The O’Maras returned a few years later and were reminded of the incredible beauty of the mountains that had captured them during their initial trip to Jackson. “We spent our honeymoon in the Smokie Mountains, but when we got here we realized the Smokies aren’t mountains—they’re just hills!” Jim said this visit sealed the deal for them and they now spend nine weeks here every year.
Not only did Jim and Jeanette fall in love with the area, their children did too. Fast forward to the deck of Lost Creek Ranch where their daughter was married in the mid-90s, the defining event that placed this small corner of Wyoming in their hearts forever. This occasion became one of the family’s fondest memories in Grand Teton.
Throughout their years spent in Jackson Hole, the O’Maras have explored Grand Teton extensively. Jenny Lake quickly became their favorite place to visit in the park. They’ve shared Jenny Lake with their children, grandchildren, and friends, and love walking the shores or hiking to Inspiration Point. “Jenny Lake accommodates all ages. When we first came to Jenny Lake, it was just me and Jeanette,” Jim said. “When we brought our children, Jenny Lake was the first place they wanted to go. Now our grandchildren visit and they always want to go to Jenny Lake.”