A Grand Eclipse Experience

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CASPER, WY (KCWY) -- The upcoming total solar eclipse will put more people in
Grand Teton National Park than have ever been there before, that’s the word from the park public affairs office. Park administrators are preparing for the crush of people.

Dangling midair 150 feet below a helicopter is dangerous, but 20 mountain climbing rangers do it every other week, just for practice.

Jenny Lake District Ranger Scott Guenther explained, “We’ve got folks who are nurses, paramedics, park medics, and at the base level, EMTs.”

They are all mountain climbers, trained to ‘short haul’, or accompany the injured mountain climbers who want to challenge the beautiful
Grand Tetons, but end up in a litter dangling beneath the helicopter.

Guenther said, “With thousands of climbers in this range, every single summer, they’re bound to have problems. And when they have problems on the high peaks, the helicopter is one of the best tools we have.”

On August 21, there will be a lot of climbers, and other visitors in Grand Teton.

It is the only National Park in the Rockies in the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse.

This is the best place to see the real thing.

For the last three years, Grand Teton has had record visitation. But, workers here are preparing for something much bigger.

Public Affairs Officer Denise Germann said, “We anticipate that the total solar eclipse on August 21, will be the busiest day in the history of Grand Teton National park.”

So, the rescue rangers will be busy that day, as well as everyone who works in Grand Teton.

Germann said, “It’s an all hands on deck that day. So everybody will be focused on something related to eclipse.”

Germann said safety is it the primary concern. Many rangers will be on the roads, making sure people pull over in a safe place if they stop to see the sun totally disappear.

The people will be coming from around the world.

Germann explained, “You’ve got people who follow, or chase eclipses, you’ve got the scientific community, you’ve got the families, you’ve got the group organizations who are coming to do this. You’ve got the skywatchers, the astronomers, and then you’ve got the regular folks that, hey, once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Hotels in around the park have been booked for months. Germann said traffic into the park that morning will be very heavy, and very slow coming out of the park.

To reduce congestion at the entrances, Grand Teton is waiving the entry fee that day.