Harrison R. Crandall: Creating a Vision of Grand Teton National Park

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Southeast of Jackson Lake, glacial depressions known as kettles are numerous. The kettles were formed when ice situated under gravel outwash from ice sheets melted as the glaciers retreated. Most of the lakes in the park were formed by glaciers and the largest of these lakes are located at the base of the Teton Range. Within the Teton Range, small alpine lakes in cirques are common, and there are more than scattered throughout the high country.


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Through the comparatively level Jackson Hole valley, the Snake River descends an average of 19 feet per mile 3. The major peaks of the Teton Range were carved into their current shapes by long vanished glaciers. During the Pinedale glaciation, the landscape visible today was created as glaciers from the Yellowstone Plateau flowed south and formed Jackson Lake, while smaller glaciers descending from the Teton Range pushed rock moraines out from the canyons and left behind lakes near the base of the mountains. Grand Teton National Park has some of the most ancient rocks found in any American national park.

During the late Cretaceous , a volcanic arc west of the region deposited fine grained ash that later formed into bentonite , an important mineral resource. From the end of the Mesozoic to present, the region went through a series of uplifts and erosional sequences. These deposits also have trace quantities of gold and mercury. Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding region host over 1, species of vascular plants.

The range of altitude in Grand Teton National Park impacts the types of plant species found at various elevations. Slightly more elevated sections of the plains of the northern sections of Jackson Hole form forest islands with one such obvious example being Timbered Island.

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In this ecotone, forested islands surrounded by sagebrush expanses provide shelter for various animal species during the day and nearby grasses for night time foraging. While the flora of Grand Teton National Park is generally healthy, the whitebark pine, and to a lesser degree the lodgepole pine, are considered at risk.

Started in 1929 in Wyoming

In the case of the whitebark pine, an invasive species of fungus known as white pine blister rust weakens the tree, making it more susceptible to destruction from endemic mountain pine beetles. The incidence of blister rust on whitebark pines in Yellowstone National Park is slightly lower than in Grand Teton. While general practice in national parks is to allow nature to take its course, the alarming trend of increased disease and mortality of the vital whitebark pine trees has sparked a collaborative effort amongst various government entities to intervene to protect the species.

Sixty-one species of mammals have been recorded in Grand Teton National Park. Relatively common sightings of coyote , river otter , marten and badger and occasional sightings of cougar , lynx and wolverine are reported annually. Of the larger mammals the most common are elk, which exist in the thousands.

Other ungulates in the park include moose, bison , and pronghorn --the fastest land mammal in the western hemisphere. The park's moose tend to stay near waterways and wetlands. Over species of birds have been sighted in the park including the calliope hummingbird , the smallest bird species in North America, as well as trumpeter swans , which is North America's largest waterfowl. The sage covered plains of Jackson Hole are favored areas for sage grouse , Brewer's sparrow and sage thrashers , while the wetlands are frequented by great blue heron , American white pelican , sandhill crane and on rare occasions it's endangered relative, the whooping crane.

Various researchers have not been able to identify any genetic differences between the Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout and the Yellowstone cutthroat trout , though in terms of appearances, the Snake River subspecies has much smaller spots which cover a greater portion of the body, and the two subspecies inhabit different ecological niches. Other non-native species of trout such as the rainbow trout and lake trout were introduced by the Wyoming Fish and Game Department or migrated out of Yellowstone.

Only four species of reptiles are documented in the park: three species of snakes which are the wandering garter snake , the less commonly seen valley garter snake and rubber boa , as well as one lizard species, the northern sagebrush lizard , that was first reported in None of the species are venomous.

Grand Teton National Park permits hunting of elk in an effort to keep the populations of that species regulated. Hunting is restricted to areas east of the Snake River and north of Moran, Wyoming, the hunt is permitted only east of U. Route The role of wildfire is an important one for plant and animal species diversity.

Regions of the park that have experienced wildfire in historical times have greater species diversity after reestablishment than those regions that have not been influenced by fire. One study conducted 15 years before the Yellowstone National Park fires concluded that human suppression of wildfire had adversely impacted Aspen tree groves and other forest types.

Grand Teton NP: A Place Called Jackson Hole (Chapter 18)

However, levels of ammonium and nitrogen have been trending slightly upwards due to deposition from rain and snow that is believed to originate from regional agricultural activities. The station is designed to check for various pollutants as well as ozone levels and weather. A study of the water of Jackson, Jenny and Taggart Lakes indicated that all three of these lakes had virtually pristine water quality.

The plant hardiness zone at Jenny Lake Visitor Center is 4a with an average annual extreme minimum temperature of Grand Teton National Park is a popular destination for mountain and rock climbers partly because the mountains are easily accessible by road. Climbers do not need a permit but are encouraged to voluntarily register their climbing plans with the National Park Service and inform associates of their itinerary. An average of 4, climbers per year make an attempt to summit Grand Teton and most ascend up Garnet Canyon to a mountain pass called the Lower Saddle, which is between Grand Teton and Middle Teton.

On a connecting ridge and just north of Grand Teton lies Mount Owen, and though lower in altitude, this peak is considered more difficult to ascend. Middle Teton is another popular climb that is most easily summited from a saddle between it and South Teton.

Well north of Grand Teton lies Mount Moran, which is further from trailheads and more difficult to access and ascend. The Direct South Buttress of Mount Moran provides a vertical mile of climbing that was considered the most difficult climb in the U.

Harrison R. Crandall, Creating a Vision of Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park has five front-country vehicular access campgrounds. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway. All campsites accessible only on foot or by horseback are considered backcountry campsites and they are available by permit only, but camping is allowed in most of these backcountry zones year-round.

The National Park Service has a combination of specific sites and zones for backcountry camping with a set carrying capacity of overnight stays per zone to protect the resources from overcrowding. Ranging from moderate to strenuous in difficulty, trails leading into the canyons are rated based on distance and more importantly on the amount of elevation change.

There are four designated boat launches located on Jackson Lake and one on Jenny Lake. Additionally, sailboats, windsurfers and water skiing are only allowed on Jackson Lake and no jet skis are permitted on any of the park waterways. There are also restrictions as to the seasonal accessibility to certain areas as well as the types of bait and fishing tackle permitted. Visitors are allowed to snowshoe and do cross-country skiing and are not restricted to trails. However, in , winter use planners closed this since unguided snowmobile access into Yellowstone National Park was also discontinued.

Opened in to replace an old, inadequate visitor center, the facility is named for the late U. Vernon Indian Arts Exhibit since The Colter Bay Visitor Center was built in and was determined in to be substandard for the proper care and display of the Indian arts collection. Rockefeller Preserve Center is located on land that was privately owned by Laurance S.

10 Great Things to See and Do in Grand Teton National Park!

Rockefeller and is situated on Phelps Lake. This visitor center is within the Jenny Lake Ranger Station Historic District and is the same structure photographer Harrison Crandall had constructed as an art studio in the s.

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Contracted through the National Park Service, various concessionaire entities manage lodging facilities inside the park. Located near Jackson Lake Dam, the Jackson Lake Lodge has a total of rooms, meeting facilities, a retail shop and a restaurant. The Grand Teton Lodge Company also manages the Jenny Lake Lodge , which consists of cabins and a restaurant and Colter Bay Village, which has cabins, a restaurant, a grocery store, a laundry and a marina. The peak is located immediately to the west of Moran Bay on Jackson Lake, and rises more than 4, ft 1, m in less than 0. Moran Canyon is situated to the south of the mountain and Snowshoe Canyon lies to the north.

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