Crucible for Conservation
With its unmatchable mountains and broad vistas, it is difficult today to imagine that the land of the Tetons could be anything but a national park. But for over fifty years, the question of national park status remained unsettled as a myriad of public and private interests fought for control over Jackson Hole and the Tetons.
Many divergent views of conservation and land use had their hearing in Jackson Hole during the long struggle to establish the Park. Rugged individualists, cattlemen, Easterners, "New Dealers," "state's righters," state of Wyoming officials, Forest Service personnel, and Park Service leaders all wanted hegemony over Jackson Hole and the Tetons. The way in which they cajoled, fought, sued each other and ultimately resolved the issue is a classic case in the difficulties of park-making. Grand Teton National Park is thus no product of chance, but rather the design of men and women working in a noble cause. What they achieved was, Righter suggests, "perhaps the most notable conservation victory of the twentieth century."
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