Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott and Grand Teton National Park Foundation President Leslie Mattson to publicly launch the Inspiring Journeys Campaign -- a $16 million dollar public-private partnership to renovate the Jenny Lake area in advance of the National Park Service's Centennial in 2016.
"Through the power of this partnership, we will help improve the visitor experience for the nearly two million people who use the visitor center and trails in the Jenny Lake area each year," said Secretary Jewell. "Renovating trails and protecting habitat in the heart of Grand Teton National Park is a fitting symbol of the projects needed nationwide to prepare our parks for the National Park Service's upcoming Centennial in 2016 -- and the next 100 years after that."
The Inspiring Journeys Campaign seeks to secure $16 million, with Grand Teton National Park Foundation raising $13 million in private contributions and the National Park Service (NPS) providing $3 million from cyclic maintenance funding. NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis has signed a formal partnership agreement to allow the foundation to raise the funds for the park. Secretary Jewell announced that $5 million in private funding has already been raised.
Grand Teton National Park welcomed 2.7 million visitors in 2012. Visitors contributed $436 million to the local economy, supporting nearly 6,400 jobs.
"We have a tremendous opportunity to connect millions of visitors to Jenny Lake, one of the National Park Service's centerpieces," said Leslie Mattson, President of Grand Teton National Park Foundation. "Through showing the transformation private philanthropy will bring to Grand Teton, our centennial campaign will inspire others to be bold and share their vision for wilderness protection and education in national parks throughout the country."
One of the most popular destinations for visitors to Grand Teton National Park, the Jenny Lake area sits at the base of the Teton Range. Its trails offer visitors hikes to easily accessible, yet unforgettably beautiful backcountry destinations such as Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point and Cascade Canyon.
"National parks provide incredible outdoor recreational opportunities and educational experiences, but they are also critical economic engines for gateway communities in Wyoming and across the country," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "The renovations being made at Grand Teton National Park are smart investments that will pay dividends as we continue to attract millions of visitors to Wyoming's breathtaking public lands each year."
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s, many of the trails in the Jenny Lake area have been compromised by poor drainage, erosion, and heavy use. Inspiring Journeys will fund significant work on Jenny Lake's network of backcountry trails to enhance hiking options and reverse years of accumulated trail damage, providing a safer and more inspiring experience for hikers of all abilities.
"The park simply could not complete a renovation and improvement project of this magnitude without the generous support of the community and the strong partnership we have forged with Grand Teton National Park Foundation and our other partners," said Superintendent Gibson Scott. "In the spirit of the CCC, we are excited to seek opportunities to engage and employ youth on this project to help create the next generation of conservation leaders."
The partnership will revitalize aging routes, introduce a series of looped paths, and create a trail system that is easy to maintain, yet retains the historic feel that has long characterized the Jenny Lake region. An improved west boat dock will provide additional gathering and queuing space for visitors. Improvements at Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point will give these key destinations predictable surfaces for walking, defined space for viewing, and natural seating areas for resting and soaking in the views.
In addition to critical trail rehabilitation, revitalization of welcoming facilities and resource restoration work, a comprehensive interpretation, education, and orientation plaza will be created. The interpretive plaza -- a destination in itself that will be similar in scale and character to the current visitor complex -- will offer exhibits, topographic relief models, and interactive features to engage and educate.