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    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

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    Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears. More »

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Seventh Annual John Colter Day Observed

Colter Stone
The Colter Stone is a piece of rhyolite lava rock carved in the shape of a human head and engraved with the name John Colter, and the year 1808.
file photo: Grand Teton National Park

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News Release Date: June 20, 2014
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

The seventh annual John Colter Day will be held on Monday, June 23 at Colter Bay Visitor Center. Colter explored the greater Yellowstone area during the winter of 1807-08, and was likely the first European to travel the region.  To highlight this historical figure, Grand Teton National Park will offer programs on Monday, June 23, including demonstrations of the lives of mountain men of the 1800's and a presentation on John Colter's contributions to the exploration of the American West.  

John Colter Day Highlights include:

June 20-29, 2014 — Colter Stone on Display
This stone—which is on loan from the Teton Valley Historical Museum in Driggs, Idaho— is a piece of rhyolite lava rock carved in the shape of a human head and engraved with the name John Colter, and the year 1808. Discovered in Tetonia, Idaho in 1933, the stone, if authentic, represents the only solid proof of the route followed by trapper and explorer John Colter. As a member of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition from 1804 to 1806, Colter was given an early discharge from the Corps of Discovery. He set out on his own from a fur trapping fort in the southern Montana territory and traveled south to present-day Cody, Wyoming. On his return, he passed through an area that is now part of Yellowstone National Park. A section of his journey is a matter of speculation; one theory indicates he traveled via Togwotee Pass, while the other commonly held view traces Colter's route through Jackson Hole, over Teton Pass and along the west side of the Teton Range.  

Monday, June 23, 2014
11 a.m. – The Story of the Colter Stone
Ranger Naturalist Dan Greenblatt will detail the legend and history of this fascinating artifact in the Colter Bay Visitor Center lobby. 

2:30 p.m. – John Colter: Mountain Man Superhero
Dr. Barbara Mueller, professor of anthropology at Casper College, will discuss the life of John Colter, widely considered to be the first mountain man of the American West. In the Colter Bay Visitor Center auditorium. 

5 p.m. –Naya Nuki
Local author, historian and master storyteller, Ken Thomasma, will talk about his book, Naya Nuki, which recounts the story of a young Shoshoni girl who was taken captive by a rival Indian tribe along with her best friend, Sacajawea. After being taken prisoner by an enemy tribe, Naya Nuke escapes and makes a thousand-mile journey through the wilderness in search of her own people.  In the Colter Bay Visitor Center auditorium. 

8 p.m. – Mountain Man of Jackson Hole
Join Ranger Andrew Langford as he re-creates the rugged life of a mountain man, enduring brutal winters and physical dangers in unmapped West during the 1800s. At the Colter Bay Visitor Center amphitheater. 

For more information about the Colter Day events, please call the Colter Bay Visitor Center at 307.739.3594.

Did You Know?

Close-up of trumpeter swan head

Did you know that Grand Teton National Park is home to the largest bird in North America? The Trumpeter Swan weighs 20-30 pounds and lives in the valley year-round in quiet open water.