WILTON, CT ―Grand Teton National Park Foundation has announced a major grant provided by Tauck, a leader in premium quality guided tours and cruises, that will help preserve the historic buildings and landscapes at the park’s Mormon Row.
A homesteaders’ settlement inside Grand Teton National Park dating back to 1890, Mormon Row is home to a number of structures including the iconic T.A. Moulton barn, an unofficial symbol of the park that attracts photographers from around the world.
The Tauck grant will fund a total of three different initiatives within Grand Teton. The first project is the creation of a comprehensive Historic Structures Report, which researches and details the cultural history and current physical condition of four prominent Mormon Row buildings. A Historic Structures Report is the critical first step that must be completed before any work (other than emergency stabilization measures) can be initiated.
The Historic Structures Report will be the basis for all subsequent work performed on the four Mormon Row buildings included in the study, paving the way for their eventual preservation and protection.
In addition to helping care for the barns and other buildings at Mormon Row, the Tauck grant will also fund enhancements to the culturally-rich properties surrounding the structures at several homestead sites, including the T.A. Moulton barn. In particular, sections of historic irrigation canals – part of an intricate system once used by the homesteaders to divert water to their crops – will be cleared of vegetation and other obstructions, foot bridges will be restored, and the canals’ head gates will be repaired to preserve their capacity to flow with water.
THE GRAND TETON “HAMMER CORPS”
The third initiative funded by the Tauck grant is the establishment and operation of The Grand Teton Hammer Corps, a formalized program that will recruit, equip and oversee the efforts of volunteers performing preservation and repair projects throughout the park. The Tauck grant will fund The Hammer Corps in both 2016 and 2017.
In 2016 efforts will focus on establishing the program, hiring a seasonal, full-time program coordinator, and completing an initial round of projects. 2017 plans include the full deployment of The Hammer Corps and the completion of more ambitious projects, to perhaps include work at Mormon Row as determined by the findings of the Historic Structures Report funded by the Tauck grant.
“The landscapes and structures of Mormon Row together tell the unique story of the area’s homesteaders, and the preservation of these incredible cultural assets is critical to keeping the homesteaders’ story alive,” Tauck CEO Dan Mahar said. “At Tauck we consider ourselves storytellers, with our journeys telling the rich cultural stories of the places we visit, so helping preserve the legacy of Mormon Row has great appeal to us. We’ve been bringing generations of Tauck guests to the national parks since our very first tour in 1925. With the National Park Service marking its Centennial this year, and having just celebrated our own 90th anniversary, we’re thrilled to help ensure that the story of Mormon Row endures to inspire future generations of travelers.”
According to Leslie Mattson, President of Grand Teton National Park Foundation, the story of Mormon Row is unique to the region, where most homesteads were isolated from each other by considerable distances. “Rather than establish themselves individually, the Mormon settlers who gave the area its name decided to create a settlement that allowed them to work together cooperatively and share the benefits of a community,” Mattson said. “I think that’s a fitting metaphor for the generous support that Tauck is providing. In working cooperatively with the foundation, Tauck is doing their part as members of America’s National Parks community to protect and preserve the treasures at Mormon Row.”
The Tauck grant to Grand Teton National Park Foundation is just the latest example of the company’s support of the U.S. National Parks. Over the years Tauck has provided more than a million dollars in additional grants to various efforts protecting the parks.
From 2003 through 2014, the company operated a volunteer program, first in Yellowstone and later in Grand Teton National Park, that allowed over 17,000 Tauck guests visiting the parks to participate in beautification and preservation projects there. The program was honored with preservation awards by both the White House and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
About Tauck Tauck is a world-leader in premium quality guided travel, with over 100 inspiring land and cruise itineraries to some 70 countries and all seven continents. Besides being named to Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual list of the “World’s Best Tour Operators & Safari Outfitters” for 18 consecutive years, the company has also been named to the magazine’s list of the “World’s Best River Cruise Lines” for seven years running.
Those interested in more information can contact their local travel professional, call Tauck at 800.468.2825, or visit the company’s website.
About Grand Teton National Park Foundation Grand Teton National Park Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to fund projects that protect and enhance Grand Teton National Park’s treasured resources. By funding initiatives that go beyond what the NPS could accomplish on its own, the Foundation initiates improvements, critical research, and projects that enhance visitors’ experiences, creating a solid future for Grand Teton. Since 1997, the organization has raised nearly $50 million for capital projects, work-and-learn programs that connect youth to nature, cultural preservation projects, and wildlife research and protection.
To learn more about Grand Teton National Park Foundation, visit here, or follow the organization’s updates here and here.