Historic lodges in view of the Tetons and lakes nestled beneath the jagged range are among Grand Teton National Park offerings that will not open for the 2020 summer season.
Grand Teton Lodge Company announced Tuesday that Jenny Lake Lodge and Jackson Lake Lodge are not expected to open this year. Some of the concessionaires’ services in the park will start to boot up the second half of May, but many facilities’ opening dates have been pushed back or put off altogether.
“Unfortunately this summer will look very different than in years past, and we share the disappointment of our guests and employees, but prioritizing their health and safety remains our top priority,” Grand Teton Lodge Company Vice President Alex Klein wrote the News&Guide in an email. “For those who are not able to join us this year we hope to welcome you to the Tetons next summer.”
Teton park itself remains off-limits for now, joining most national parks that have closed entry gates temporarily to discourage travel and tourism amid the global pandemic. So far, park officials aren’t giving any hints about when the Moran, Moose and Granite Canyon gates might open.
“We don’t have any specific details,” spokeswoman Denise Germann said. “There are no placeholder dates for anything at this point.”
But Grand Teton Lodge Company’s targeted dates may provide some insight into when the park will welcome tourists. The first place slated to open is the convenience store and gas station at Colter Bay Village, where the targeted opening is May 22, the Friday leading into Memorial Day weekend. The Gros Ventre Campground comes next, expected to open May 29.
By June 5 other services and facilities may start to phase back in: Colter Bay’s campground, RV Park, tent cabins, grocery store, launderette and gift shop; and at Flagg Ranch, the campground, RV park and convenience store.
Cabins and to-go food at Colter Bay and Flagg Ranch are expected to be available by June 15. That’s the same date that Yellowstone National Park’s primary concessionaire, Xanterra, plans to open many of its services. Earlier, Xanterra officials were looking at Memorial Day weekend but last week announced they were pushing things back.
“Now we’re looking at June,” Xanterra General Manager Mike Keller said.
When the park first opens to the public, services aren’t certain to be offered, Keller said. “Then, as we can bring employees on safely, then you’re going to see a gradual opening of services in Yellowstone.”
Campgrounds, cabins with their own bathrooms and to-go food service will be most of what’s available to the public in Yellowstone this summer.
Like Grand Teton, Yellowstone’s lodges and hotels aren’t expected to open to public use in 2020. Guests won’t be relaxing with drinks listening to a live pianist at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, nor will they be catching glimpses of geyser mist from their room at the Old Faithful Inn.
Keller is tentatively planning to house much of his 800-person seasonal workforce at hotels in Mammoth and Canyon. Normally there would be roughly 3,500 seasonal staffers, which means they’ll be functioning with 80% fewer people.
Klein couldn’t be reached for details about the effects on Grand Teton Lodge Company’s workforce, but he provided a statement that said he’ll be unable to house a large number of seasonal employees in shared dorms this summer due to the novel coronavirus.
Also on the chopping block for 2020 are Colter Bay’s motorboat rentals, lake cruises, guided fishing trips, marina store, corrals and activities desk.
Decisions about opening dates for some other services haven’t yet been made. Jenny Lake Campground, Jenny Lake Store, and other marina services at Colter Bay are all on that list.
Editor's note: This story has been modified to clarify that schedules for Signal Mountain facilities, and what will open, are not yet determined.