By Robert W. Righter
Captures the definitive, hard-won conflict for the maintenance of Jackson gap and Grand Teton nationwide Park.
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Extra resources for Crucible for conservation: the creation of Grand Teton National Park
According to wildlife authority Olaus Murie, when Europeans first arrived on the North American continent, elk were the most widely distributed of the deer family. 13 Gradually these noble creatures were dispossessed of their forage and browse by the mounted Plains Indians and the onrushing Americans. It was to the broad forests and lush meadows of the Yellowstone region that the elk retreated, seemingly safe from the molestations of man. In Yellowstone, however, they encountered a new adversary.
Yet, when historian Chatelain made his observation, the Jackson Hole issue was eighteen years and many reams of paper away from solution. The subject warranted more than an article. Unmistakably, the creation of Grand Teton National Park was a classic case in the difficulties of park making, and although the focus might be local, the subject was national in scope. While the establishment of Yellowstone Park was a case of simplicity, Grand Teton was one of complexity. Also, it became apparent that the park was a triumph of man's patience and determination, for the park was no product of chance, but rather of men acting deliberately in a noble cause.
The conservation movement influenced land use decisions throughout the American West, but no more profoundly than in Jackson Hole and the surrounding mountains. The movement is complex and escapes any easy definition. We can see, however, that the American people began to reevaluate their natural resources with a sense of uneasiness. 17 Men like Carl Schurz, John Wesley Powell and William John ("W J") McGee began to realize that our resources were finite, and that we must adopt policies of wise use rather than continued abuse and waste.
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