Grand Teton
Historic Resource Study
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Conservationists (continued)

Jackson Hole National Monument survived these onslaughts, although like a storm-battered ship. For example, amendments attached to Department of Interior appropriations prohibited the National Park Service from spending money to administer the monument. Also, the proclamation transferred 130,000 acres of land from the Teton National Forest to the National Park Service. It was an uneasy transition, because local and regional Forest Service administrators opposed the monument. The Park Service took over U.S. Forest Service ranger stations. The Forest Service removed all fixtures from the Jackson Lake and Kelly Ranger Stations, essentially gutting them. "Movable equipment, as local Forest Service officials interpreted their instructions, included plumbing, bathroom fixtures, doors, cupboards, drawers, cabinets, and hardware. At the Jackson Lake Ranger Station, the Forest Service removed an underground water tank, which required cutting a four-foot-square hole in the floor. At Kelly, a kitchen range, hot water tank, pipes, and a built-in dinette and hutch were removed. As of 1945, both buildings were in poor condition. Forest Supervisor Kozoil was transferred, allegedly for these actions. Two years later, Grand Teton Superintendent Franke reported that local gossip circulated that Kozoil's promotion and transfer was a reward for this "active opposition" to the monument. Franke recalled another incident that occurred during the congressional investigation of August 1943, "which greatly aided our cause." About August 15, someone placed a live skunk in the Jackson Lake Ranger Station, which died in the building. Franke placed no blame, but an investigation indicated the culprit had a key to the building. "We made no statement of any kind, but a leak occurred somewhere, and the public placed blame on the Forest Service," believing they did it to prevent the congressmen from viewing the gutted building. However, Franke praised recent cooperation between the two agencies and urged Washington to let local offices resolve their differences quietly. [90]

Local supporters of the national monument also faced tough times. It took courage to openly support the extension. Olaus Murie, who emerged as a rational and articulate spokesman for the park in these years, recalled that: "card parties, dinner parties had their embarrassments if certain ones on the other side were present. In some inexplicable way an atmosphere was created in which one felt inhibited from even mentioning the subject. There was no such thing as getting together and talking it over." In 1948, Harold Fabian received a fourth-hand report that two businesses, Lumley's and Fred's Market, had been threatened with a boycott for their pro-park support. [91]

After the war, the time seemed ripe for compromise, although Congressman Barrett continued anti-park agitation. Between 1945 and 1947, he introduced three bills in Congress to destroy the monument, directly or indirectly. Two bills never left committees, and Barrett's H.R. 1330 died on the floor of the House. Hearings held on the last resolution indicated changing attitudes, as more than half of the statements favored the monument. In Jackson Hole, a local poll showed a shift; while 182 people still opposed the monument, 142 supported it, and a whopping 234 offered no opinion!

The rhetoric and misinformation distributed by park and monument opponents haunted them. Dire predictions, such as Governor Hunt's fear that "a large community will be disrupted and many people compelled to start anew in some other place," failed to materialize. Further, after the war, it became apparent that tourism pointed the way to the future. Roosevelt's prediction "that the resumption of tourist travel will result in a great deal more money flowing to Teton County and the State of Wyoming" was proving more realistic than the predictions of doom. [92]

park staff
The staff of the newly created Grand Teton National Park, 1929. Left to right: Fritiof Fryxell, Superintendent Samuel Woodring, Julia Woodring, Edward Bruce, and Phil Smith. Grand Teton National Park

In 1949, interested parties gathered in the Senate Appropriation Committee chambers and hammered out a compromise. The agreement resulted in the creation of a new Grand Teton National Park on September 14, 1950. The new park included most of the 1929 park and Jackson Hole National Monument. The law contained three significant concessions. Section Four protected existing grazing rights and stock driveways. Section Five allowed the federal government to reimburse the county for lost tax revenues, eliminating the most vexing stumbling block to compromise. Section Six provided for a controlled reduction of elk within the park boundaries, though this has been a contentious issue over the years. On December 16, 1949, with a solution apparent, John D. Rockefeller Jr., conveyed a gift of 32,117 acres to the United States government and its citizens. [93]

The new Grand Teton National Park of 1950 represented the culmination of 50 years work, often marred by bitter controversy. A small group of individuals had determined that it was in the national interest to preserve the Teton Range and much of Jackson Hole as a part of the National Park System and, eventually, they prevailed.

During this entire time, while the political controversy simmered and occasionally boiled over, the National Park Service endeavored to administer the park, beginning with the 96,000-acre Grand Teton National Park of 1929. First, the National Park Service had to establish a presence. Albright selected Samuel Woodring, the chief ranger of Yellowstone, to serve as the first superintendent. The first budget to talled $11,750. Edward Bruce became the first permanent ranger, and Julia Woodring, the superintendent's wife, worked as clerk. The two first seasonal rangers were Phil Smith and Fritiof Fryxell. Avid mountaineers, they completed many of the first ascents of the peaks in the Teton Range and picked a number of names for topographic features in the area, especially peaks. [94]

The staff resided and worked out of the old Elbo Ranch until they moved headquarters to the Stewart Ranger Station and developed an administrative and maintenance area. The superintendent's residence, rustic log houses, garages, and three maintenance buildings were constructed between 1934 and 1937 with New Deal funding and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) labor. The CCC added wings onto the Stewart Ranger Station in 1939, which served as park headquarters. Known as Beaver Creek, this area remained the headquarters until the fall of 1958, when operations were shifted to the new buildings at Moose. [95]

Vint, Woodrings, park staffer with wife?
Landscape architect Thomas C. Vint (far left), head of the National Park Service Design Bureau, on a visit to Grand Teton soon after the park was created. Superintendent and Mrs. Sam Woodring are on the far right. Grand Teton National Park

In 1930, the park received funds to improve roads, trails, and campgrounds at Jenny and String Lakes. Comfort stations with running water were to be built at the campgrounds. The Park Service allocated $66,800 for administration and developments in 1930. Woodring, using staff or contractors, built the patrol cabin at Moran Bay and one of the comfort stations at Jenny Lake, along with a water and sewer system in 1930. In addition, Woodring hired local workers to dismantle the Lee Manges cabin at Windy Point and move it to Jenny Lake. The Snake River Land Company had donated it to the park. By May, it had been reassembled for use as a temporary museum and office. The Jenny Lake Ranger Station served as the park's first visitor center and is used as a ranger station today. [96]

Between 1930 and 1932, the National Park Service constructed the Leigh Lake patrol cabin, which may have been built of logs salvaged from Stephen Leek's "clubhouse" at the north end of Leigh Lake. The String Lake comfort station was built in this period. It may have been moved to its present site after 1932. In 1932, a snowshoe cabin was built in Death Canyon for packers and the trail crew. One year later, a second comfort station was built at Jenny Lake. [97] Park Service architects designed buildings and structures specifically to conform to the landscape, launching a golden age of rustic log architecture, dubbed in recent years "parkitecture."

In 1931, the park received $74,427. In addition, $108,000 was spent on approach roads in Jackson Hole to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Concerned over the eyesore caused by dead trees along Jackson Lake, the Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation each put up $50,000 to begin a cleanup. [98]

During this period, the park issued permits to its first concessioners. Most were centered at Jenny Lake. A. C. Lyon conducted a saddle and packhorse outfit, Charles Wort rented boats for use on Jenny Lake, and Karl Kent operated the Jenny Lake Inn, known locally as the "Nest." Kent's operation was removed around 1931 or 1932. In 1931, photographer Harrison Crandall moved his rustic log studio from his former homestead near String Lake to Jenny Lake. Through a concession permit, he operated a photographic studio until the 1950s. The Teton Transportation Company, running bus service from the rail terminus at Victor, secured a permit to travel to Moran via the Jenny Lake Road. Other vintage concession buildings at Jenny Lake include the Wort boathouse and Kenneth Reimer's cabin, built about 1936. [99]

CCC camp
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp NP-4 at Jenny Lake operated from 1934 through 1942. Crews worked throughout the park, building roads, trails, houses, and other infrastructure. The two large buildings to the left still stand at the south end of Jenny Lake. Grand Teton National Park

The road from Menor's Ferry, past Jenny Lake, to Moran was a main highway through the valley, especially after the Bureau of Public Roads improved it and completed the bridge at Menor's Ferry in 1927. Grand Teton National Park widened, graded, and oiled portions of this road during these years and built at least seven vistas on the road along Jenny and Leigh Lakes. For example, in 1932, the park improved 12 miles of road in the park, including six miles oiled along the lakeshore and two miles oiled outside the north entrance. The most infamous road was the Leigh Lake Road. Woodring decided to build a road along the east shore of Leigh Lake to Bearpaw Lake. His superiors approved, for surveys began in September 1930. The road was built to the end of Leigh Lake about 1932. However, this road violated the 1929 enabling legislation, which prohibited the construction of new roads in the small park. Consequently, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes ordered its removal. By 1940, it was gone, angering a number of local people. [100]

Constructing trails was the highest of Superintendent Woodring's priorities. He envisioned a series of high standard trails for horse use. This did not sit well with either Phil Smith or Doc Fryxell, who believed primitive hiking trails more appropriate. Trails already existed, but were poorly developed and maintained. Indians and trappers had used trails in the Berry Creek drainage over Conant and Jackass Passes. Struthers Burt frequently rode a horse trail into Death Canyon. At the head of Death Canyon, a sheep drift crossed Fox Creek Pass and cut through a portion of the park. In 1921, the Forest Service improved the trail in Death Canyon, providing a route to the summit of the range. Crews packed a compressor into the canyon to drill holes for blasting. The Forest Service cut the Pemble Trail from south of Phelps Lake to Beaver Creek after the turn of the century. [101]

Inspecting trails in 1929, Woodring found them in fair condition, but believed they required "a great deal of maintenance" to meet Yellowstone standards. Horseback riders trekked regularly up to the Teton Glacier on a steep and hazardous trail. Woodring made the trip and scouted a new route. He noted, "There are wonderful possibilities for one of the best trail systems in the country at a reasonable cost." In the fall of 1929, a party of park employees and dude ranchers packed over the proposed Skyline Trail, scouting a route. [102]

The following spring, the park initiated work on the south loop of the Jenny Lake Trail, scouted and flagged by Fryxell. Another was to be built along the west shore of String Lake and connect with the now obliterated Leigh Canyon Trail at the outlet of Leigh Lake. The park planned a new trail to Amphitheater Lake and Teton Glacier. By the end of September, the Jenny Lake Trail had been completed, a quarter-mile trail connecting with the String Lake Trail. Also built was a 104-foot bridge across the String Lake outlet. In addition, more than four miles of switchbacks had been graded to Teton Glacier. Forest Service trails in the Bradley-Taggart Lakes area had been upgraded and realigned in some places. A log bridge, 96 feet in length, had been built near Bradley Lake. [103]

building construction
The superintendent's residence under construction by the CCC. The National Park Service Design Bureau in San Francisco designed the park's rustic buildings, which were carefully crafted to complement the natural setting. Grand Teton National Park

By the end of July 1931, the park had built or reconstructed 60 miles of trails and built dozens of bridges. The Valley Trail extended 20 miles from Phelps Lake to Leigh Lake. The Jenny Lake Trail had become very popular since its construction. In July 1931, a crew finished the 81-foot bridge at Taggart Creek. As many as 90 men were employed on trail work in 1931. This involved a considerable amount of rock work, requiring the use of compressors and explosives. [104] By the end of 1932, 50 miles of new trail, four-feet-wide, had been constructed over three seasons. In June 1933, crews connected the Cascade Canyon and Death Canyon Trails, completing a loop known as the Skyline Trail. By 1935, Grand Teton National Park had a well-developed trail system, totaling 90 miles. [105]

Grand Teton National Park was established just prior to the onset of the Great Depression. Despite tight budgets, the National Park Service managed to complete an extensive trail system, roads and a number of buildings, before Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the New Deal. This program provided new funds and an important source of labor, the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC was one of many programs intended to lift the nation out of the depression. Young men between the ages of 17 and 25 enlisted to perform conservation work on public land. Civilian Conservation Corps crews attacked projects that required intensive labor. Camps were set up at several locations in the valley, at Leigh Lake, Lizard Point, and "Hot Springs" near Colter Bay. In 1934, Camp NP-4, the most prominent camp, was built at the south end of Jenny Lake. CCC crews manned this camp through 1942.

downed trees
When the Bureau of Reclamation built Jackson Lake Dam, the shoreline trees were flooded and killed. One of the biggest undertakings by the CCC was to clear the thousands of acres of downed trees ringing the lake. Grand Teton National Park

Civilian Conservation Corps laborers worked on a variety of projects. The Superintendent's Report for August 1936 listed the following: landscaping headquarters; improvement and development of a campground at Jenny Lake; construction of fireplaces; construction of barriers at Jenny Lake campground; construction of table and bench combinations at Jenny Lake; construction of permanent employees' dwellings headquarters; extension of water system; Jackson Lake shore cleanup; trail construction at Phelps Lake-Granite Canyon and Teton Glacier-Garnet Canyon; telephone line construction at the headquarters at Death Canyon; maintenance and lakeshore cleanup; and general trail maintenance.

Without doubt, the most significant accomplishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Jackson Hole was the cleanup of dead and downed trees along the shores of Jackson Lake. Contractors worked on the project in 1931 and 1932. The CCC finished the job of cleaning up the bulk of 7,000 acres between 1933 and 1937. In September 1936, the superintendent of Grand Teton National Park reported that CCC crews were finishing the last 85 acres. "By next summer, Jackson Lake will present to the tourist a clean, natural beach," it was reported. Soon after, the United States entered the war in 1941, and the CCC program ended. The camps were dismantled. Several buildings from Jenny Lake, intended to be a temporary measure, were moved to other locations and remain in use today. [106]

During the struggle to add Jackson Hole to the park, the modern environmental movement emerged, led by people such as Aldo Leopold, Robert Marshall, Sigurd Olson, Howard Zahniser, and David Brower. In 1927, the Jackson's Hole Courier announced the arrival of a young biologist-naturalist named Olaus Murie. He had arrived fresh from Alaska, where the Biological Survey had employed him. The bureau instructed Murie "to make a complete study of the famous elk herd in Jackson Hole." His wife, Margaret (Mardy), and two babies followed him into the valley. Through his experience in Alaska and Jackson Hole, he moved from scientist to conservationist. In 1945, disenchanted with the lack of challenging projects and policies of the Biological Survey, Murie was ready for change. Offered the post as director of the Wilderness Society, he accepted, after an agreement was reached that he could work half time at half salary. But more important, he could direct the society's affairs from his ranch at Moose, Wyoming. Olaus and Mardy Murie had pooled their resources with his brother Adolph and Louise Murie to purchase the STS Dude Ranch.

Olaus and Mardy Murie
Olaus and Mardy Murie at their home near Moose. Both were respected wildlife authors who gained national prominence as leaders in the wilderness movement. Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum

From here, assisted by Mardy, Olaus Murie directed the Wilderness Society through a number of significant environmental battles until his death in 1963. Over the years, innumerable politicians and environmentalists have visited the ranch to formulate policy and discuss issues. Two Wilderness Society Council meetings were held at the ranch in 1949 and 1955. Living at the ranch, the Muries organized conservation lobbying efforts and political activities. He worked tirelessly for the establishment of an Arctic Wildlife Refuge and was a leader in the effort to stop the proposed Echo Park Dam in Dinosaur National Monument. He lobbied hard for years in behalf of national wilderness legislation, but died one year before the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. Murie attained national stature, helping set the course of the modern conservation movement. He was one of "a small coterie of trained leaders" whose studies, ability as a spokesman, and writings "earn him a prominent position in the ranks of American preservationists." Since 1963, Mardy Murie has stepped into the breach as a leader in the modern conservation movement. She continues to be active in environmental affairs today. [107]

It is a giant step from the Murie place to the first hints in 1897 at an extension of Yellowstone's boundaries into the Teton country. Conservation, represented by federal agencies such as the Forest Service and Park Service and the philanthropy of John D. Rockefeller Jr., is arguably Jackson Hole's most important historic theme, because of its impact on the character of this valley. For those who fought for conservation, Struthers Burt suggested the most suitable tribute, a national park as "a monument to the men who would help it along, with the Grand Teton as their headstone—that's big enough to fire any man's imagination." [108]

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Last Updated: 24-Jul-2004