A Fledgling Park Emerges


In addition to Idaho sheep ranchers, other groups opposed park extension, these included regional U.S. Forest Service personnel, Jackson Hole businessmen, and some area ranchers. In 1919 Yellowstone Superintendent, Horace Albright was unaware of the pervasive anti-park attitude in Jackson Hole. As a result, he was practically "run out of town" when he traveled to Jackson to promote his park enlargement vision. Ranchers worried that park extension would reduce grazing allotments; Forest Service employees feared the loss of jurisdiction on previously managed forest areas; and local dude ranchers were against improved roads, hotel construction and concessioner monopolies.

Proposals emerged to dam outlets of Jenny Lake and Emma Matilda and Two Ocean Lakes in 1919. Alarmed businessmen and ranchers felt that some form of protection by the National Park Service might be their only salvation from commercialization and natural resource destruction. Eventually, local and National Park Service interests merged at an historic meeting in Maud Noble's cabin on July 26, 1923. Participants included Yellowstone Superintendent, Horace Albright; Bar BC dude ranchers, Struthers Burt and Horace Carncross; newspaperman, Dick Winger; grocery storeowner, Joe Jones; rancher, Jack Eynon; and ferry owner, Maud Noble. They devised a strategy. Their plan sought to find private funds to purchase private lands in Jackson Hole and create a recreation area or reserve that would preserve the "Old West" character of the valley, basically creating a "museum on the hoof." With the exception of Horace Albright, the attendees did not support a national park, "because they wanted traditional hunting, grazing, and dude-ranching activities to continue." In 1928, a Coordinating Commission on National Parks and Forests met with residents of Jackson and reached consensus for park approval. Local support and the Commission's recommendations led Senator John Kendrick of Wyoming to introduce a bill to establish Grand Teton National Park. Senator Kendrick stated that once he viewed the Tetons he "realized that some day they would become a park dedicated to the Nation and posterity…" Congress passed Senator Kendrick's bill. On February 26, 1929, President Calvin Coolidge signed this bill creating a 96,000-acre park that included the Teton Range and six glacial lakes at the base of the peaks. Since this fledgling 1929 park did not safeguard an entire ecosystem, Albright and the other participants of the 1923 meeting continued to pursue their dream of seeking private funds to purchase private lands in Jackson Hole.

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