Grants from Wyoming Department of Health and the National Park Foundation supplied many of the participants with subsidized park passes, a can of bear spray, and free transportation from the town of Jackson for monthly ranger-led hikes that explored trails around Phelps, Jenny and Taggart lakes.
Active Trails Wellness promoters worked hard to engage non-traditional park visitors. Prizes were given that enabled winners to return to the park for even grander experiences. Awards included everything from guided raft and climbing trips, to a backpack full of hiking supplies and a family portrait in front of the Tetons. The program culminated with a lottery drawing for the final prize.
“Around 25 percent of the folks that joined the Active Trails Wellness program were non-traditional park users and we had a broad spectrum of participation,” said Megan Kohli, program coordinator and park ranger. “One woman told us that she had lived here for over 15 years and only visited the park once. This summer, she and her family became regular visitors to Grand Teton for picnics, trail hikes and time spent playing in the lakes,” added Kohli. Other participants reported that they had been to Grand Teton before, but claimed that the program encouraged them to explore new things and hike new trails. Furthermore, donations of prizes from area businesses, the Grand Teton Association and special grants made it possible for winners to try activities like rafting and climbing for the first time ever.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that fewer than 5 percent of adults get the recommended 30 minutes a day of physical activity, and studies by Active Living Research indicate that most national park visits result in sedentary versus active behaviors. Through the Active Trails program, Grand Teton and St. John’s Medical Center’s Wellness Department sought to create fun, safe ways for people to get fit, and also encourage local residents to take advantage of the outstanding treasures in their own backyard. The two agencies plan to continue identifying ways to promote health and well-being by connecting new audiences to local wellness opportunities.
St. John’s Medical Center and Grand Teton National Park and are grateful for ongoing support from the Grand Teton Association and their significant contributions to this program. The National Park Foundation wishes to thank Coca-Cola and the Coca-Cola Foundation for their generous support of the Active Trails Wellness program.