GET OUT: No, really, get out… of Schwabacher Landing
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Budget woes plaguing Grand Teton National Park are already being felt by select visitors this coming season. Numerous prospective brides and grooms have been sent scrambling after being informed all events scheduled for Schwabacher Landing, a popular site for wedding ceremonies, would be scrapped this summer due to sequestration cuts.
Mary Gibson Scott on Monday identified several places officials would be scaling back — those savings opportunities included closing some of the more remote or lesser-used areas of the park, such as 20 campsites along Grassy Lake Road and the Schwabacher Landing area. The latter is a picturesque spot with a dead-on view of the Tetons. Park spokesperson Jackie Skaggs said regular trash pickup and bathroom service at Schwabacher was considered too costly to continue this season. The area will be closed all summer.
“This is the reality of it,” Skaggs said of the budget cuts. “It is painful for all of us.”
Skaggs said the closing would affect about 40 scheduled wedding ceremonies. She added that park staff has been busy contacting disappointed brides and working with them to find an alternate location within GTNP. The $50 permit fee each applicant must file to reserve the location will not be refunded, according to Skaggs.
Skaggs stressed the permit fee is NOT a deposit. It is a one-time processing fee that the Park states upfront is non-refundable. Of course, this declaration seems likely crafted in the event a wedding ceremony is moved or cancelled by the bride. GTNP officials probably did not anticipate the need to close the area themselves and cancel every scheduled wedding.
The $50 barely covers the paperwork and overhead in managing that part of the park for events (mostly weddings), according to Skaggs. Therefore, there is nothing to refund, the money is spent — especially if park personnel are busy now calling all brides and working with them to relocate.