August 25, 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the designation of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway (JODR). In commemoration of this anniversary, we will be posting daily blog entries for the 40 days leading up to the anniversary. These posts will feature hikes, history, wildlife, and other interesting tidbits relating to the JODR. We will also highlight John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s extensive philanthropy in the Jackson Hole valley and contributions to conservation.
Throughout our celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Parkway, we have retold many stories of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donating land and money to conservation, specifically within the park service. However, large donations of money are only good when they have a purpose and meaning behind them. JDR, Jr. had an eye for how he could make his money work, both for himself and for the greater public.
After the boundary of Grand Teton was expanded in 1949, Yellowstone and Grand Teton were that much closer to one another, but not quite side by side. There was a corridor of national forest between the two.
After the large and generous donation of 35,000 acres of land to enlarge and establish Grand Teton National Park, the Rockefeller family continued to hold onto a small piece of the Tetons for themselves, the JY Ranch. It had always been the intension of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to complete the gift to the Park by eventually donating this piece of land.
Do you share a hobby or a passion with your parents or your children? Of JDR, Jr.’s five sons, his third son Laurance Spelman Rockefeller inherited his father’s passion for land protection and nature-related philanthropy. As is the case with many visitors today, Laurance’s conservation ethic was influenced by the trips he took to the western national parks with his family as a young man. He followed in his father’s footsteps by assisting in the creation of Virgin Islands National Park.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was incredibly moved by the expansive view that Horace Albright had showed him of the Jackson Hole valley from Lunch Tree Hill. This spot continued to have a special place in his heart for years to come. When it became apparent that lodging in Grand Teton National Park was inadequate, Rockefeller envisioned a grand lodge on this meaningful spot.
If you are one of the few visitors who visits the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway during the winter, your experience will be vastly different than that of a summertime visitor. Gone are long lines of cars and motorhomes filling the park roads. Gone is the twittering of birds, the rustling of aspen leaves, the background hum of voices. Instead, you are experiencing a cold, white winter wonderland.
In the last episode of The Continuing Story of Grand Teton National Park, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. had threatened to sell the land he owned in the Jackson Hole valley unless the government finally accepted it. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt responded by creating the Jackson Hole National Monument, 221,000 acres of land encompassing Rockefeller's lands. However, this was merely the start of the next battle…
By the end of the 1930's, the future of the Jackson Hole valley was still undecided. The anti-park faction had gained the upper hand, and park expansion plans had come to a standstill. Without the support of Wyoming's congressman, it would not be possible to enlarge Grand Teton National Park. The National Park Service began considering a last –resort effort: the creation of Jackson Hole National Monument. In 1943, Rockefeller wrote a letter to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The grizzly bear is a subspecies of brown bear that once roamed the mountains and prairies of the American West. Today, the grizzly bear remains in a few isolated locations in the lower 48 states, including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park. Becoming a national park was not easy for the Great Smokies. Joining the National Park System took a lot of money and the hard work of thousands of people.
Many of the 3 million visitors to Yellowstone go and see the tallest falls in the park, Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River. However, lesser known but just as impressive is the second tallest falls. Union Falls, which derives its name from the fact that two rivers join just at the edge of the falls, is a spectacular 250 feet tall.
Whether you are a day hiker looking for a quiet trail, a birder trying to find that elusive avian species, or a backpacker with ambitious plans in the backcountry, the Glade Creek Trail is a great option for hiking in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
In the late 1920’s when John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s Snake River Land Company was purchasing land in the Jackson Hole valley, they came across a dude ranch called the JY Ranch. Although many of the properties that were acquired were spectacular, there was something special about the JY in particular.
Grand Teton National Park has many beautiful places to fish, whether with a fly rod or a spin reel, but popular areas can become crowded. Anglers looking for something just as scenic, but maybe a little quieter, can find their dream day of fishing the Snake River in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
Terraced Falls is a beautiful set of waterfalls along the Falls River in the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park (called Cascade Corner for the many cascades and waterfalls found in this area). This is one of the easier hikes to waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park, although not one of the easier trailheads to access. Hiking distance: approximately 4 miles roundtrip.
During the 40 Days to 40 Years Blog, we have been describing different hikes that lead from and are accessed from the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. After today's blog post, maybe you will take a closer look at the many wildflower species you can see along the trails, some of which are described below.
In 1924, when John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his sons toured Mesa Verde, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks, the National Park Service was only eight years old. Much had been accomplished – improved roads, better accommodations, a growing group of loyal and educated Park Rangers – but the interpretive program planned by NPS Director Stephen Mather was only just developing.
Wolves can be found throughout Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Their reintroduction into Yellowstone in 1995 and 1996 was an amazing conservation success story. Within a few years wolves were being spotted in Grand Teton. It is unclear the route they traveled to arrive here, but it's possible that they went through the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway!
After John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s visit to the Jackson Hole valley in 1926, he and Yellowstone Superintendent Horace Albright moved quickly to put their conservation plan into action. The strategy involved buying large areas of land in the Jackson Hole valley.
Here in Grand Teton, we have coined the term “Mountains of the Imagination”. The Teton Range is considered by many to be one of the most photogenic mountain ranges in the world. Lacking foothills, the largest peaks rise up over 6,000ft directly from the valley floor and from some angles even seem to be shooting up out of clear glacial lakes.
In 1924, the same year as the Rockefeller family’s first visit to Yellowstone, they also visited the beautiful southwest and its parks. At Mesa Verde National Park John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was taken by the beauty of these abandoned desert homes. Former superintendent of Mesa Verde, Jesse Nusbaum, recalled that Mr. Rockefeller “spent hours at Cliff Palace, ‘quietly contemplating this great ruin and its canyon terrain.’”
The John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway provides easy access to hikes that go into the southern part of Yellowstone National Park. For more detailed information about hiking there, visit a Yellowstone Visitor Center or Yellowstone’s Backpacking & Hiking page.
The Beula Lake trail offers a short day hike or overnight trip to a tranquil lake popular with fisherman. The roundtrip distance is 5.2 miles out and back.
Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch is a privately operated resort located in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway whose rich history stretches back to the late 1800s.
In 1872, the United States Cavalry made the first permanent occupation of the area as an outpost of Yellowstone. From this location, the cavalry protected both the valuable herds and delicate resources of our first national park. The outpost operated under Army control until 1906, when the land to the south of the
It is not uncommon for visitors to the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway to step outside of their tent or cabin and see another visitor to the area. Only, this visitor has four legs rather than two and horns in addition to shaggy brown/black hair.
What was your college experience like? Was it a period of exploration? Did you join a club or organization that surprised others? Did your classmates give you a funny nickname?
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. entered Brown University in September of 1893. He was extremely aware that, as the only son and heir, he would soon assume the responsibilities of the family name and fortune. Still, his time at college was one of personal exploration and growth.
Well before John D. Rockefeller, Jr. became involved with conservation in the Yellowstone region, he demonstrated his interest in land preservation elsewhere in the country. One of his earliest conservation projects involved setting aside land and designing a road system for Acadia National Park, originally called Mount Desert Island.
So you are driving to Grand Teton National Park from Yellowstone. You happily drive along knowing that you'll come to an entrance station where there will be a smiling park ranger to greet you and orient you with a map and a newspaper. Then before you know it, you're looking at the Teton Range across Jackson Lake. And a few miles later you are at the Colter Bay Visitor Center. You walk in and the first thing you ask the ranger at the desk is, "Where is the North Entrance Station?"
Every day thousands of visitors move between Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks through the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Only 300 of those visitors stop each day at the Flagg Ranch Information Station.
This past Tuesday, I chose a more unusual method of exploring the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway; rather than pulling out my hiking boots and setting out on one of the trails, my parents and I rented kayaks and floated down the Snake River from Flagg Ranch to Lizard Creek.
Lunch Tree Hill, just a short hike from Jackson Lake Lodge, is a great spot for a picnic with a view. This vista overlooks several acres of willows that offer great wildlife viewing and an unobstructed panorama of the Teton Range.
Beyond the magnificent view and great wildlife viewing, this place is special because of a significant historical event that happened here.
Bring the whole family and join a ranger for an old-fashioned cozy campfire talk! Park ranger naturalists give campfire programs at the Flagg Ranch Campfire Circle on Thursdays and Saturdays during the summer months (June 21-August 12, 2012).
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s life was strongly influenced by a sense of stewardship, his deeply held religious beliefs, and his interest in social programs. During a radio broadcast on July 8, 1941, he expressed in one concise statement his philosophy of life.
2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the designation of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Established August 25, 1972, the parkway encompasses 24,000 acres that connect Grand Teton National Park with the world’s first national park, Yellowstone. The Parkway honors the many contributions to conservation by Rockefeller on behalf of America’ s National Park System.