The Laurance S. Rockefeller (LSR) Preserve is a 1,106 acre (4.476 km²) refuge within Grand Teton National Park on the southern end of Phelps Lake. The site was originally known as the JY Ranch, a dude ranch. Starting in 1927, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased much of the land in Jackson Hole for the creation of Jackson Hole National Monument and the expansion of Grand Teton National Park. But he retained the 3,100 acre (12.5 km²) JY Ranch as a family retreat. Over the years the family gave most of the ranch to the national park. Laurance S. Rockefeller donated the final parcel in 2001. The donation came with special preservation and maintenance restrictions, with the vision that the preserve remain a place where visitors can experience a spiritual and emotional connection to the beauty of the lake and the Teton Range.
The LSR Preserve features several types of natural communities. Sagebrush
meadows are relatively dry and are home to a variety of wildflowers and animal species. The preserve's forests are predominantly composed of fir
, and lodgepole pine
with intermittent growth of cottonwoods
and other low plants grow in the wetlands providing food and cover for migrating birds. Eight miles (13 km) of trails provide public access to these natural communities.
Before the creation of the LSR Preserve, the Rockefeller family either demolished or moved off-site the cabins and other structures associated with the JY Ranch. Their intent was to remove unnecessary artificial features from the preserve, and to developed ecologically friendly facilites required for the new use of the land. The preserve, including the 7,573 ft² (704 m²) visitor center dedicated on June 21
, is the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
(LEED) certified property in Wyoming
and only the fifty-second Platinum rating in the LEED program. Carney Architects
of Jackson, Wyoming
designed the facility with the Rocky Mountain Institute
consulting on energy and daylighting analysis; Rockefeller Financial Services developed the property for the national park. Featuring composting toilets
and a 10 kW photovoltaic system
, the facility earned all 17 LEED energy points.