Nearly $2.4 million is being raised by the Grand Teton National Park Foundation to pay for the construction of a 154-seat auditorium at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in the national park.
That auditorium, scheduled to open next spring, will complete the center, which was built in 2007.
The visitor center auditorium will provide a venue for a regularly scheduled documentary that features the Teton backcountry and notable conservationists who played a role in the park’s creation. A wall of windows, hidden behind a theatrical curtain and a retractable screen, will reveal the Teton Range at the completion of the film. State-of-the-art systems and the unique backdrop will make the space ideal for hosting lectures or conferences. Seattle-based Bohlin Cywinski Jackson designed the visitor center and the auditorium wing.
“In 1997, the idea of a new visitor facility for Grand Teton took shape and began to grow,” said foundation President Leslie Mattson said. “Now we can break ground for the final phase because so many people care deeply about the park and want to make projects like this happen for Grand Teton, the community, and the millions of visitors who come every year.”
In addition to the visitor center and the upcoming auditorium, the foundation funds the Youth Conservation Program, a teen trail rehabilitation crew; and the Children in Nature Multicultural Engagement Program, an experiential pilot program that introduces local Latino youth to park-centered outdoor education and Grand Teton’s recreation. Foundation donors also support wildlife research and metal bear-resistant food storage lockers that are installed in park campsites and picnic areas. Planning for a major trail restoration campaign is underway and will address degradation and erosion issues on some of the park’s most popular trails.
“Completing this extraordinary facility will be an important day for the foundation and Grand Teton,” Ms. Mattson said. “The auditorium opens a whole new realm of educational opportunities. Helping others connect with the park is what the Foundation’s work is all about.”