A seven-year project to spruce up the Jenny Lake area in Grand Teton National Park is complete.
The initiative started in 2012 and took more than 100,000 hours of labor of rehabilitation and rebuilding. With a snip of the ribbon Wednesday, national park officials and the Grand Teton National Park Foundation celebrated the refurbished Jenny Lake area, the park’s most popular destination.
Leslie A. Mattson, president of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation noted a long list of changes from exhibits, to kiosks, to the walkways under your feet.
“Everything is going to be different,” Mattson said. “The central area where the visitors center is and the store there has all been redone. There are interpretive exhibits outside. There’s a bronze relief map of the mountain range, there’s interpretive elements that talk about the history of climbing the Grand Teton. The visitors center has been updated and redone inside, it’s absolutely beautiful.”
She said there also are some interpretive elements and access to the lake shoreline from the visitors center is also disabled accessible.
Also, heavy revamping was done to eroded trails around the lake and rerouting and refurbishing trails from the boat dock on the west side of the lake to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.
“There was an area on the hike to Hidden Falls where four points of the trail were all intersecting and it was very confusing,” Mattson said. “In fact the rangers called it “confusion junction” because kids would get lost there. They might be ahead of their parents and the parents didn’t know which way they went. That’s been eliminated.”
The park said in a news release that work completed 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. Mattson said an old bridge has been replaced with an “absolutely beautiful” new bridge.
“Jenny Lake’s trails, bridges, key destinations, and visitor complex have transformed into a portal for discovery and now allow people with a wider range of abilities to connect with the park in meaningful, memorable ways,” the park said in a news release.
Park trail crews specifically worked to improve drainage of rainwater and snowmelt on Jenny Lake trails to fix erosion. Some trails suffered from rocks and tree roots being exposed by years of use and erosion.
One of the trail sections that benefited from the revamp was the route to Inspiration Point.
“That is a lot of intense rock work by the trail crew here,” Mattson said. “It’s been made safer and easier for people to access that. It’s still a wilderness experience — it is a backcountry — but it’s much easier and safer than it was.”
“The transformation that has taken shape at Jenny Lake … would not have been possible without the incredible public-private partnership between the foundation and the park,” Mattson said. “We cannot wait for visitors to experience the renewed Jenny Lake area.”
The foundation raised $14.5 million and the National Park Service contributed more than $6 million to make the transformation a reality.