Wal-Mart Volunteers Assist with Projects in Grand Teton National Park

August 5, 2008
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott is pleased to announce that volunteers from Wal-Mart have once again donated their time and energy to work in Grand Teton National Park. On Monday, August 4, a group of approximately 60 Wal-Mart volunteers joined park employees to assist with site clean-up projects at the Mormon Row Historic District and the recently acquired Hartgrave property—a former private inholding, located about five miles south of Moose on the Moose-Wilson Road. The volunteers, employees of Wal-Mart stores throughout southeastern Idaho, are participants in a company program titled “Volunteerism Always Pays” (VAP).

The Wal-Mart volunteers spent approximately five hours working with one of Grand Teton’s Student Conservation Association interns and staff from the Western Center for Historic Preservation—a workshop and training center based in Grand Teton National Park for historic preservation work throughout the greater Yellowstone area. Together, the group removed trash and debris from areas surrounding historic structures at Mormon Row, cleaning up both the inside and outside of these buildings. Volunteers also worked at the Hartgrave property, where they cleared trash piles and helped remove several small structures in order to facilitate extensive rehabilitation of this area. With help from Land and Water Conservation Funds and Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act funds, the park was able to purchase the Hartgrave property last year and begin taking steps to restore the 4.4-acre property to its natural state.

Wal-Mart’s VAP program began in 1995 as a way to encourage employees to connect with, and give back to, their local communities. Since then, the program has contributed more than 7 million hours to deserving organizations. In 2007, more than 1 million volunteer hours translated to approximately $6 million in VAP contributions. Mark Marvin, Wal-Mart market manager, said of the volunteers: “Our Grand Teton projects are a wonderful example of how a few hours of work will have long-lasting impact to the historic preservation at one of this region’s world-renowned national parks. Wal-Mart associates are proud to have a role in what we hope will be a turning point for these key park locations.”

“This is the third year that Wal-Mart has been a welcome park partner. The commitment and generous efforts of the VAP volunteers add immeasurably to our resource preservation work in Grand Teton National Park,” said Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott. “We are grateful to the Wal-Mart team for offering their time and skills toward the restoration of one of the park’s significant historical areas at Mormon Row, and one of the park’s newly obtained properties at the Hartgrave place. Through the assistance of these volunteers, we can better preserve the park’s distinctive cultural history, improve our ability to reveal the past by making areas safe for visitors to explore, and restore habitat for wildlife use.”

Previous years’ projects included rehabilitation of popular park trails and restoration work at the heavily-used Schwabacher’s Landing on the Snake River.