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Grand Teton National Park seeks public input about what visitors want moving forward

A field of yellow arrowleaf balsamroot flowers in the foreground, with cars and the Teton mountains in the background.
Hannah Habermann
/
Wyoming Public Media
A field of arrowleaf balsamroot flowers at Blacktail Butte in Grand Teton National Park.

This story is part of our Quick Hits series. This series will bring you breaking news and short updates from throughout the state.

Grand Teton National Park is looking for input about the park’s future. They want visitors to weigh in on what the area might look like and feel like, and what kinds of experiences visitors want and expect in the next 20 years.

The iconic park has seen more and more visitors over the last 20 years, with visitation topping out at nearly four million in 2021. According to studies conducted by the agency, the ways in which people are using the park are also changing. More visitors are using the area’s trails and spending time along its many lakeshores compared to a decade ago, resulting in “higher encounter rates between visitors and increased perceptions of crowding,” according to the park.

The park also cites questions of travel patterns and impacts on natural resources as two other main issues guiding how park managers are thinking about visitors’ experiences in the space.

To better understand what visitors want moving forward, the park is seeking public comment through August 12. Feedback can be submitted online through the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment website.

The park will also host an in-person meeting on July 16 at the Teton County Library in Jackson from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. MST to answer questions and help people learn about the public engagement process. In addition, there will be a virtual meeting on July 23 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. MST. The same material will be presented at each meeting.

Hannah Habermann is the rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has a degree in Environmental Studies and Non-Fiction Writing from Middlebury College and was the co-creator of the podcast Yonder Lies: Unpacking the Myths of Jackson Hole. Hannah also received the Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing & Journalism Fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council in 2021 and has taught backpacking and climbing courses throughout the West.