The University of Wyoming’s historic research center on the shore of Jackson Lake will not open for the 2021 summer season.
Station staff announced the closure this week, citing an ongoing construction project that makes sense to complete while the novel coronavirus is already disrupting operations.
“We did have to do these renovations, which would have probably shut us down anyway,” AMK Station Director Bryan Shuman said. “But then with COVID, it just made it essentially impossible to be open.”
The AMK Ranch is a joint venture of the National Park Service and University of Wyoming located just north of Leeks Marina in Grand Teton National Park. Its name comes from a family with ties to the Eagle Pencil Company — (A)lfred and (M)adeleine Berol and their son, (K)enneth — and the 50-acre campus run by the state university since the 1970s houses dozens of scientists daily studying different aspects of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem during the summers.
The renovation in the works adds a dormitory and additional beds, and a new roof, renovated exteriors and all-new drinking water and wastewater systems. It also will bring high-speed internet to the campus for the first time.
Although the site’s 73 post-renovation beds won’t be available to scientists in the coming summer, some will be occupied by construction workers, Shuman said. Researchers are camping, finding housing elsewhere and putting their projects on pause, he said.
AMK Ranch is still continuing some of its normal activities. The small grant program that supports scientific endeavors will go on, with a request for proposals coming out soon. Popular weekly lectures — the Harlow Summer Seminar Series — will also continue this year on an online platform, though the details are still being sorted out.