MOOSE, WY – Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) and Grand Teton National Park Foundation (GTNPF) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday to celebrate a multi-year, multi-million-dollar public-private partnership to renew the park’s most popular destination—Jenny Lake.

David Vela. Photo: Buckrail // Sarah Averill

The ceremony featured speeches from Lain Thom (of the Shoshone Tribe and GTNP Ranger), David Vela (Acting Deputy Director of Operations, National Park Service), Leslie Mattson (Executive Director, GTNPF), and Terry Tempest Williams (Author/Conservationist) who brought the crowd to tears with her words: “Our national parks are breathing spaces at a time when we are increasingly holding our breath.”

“We know this renewal project will allow the next generation to make memories,” said Leslie Mattson, Executive Director, GTNPF

Over the years, the area had become greatly deteriorated as millions of visitors sought the famous views that define Jenny Lake. The cumulative damage threatened fragile habitat and prevented people with limited abilities from exploring all the area has to offer. NPS crews dramatically improved access to iconic destinations such as Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls by building new stone steps, smoothing and leveling trails, and ensuring better drainage for rainwater and snowmelt. Work completed also reduces congestion and ambiguity by creating suggested directional trails, larger boat docks, increased restroom facilities, and designated areas to rest and take in the stunning views.

Most of all, hands-on interpretive elements like bronze 3-D relief maps, new signage, mountain viewing scopes, and a mobile application in its final stages of development blend both traditional and modern platforms to enrich the Jenny Lake experience for visitors of all ages and abilities.

Leslie Mattson – Photo: Buckrail // Sarah Averill

“The transformation that has taken shape at Jenny Lake is truly amazing and would not have been possible without the incredible public-private partnership between the Foundation and the park,” Grand Teton National Park Foundation President Leslie Mattson said. “We cannot wait for visitors to experience the renewed Jenny Lake area.”

Grand Teton National Park Foundation launched the Inspiring Journeys Campaign for Jenny Lake in 2012 and completed the fundraising effort on August 25, 2016—the National Park Service’s 100th birthday. The Foundation raised $14.5 million and the National Park Service contributed more than $6 million to make the ambitious vision a reality. To learn more about the project, click here.


David Vela with a YCP participant encouraging her to “stick with it.” YCP is a teen trail crew funded by GTNPF that helped NPS trail crews with the Jenny Lake Project. Photo: Buckrail // Sarah Averill.