Christmas has arrived a bit early for Grand Teton National Park, which has been given $25,000 to help support the park's search-and-rescue program.
The donation was made through the National Park Foundation on behalf of Carole Hays, a foundation board member. According to park officials, the donation was a personal "thank you" to Grand Teton rangers who provided some backcountry medical assistance to Ms. Hays in September. Ms. Hays’ substantial donation will be used to help establish a “friends group” in support of the park’s search-and-rescue program based at Jenny Lake — a program that performs multiple SAR operations each year.
Although Grand Teton and other parks have access to a national funding source specifically designed to defray costs associated with rescue incidents, there are often shortfalls in the funding needed for proficiency training and exercises, new and advanced SAR equipment, and a myriad of other associated costs, according to the park. Through this donation and the creation of a Jenny
Lake Friends Group, a sustainable fund source will be available to support the efforts necessary in maintaining a highly-trained rescue team and fully-equipped rescue cache. The Jenny Lake Friends Group will enable Grand Teton to perform and fund vital SAR operations now and into the future, according to park officials.
The Grand Teton Association, the long-term cooperating association and partner of Grand Teton National Park, has accepted Ms. Hays’ donation on behalf of the park and established a dedicated account for this and other donations that may be directed specifically to support the park’s SAR program. The donation check was presented from the National Park Foundation to the Grand Teton Association through a grant agreement, establishing the association as the fiscal manager of a Grand Teton National Park restricted “Search and Rescue” account.
“We are extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated and highly-skilled rescue staff at Grand Teton: a staff that is continually prepared to spring into action whenever the need arises,” said Grand Teton Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott. “We are also very appreciative that Carole Hays has provided such a generous gift—the seed money to begin a new funding source that will help in
assisting other visitors during their greatest time of need.”