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Natural Resources & Energy

Most Popular Destination In Grand Teton National Park Gets A Makeover

Kamila Kudelska

Restoration of the Jenny Lake recreation area in Grand Teton National Park is officially complete. The project updated trails, built new bridges and added interpretive signs.

The project addressed about $6.8 million in deferred maintenance to the most popular destination in Grand Teton National Park.

Leslie Mattson is the president of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, the non-profit that helped raise money and complete the project.

She said the park's trails, bridges and key destination points were in bad shape and confusing.

"There was impact to natural resources and there's damage to habitat because if there was a root system exposed it was slippery and people would walk around it, so it's greater impact to the trails," said Mattson. "It just wasn't particularly safe."

She said there were two main points they wanted to address.

"What the rangers told us was that the first two questions that were asked when they arrived at Jenny Lake was, 'where's the lake and where's the bathroom,' so we figured we could do better than that," said Mattson.

The renewal project built new bathrooms and improved access to popular destinations by building new stone steps and leveling trails. Mattson said now people should be able to arrive at the visitor center and actually know where the lake is.

Mattson hopes the new park infrastructure will reduce the impact visitors have on the natural resources. She said interpretation tools like bronze 3D relief maps of the Teton Range and explanations of animals and natural resources help visitors better understand their surroundings. The hope is this update will last for at least 50 years.

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