The Storm Passes

After World War II ended, the sentiment began to change in Jackson Hole. Between 1945 and 1947, bills were introduced in Congress to abolish the monument, but none passed. Local citizens began to realize that tourism offered an economic future for Jackson Hole. Eventually, attitudes became more agreeable toward park enlargement. By April 1949, interested parties had gathered in the Senate Appropriation Committee chambers to work out a final compromise. Though it took decades of controversy and conflict, discord and strife, the creation of a "new" Grand Teton National Park finally occurred on September 14, 1950, when Harry S. Truman signed a bill merging the 1929 park with the 1943 monument to form an enlarged 310,000-acre park. Preservation of the Teton Range, Jackson Lake, and much of Jackson Hole was finally placed in the hands of the National Park Service as a more complete ecosystem.

Difficulties of park-making define Grand Teton National Park and emphasize the visionary ideology of Horace Albright, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and several pro-park residents. Legislation for the new park contained significant compromises: 1) protection of existing grazing rights and stock driveways; 2) reimbursement to Teton County for lost tax revenues; 3) provision for the controlled reduction of elk within park boundaries; 4) agreement that in the future presidential proclamation could not be used to create a national monument in Wyoming; and 5) allowance for continuation of certain existing uses and access rights to forest lands and inholder properties.

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