Friday, September 6, 2002
The Splendor of the Tetons
Barring "bear jams" in Yellowstone, Team North will make good time today driving south through the park into its smaller sister, Grand Teton National Park, and the surrounding valley of Jackson Hole.
Jackson Hole was first settled by ranchers, but the harsh climate soon convinced many that they should turn their hands to the tourist trade instead of the cattle trade. A small group of ranchers approached John D. Rockefeller, who bought up ranches along the Teton Range and donated it to the United States. These ranches, along with lands withdrawn from the national forests, became the heart of Grand Teton National Park. But the conservation efforts of the citizenry did not stop there-- after several particularly harsh winters which saw massive mortality among the resident elk herds, residents petitioned the government to create a preserve for the magnificent antlered animals. Team North will be visiting the National Elk Refuge this afternoon, learning how the government continues to keep Wyoming wild. The team will be spending several days in Jackson Hole, learning about the ecology of this lovely valley and relaxing in the shadow of the Tetons.