Riddel photo and masthead

January eNewsletter Features
 eNewsletter News! -- Help us give our eNewsletter a new look 
In the Spotlight-- Corporate supporter, Tauck
Wildlife Whereabouts -- January wildlife updates from park senior biologist Steve Cain
A Lesson in Snow Science -- Learn fascinating facts about snow's importance in Grand Teton
2014 Youth Conservation Corps -- Youth applications are available today!
Grand Teton Nordic News -- Winter updates on Nordic grooming in Grand Teton

Our eNewsletter is Getting a New Look -- and We Want

We are in the process of updating our eNewsletter and we want your suggestions for how we can create an eNewsletter that you are excited to read each month. We will keep some of our favorite articles, like Wildlife Whereabouts, but are looking forward to some new additions!  


What kinds of articles most interest you?

What information would you like to see more of? 

What do you want to learn about Grand Teton each month?


Take a minute to think about what YOU like reading and share your thoughts with us. Email us at laura@gtnpf.org or message our Facebook page. We sincerely value your feedback and support and cannot wait to share our new eNewsletter with you.  


In the Spotlight! 


Tauck's World of Giving annually engages thousands of guests in service work and funds projects that protect and enhance important tourism destinations around the world.  Since 2003, Tauck has supported conservation and volunteerism through the company's on-tour volunteer experience, which offers guests the opportunity to donate a few hours to park preservation and beautification projects.  Originally started in Yellowstone, the program moved to Grand Teton National Park in 2009.   Most recently, Tauck has participated in the Foundation's $16 million Jenny Lake campaign to renew the heavily visited area's trails and key destinations.  Here to discuss Tauck's partnership with the Foundation is Roni Goldberg, the creative force behind World of Giving-Tauck's philanthropic division.


How did the Tauck family start their world-renowned travel company?

In 1924, Arthur Tauck, Sr. traveled to North Adams, MA, on business.  He was struck by the landscape's beauty, yet surprised to see no leisure visitors.  He decided he should guide visitors to beautiful places he discovered on his business travels.  His first "Tauck tour" was a six-day, 1,100 mile, all-inclusive New England tour for $69.  As the company's popularity grew, Tauck's signature style of traveling-an approach that still drives the company to this day-was developed.  Tauck tours combine the indulgence of luxury hotels and superior dining with in-depth insights into local culture, history, flora, and fauna from a knowledgeable guide.  Over the past 89 years, the family-run company has expanded its offerings to over 100 upscale land and cruise itineraries in 70 countries worldwide.


Tauck is about so much more than travel; the company makes a commitment to nonprofit groups at work in the company's destination locations.  Tell us about some of the projects your company supports.

At Tauck, we're all united by a very strong sense of purpose-to offer truly life-enhancing travel experiences while giving back to the communities we visit.  Our Destination Grants provide funding that focuses on the conservation and cultural/historic preservation of the places we bring guests to around the world.  Recently we funded a local playground in need of repair in Norwalk, CT, near our headquarters.  Other recent projects took place in Tanzania (rain catchment & filtration systems for clean water), Germany (repair and refurbishment of historic gas lights), Canadian Rockies (flood relief), Alaska (enhancements to a wildlife conservation center), and New Hampshire (site enhancements to a historic village).


We also provide certain destination locations with hands-on support through both employee and guest volunteer efforts.  For example, in eleven years, 16,950 Tauck guest-volunteers have donated over 32,000 hours of labor at Yellowstone and Grand Teton alone, valued at over $600,000 by the NPS.


What prompted Tauck to support the Jenny Lake restoration?

Grand Teton National Park is a place we frequently visit and support through our guest-volunteer program.  More than that, the Jenny Lake trail system is in serious need of restoration to ensure a positive visitor experience and to make the venue more accessible to the park's diverse visitor population.  These needs fit perfectly with our desire to fund projects that focus on the conservation and preservation of places we visit, to make sure they are available for future generations to experience.


Jenny Lake is Grand Teton National Park's most visited destination. Grand Teton National Park Foundation would like to thank Tauck for its support of the Jenny Lake restoration project and our efforts to enhance and protect Grand Teton.

Photo by Bob Woodall



Now that Grand Teton's winter is in full force, nearly all animals that migrate have left the park and surrounding areas.  Interestingly, however, it appears that about 50 pronghorn, which normally leave the valley, might attempt to winter here.  Pronghorn are not well adapted to deep snow, and the majority of past attempts by them to survive the winter here have proven unsuccessful.  Other resident wildlife, which live in or around the park year-round, are drawing on essential winter adaptations for survival. The need to conserve energy is at a premium, making any unnecessary disturbance, for example by humans or dogs, potentially life threatening.   

  • Moose use their long legs to move through deep snow to areas of preferred forage. Moose calves remain with their mothers through the winter and follow behind them while trail breaking through the snow. Moose also use their highly developed sense of smell to find only the most nutritious parts of shrubs under the snow.
  • Hibernating animals, such as black and grizzly bears, benefit from deepening snows, which provide better insulation.
  • Bison use their massive heads, thick skin, and muscular necks to move snow from side to side, creating craters where they can access buried forage.
  • As days gradually lengthen, ravens, bald eagles, and great horned owls -- some of the area's earliest nesters -- begin courtship activities.
  • Wolverines, Canada lynx, and wolves remain highly active, using large, snow-adapted feet to move through the environment.      
  • Like the mother moose and her offspring, wolves also travel in single file lines through deep snow for efficiency.
  • The American dipper, also known as the water ouzel, remains highly active, seeking areas of open, moving water where they bob on rocks between dives for aquatic insects.
  • Teton range bighorn sheep hunker down on small, high elevation ridges blown free of snow.  Please obey posted closures designed to protect them and other wildlife during winter, and give them a wide berth if you are lucky enough to happen upon them in other areas. 
Photo by Sean Beckett

Learn about the Foundation-funded Wildlife and Natural Resource Initiative and the crucial research of black and grizzly bears, wolves, and cougars it enables. 


A Lesson in Snow Science
Photo by Patrick Leary

What role does snow play in keeping the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem healthy? An average of 191 inches of snow falls in Grand Teton each year, comprising 2/3 of the park's total yearly precipitation. The amount of snow each winter determines how dry and at risk for forest fires the summer will be. While all of us love the snowy Tetons for their beauty and accompanying recreational opportunities, many of us know little about what makes snow so vital to the health of our ecosystem. Check out these fascinating facts that every snow lover should know. 


Snow is mostly air. Air comprises 95 percent or more of the total volume of the snowpack. Our dry climate produces a less dense snowpack than other ecosystems at lower elevations. This is why we depend on large amounts of winter snowfall and subsequent spring runoff to feed our rivers and reservoirs, sustain our plant and wildlife populations, and prevent drought in the summer.  


Temperatures change throughout the snowpack. Heat stored from the summer combined with geothermal heat from the earth keeps the ground temperature in the winter around 32 F. Average daily temperatures in Jackson often drop well below 32 F, which leads to a vertical temperature gradient within the snowpack and causes the upward movement of water vapor. This movement helps create different types of snow crystals and influences the stability of the snowpack. 


Once snow hits the ground, it begins a process of constant change. As soon as snow falls, it begins a process called metamorphism, whereby the snow crystals (called snow grains once deposited on the ground) undergo a number of changes resulting from growth, disintegration, or agglomeration. Snow grains bond to their neighbors and act as an ice skeleton, providing structural support to the snowpack. Factors such as temperature and wind affect the rate at which snow grains change. 


You can study the history of snowfall in an area by looking at the snow grains. The snowpack forms layers. Each layer, represented by a snow grain type, signifies a particular snowfall. Backcountry skiers often look at grain size and shape for information on snow stability. "Rounds" are small snow grains with rounded edges that bond to each other and form a strong, cohesive layer in the snowpack. They form when there is a small temperature gradient between the ground and surface of the snowpack. "Facets" are poorly bonded angular grains that have the consistency of sugar. They form during very cold temperatures when the surface of the snowpack is much colder than the ground. Weak layers of faceted snow toward the ground are a potential sliding layer for avalanches. 


Many animals utilize the snowpack as a blanket in the winter. While some animals hibernate in the winter, other small mammals, such as mice and voles, take refuge below the snowpack close to the ground in as space called the subnivean layer. Once the snowpack has reached a depth of at least six inches, the snow provides enough insulation so that the subnivean layer maintains a temperature of around 32 F. However, predators, such as owls and foxes, can hear prey up to six feet beneath the snow! 


Source: Grand Teton National Park Winter Guides Day, 2012.

Do You Know a Potential Candidate for YCP?


Grand Teton National Park is now accepting applications for the 2014 Youth Conservation Program (YCP), a Foundation-funded teen education, stewardship, and employment opportunity that provides much-need maintenance on heavily used park trails and historic sites.

Since its inception, over 140 young men and women have worked, earned, and learned in the highly successful ten week program that is held each June to August in Grand Teton. In eight seasons, the students have contributed over 50,000 hours of labor, improving visitors' experiences in the park. Participants build trails, remove debris, install bear-resistant containers, repair historic sites, pull exotic weeds, clear vegetation, learn stone masonry, and build fences all while hiking miles of the park each day. Collaborative park teams work with the YCP teens to provide a unique education in park history, fire ecology, safety, and rescue training.


2014 YCP applicants must be between the ages of 16 to 19 and available from June 16 through August 21. Applications must be postmarked by March 14, 2014
For more information, visit the park website here.

Love to Nordic Ski? We Have Exciting News for You

Thanks to a collaboration between Grand Teton National Park and Teton County, the Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake trailhead to Signal Mountain will have a regular grooming schedule for the remainder of the winter season. Beginning this Sunday, Teton County Parks and Recreation crew and equipment will groom according to the following weekly schedule:


Sunday, Feb. 1

Saturday, Feb. 8

Saturday, Feb. 15

Sunday, Feb. 23

Saturday, Mar. 1

Saturday, Mar. 8

Saturday, Mar. 15 (snow coverage allowing)

Please note that all dates are weather and condition dependent. 


The Foundation is pleased to support this effort as Grand Teton's fundraising partner. For more information about grooming schedules in the greater Teton area, please visit the JH Nordic Alliance website here



Donate now


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25 S. Willow, Suite 10, Jackson, WY 83001 

mailing address: P.O. Box 249, Moose, WY 83012                      

tel: 307-732-0629 fax: 307-732-0639

e-mail: director@gtnpf.org  


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