Fifty-two percent of visitors rated hiking/walking as their second
most important activity—scenery/scenic driving rated as #1.
Visitors relax in lobby of Jackson Lake Lodge at Grand Teton NP.
Overall satisfaction with park facilities rated high (96 percent).
September 7, 2010
A visitor use study recently published by the Park Studies Unit at the University of Idaho shows the changing dynamics in visitation trends at Grand Teton National Park in the past eleven years. A similar study was conducted in 1997 and the comparison with the 2008 survey indicates that fewer children and a slightly older population are now visiting Grand Teton. In addition, two-thirds of the people surveyed were visiting for the first time, and spending more time and more money in the park. Eighty-six percent of visitor groups used one vehicle to arrive at the park, and many used the internet as a primary source for planning their trip.
In an effort to gather demographic and other information about Grand Teton’s 3.8 million annual visitors, the new visitor use survey was conducted by University of Idaho and park staff from July 13-19, 2008. Not surprising perhaps, was the fact that three-quarters
(77 percent) of visitors to Grand Teton reported their primary activity to be viewing scenery and/or taking a scenic drive; hiking/walking rated as the second most important activity at
52 percent. When polled about which location received the greatest focus and use, the Jenny Lake area proved to be the most popular.
Visitor spending more than doubled since the last study was conducted in 1997. In 2008, each visitor group spent on average $1,388 compared to $575 per visitor group in 1997. According to a 2004 report by Loomis and Koontz, visitor spending contributes
$590 million annually to the greater Jackson Hole area economy and the economic effect of park visitation is responsible for 30 percent of the local income and 56 percent of jobs in both Teton County, Wyoming and Teton County, Idaho.
The 2008 visitor survey showed that more local residents are getting out and enjoying their backyard park with 5 percent visitation from Teton County compared to just 2 percent in 1997; and more international visitors are traveling to Grand Teton. Domestic visitation came mostly from California (12 percent), Utah (7 percent) and Wyoming (7 percent). Ten percent of total visitation was from international visitors. The greatest number of international visitors hailed from Canada (18 percent), the United Kingdom (17 percent), Germany (10 percent) and the Netherlands (10 percent).
Survey respondents ranked the park brochure/map as the most commonly used and most important source of information. Also,
92 percent of visitors rated assistance from park staff as their most valued source of information. The overall quality of visitor facilities, services and recreational activities were rated as very good, and the overall satisfaction with services increased from 92 percent in 1997 to 96 percent in 2008.
For a summary of the 2008 report, visit http://psu.uidaho.edu/files/vsp/summaries/206_GRTE_sum.pdf, view the whole report at http://psu.uidaho.edu/files/vsp/reports/206_GRTE_rept.pdf.