Tauck Volunteers Connect with Grand Teton NP

Tauck volunteers paint park structures
during their vacation at Grand Teton National Park

July 24, 2009
This past May, tour operator Tauck World Discovery announced plans to relocate their guest-volunteer program from Yellowstone National Park to Grand Teton National Park. The program is designed for Tauck's guests to donate a small portion of their vacation time toward preservation and beautification projects in national parks. To date, 21 volunteer groups have participated at Grand Teton in a number of beneficial projects—ranging from painting park structures to trail restoration work. The program annually runs from late May through September.

Over 11,000 Tauck guests have donated nearly 20,000 hours of labor since the innovative program began in Yellowstone in 2003, and the program has been honored at the White House with the Preserve America Award— the country's highest recognition for historic preservation. With the program now in its seventh year, Tauck's Volunteer Project Leader Bruce Fladmark reports no signs of dwindling enthusiasm. "The feeling of accomplishment and the ability to donate time to something that people feel passionate about are timeless," said Fladmark. Statistically, nearly 95% of participants have said that they would volunteer again if given the chance, and 86% said that volunteering enhanced their overall tour experience.

Fladmark credits the Tauck program with further volunteerism. The guest-volunteer program has often served as a catalyst for other volunteer work once participants return home. It also helps build a sense of community responsibility and develops a sense of stewardship for America’s national parks. In the end, Fladmark notes that participants acquire a new awareness of national parks, as well as a realization that ordinary citizens can make a difference.

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott commends the Tauck guest volunteers for their efforts, and looks forward to continuing this effective program. “Volunteers are a key part of getting essential projects accomplished throughout the National Park System, and we are pleased to welcome the participants of Tauck’s guest-volunteer program this summer,” said Superintendent Scott. “Grand Teton hosts nearly four million visitors a year, so there is no shortage of tasks that need attention to keep the park in tip-top shape. We know that Tauck volunteers give generously of their time and talents, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with such a supportive group.”