From Staff Reports
One of the busiest and most heavily used areas in Grand Teton National Park will be revitalized and overhauled under a long-term plan to improve trails and facilities that have suffered under high visitor traffic.
Grand Teton Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced Friday that the park is seeking public input for an improvement plan for the Jenny Lake area, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.
Jenny Lake is one of the most popular day-use areas of the park. Situated at the base of the Teton Range, the historic Jenny Lake area provides visitor information and services as well as access to several trails. These trails offer opportunities for hiking along the valley floor and more strenuous treks into the park’s backcountry.
Over 1.5 million visitors annually use the Jenny Lake trails and associated facilities. Due to this intensive visitor use over many decades, the area has deteriorated over time. Some of the trails were created in the 1930s, and now suffer from erosion and steep pitches. Other trail areas have trampled vegetation or bare ground due to over-crowding, including at viewing areas.
There is also poor route-finding and limited interpretation of the rich natural and cultural history on some Jenny Lake trails, park officials said.
Four areas will be considered in the planning process. These include: South Jenny Lake, Hidden Falls, the String Lake outlet and the Jenny Lake overlook.
Project priorities are to:
- Retain the historic character of the area.
- Improve route finding.
- Expand interpretation of Jenny Lake’s history, natural resources, and wilderness values.
- Preserve and enhance the natural resources.
- Improve the overall visitor experience.
As part of the planning process, an initial scoping period that begins now will seek public suggestions, comments and concerns in the development of a master plan for the Jenny Lake area.
An environmental assessment will be developed to analyze potential impacts of the project to a number of resources including geology, soils, vegetation, wildlife, cultural resources, water resources, wilderness character and visitor use and experience.
The National Park Service will accept initial scoping public comments until September 15. Additional public comments will be considered during preparation of the draft and final plans.
For more information and to submit comments, visit the Grand Teton website or write to: Grand Teton National Park, attn: Margaret Wilson, P.O. Box 170, Moose, WY 83012.
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