The Rollercoaster History of Grand Teton National Park

Image: NPS

Grand Teton National Park has quite the history when it comes to its founding! You ready for this rollercoaster ride?

Chapter 1:

As a brief aside, we’re talking about the Rocky Mountains’ youngest range (and one of the youngest in the world!), which happens to have some of the oldest rocks you’ll find on the continent.

Chapter 2:

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., purchased a whole lot of land in northwest Wyoming in the mid 1920s with the initial intention of eventually donating it to the government. For identity protection, he bought 33,000 acres under the Snake River Land Company name, and he kept it for 15 years. He eventually threatened to sell it, which prompted action by FDR—see Chapter 4.

Chapter 3:

President Calvin Coolidge, despite vociferous Congressional dissent, signed the park into existence in February, 1929, less than a week before his presidency concluded. The act protected 96,000 acres of land, including the 40-mile-long Teton Range and six glacial lakes.

Chapter 4:

Area residents were strongly opposed to any further expansion, so when President Roosevelt unilaterally established a wildlife reserve called Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943 that encompassed most of the adjacent valley, angered ranchers created a massive cattle-drive by rustling hundreds and hundreds of cattle across the designated area. Their legendary protest was led by Academy Award-winning, and highest paid at the time, actor Wallace Beery.

Chapter 5:

During and after WW2, Wyoming tried to have the JHNM rescinded. When no one was willing to budge after many repeated attempts, a compromise was reached:

1. The Jackson Hole National Monument would be added to the original Coolidge-established park.
2. In exchange, ranchers were allowed to keep their existing grazing rights.
3. The National Elk Refuge—the southern end of the JHNM—would not be included in the merger, but the elk herd would still be partly managed by the state and allow for some hunting.
4. Wyoming was exempted from the Antiquities Act, meaning Congress has to approve the establishment of further national monuments in the state rather than the president being able to do so alone via executive order.

Chapter 6:

Thus, Grand Teton National Park came to be (re-)established in its current size and area on September 14, 1950, by President Truman.

Whew! That’s a heck of a story, huh? Plenty of details to be had, but at least you get the general overview. If you want to find out a whole lot more, reach out to the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museumhttps://www.seejh.com/…/jackson-hole-historical-society-mus… ! Have you been to the Historical Museum? It’s great!

Did you know about #GTNP’s founding history?

10 Reasons To Visit Jackson Hole In October

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10 Reasons to Visit JH During Our October Off-Season:

Do you want to visit Jackson Hole when it’s at its quietest and most affordable? We get this question a lot! We have the answer since one of those times is coming up.

October is part of the off-season dip for the Hole, the other time being mid-April through mid-May. Here are 10 reasons (among others) to visit Jackson Hole during our October off-season:

1. The weather’s great! While mountain weather is always unpredictable, the snow won’t be kicking into gear yet in the lower elevations. Highs hover in the upper-50s and lows at around 30. The air is crisp, and it’s time to get cozy!

2. You’ll get to see spectacular Fall foliage! Lots of amazing photography to capture!

3. Traffic, what traffic? The only kind of traffic jams you’ll probably encounter is from our natural residents. The legendary migrations get underway with the changing temps and weather patterns, especially along the National Elk Refuge.

4. Access to the parks. You can still access most of the land in Yellowstone and GTNP until later in the month, when road closures begin their regularly-scheduled seasonal shut-downs. You won’t experience much in the way of temporary closures either, since wildfire season is pretty much over by September’s end and snow doesn’t usually start in earnest until November.

5. Vocal natural residents. While you’ll always hear our natural neighbors, there’s a lot of extra chatter among the animal folk during Fall—elk bugling during their rut, migrating geese and other birds honking overhead, bellowing bison as they shift around, etc. It’s quite the symphony.

6. Prices! Yep, $$$ makes a big difference. We know, we get it. Like anywhere, off-season rates are at their lowest with the dip in visitor numbers. For example, lodging options are a bit constricted, like some of the dude ranches and sportsmen’s lodges closing their doors temporarily, but there are still plenty to choose among. Outdoor-focused merchants (think safari, fishing, rafting) are another example who tend to have reduced rates while still mostly open for business.

7. 2-for-1 restaurant deals. To continue the cost advantage with an October visit, many of our restaurants and eateries have gotten to offering 2-for-1 deals to entice you! It’s a beautifully satisfying belt-busting time. You can start here: https://www.seejh.com/businesses/food-drink !

8. Shopping! Besides restaurant discounts, less people means less jostling crowds to deal with, hardly any lines, more focused service (Jackson Hole is very well-known for great service among its many merchants, but more customers naturally means attention spread thinner), and SALES, SALES, SALES!

9. The skies above. If you like star-gazing and admiring the heavenly canopy, then October is one of the best times to be here! While the nights get longer, they tend to be at their clearest also, since October is one of our driest months and Winter’s overcast skies won’t be arriving for awhile.

10. Events. There are still plenty of events going on. Check out our FB page’s Events section and your eyes will pop! We’re an active community year-round, and you can get more of an authentic feel with some of our lower-key goings-on, like film festivals, ski swaps, concerts (like Diamond Rio this year!), Halloween-related activities, and programs even at the Jackson Hole Airport!

Images: @mp_photography1313; @mediumcore; @merejune; @betsystevensonclearcreekjh; all on IG

 

The Scenic Beartooth Highway in the Sky!

 

Image: Yellowstone NPS

The Beartooth Highway, officially named US Route 212, is recognized as a National Scenic Byway! It meanders for almost 70 miles through Montana and Wyoming, starting in Red Lodge, Montana, and stopping at #Yellowstone’s Northeast Entrance.

Arguably the best spot along the route is Beartooth Pass in our great state at nearly 11,000 feet! Due to weather, the Pass is usually open only mid-May through mid-October.

The road opened in 1936, basically following the 1872 route of Civil War General Philip Sheridan and his 120 men after returning from an inspection of Yellowstone National Park and wanting an easier route through the Beartooth Mountains back to Billings. An old hunter named Shuki Greer gave the directions (take a left at the 3rd snow-capped mountain kinda thing?), so thank you Mr. Greer!

Have you traveled on and taken in the beauty of the famous Beartooth Highway?

Bison vs. Buffalo: The Beef

Images: Wikipedia

 

Bison vs. buffalo. Are there differences? You bet! What are they? Glad you asked!

Well, for starters, Brewster Higley got things wrong when he wrote “Home on the Range,” since buffalo do not in fact naturally roam in the West—or the North American continent, or the Western Hemisphere, for that matter. You’ll find water buffalo in Southeast Asia and Cape buffalo in Africa, while bison live here in North America and parts of Europe.

Besides locale, there are 3 physical features to look for:

1. Bison have a shoulder hump, while buffalo don’t. The hump gives bison their tank-like appearance and plowing abilities in large snowdrifts.
2. Bison have smaller, sharper horns, while buffalo have larger ones, as long as 6 feet!
3. Bison are bearded, while buffalo are beard-less. Gillette or Dollar Shaving Co. should jump on that, just saying.