As you drive down Highway 191 between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming you can, on a clear day, catch glimpses of the tops of the mountains over the trees. These snippets don't begin to prepare you for the view when you finally round the corner into full view of the Tetons. What to this point had been viewed like a jigsaw puzzle, a peak here, a slice of a glacier there, now comes into full view and stops you in your tracks. Luckily, whoever designed the road knows it and has provided you with an endless number of pull outs to stop at. Whether it is your first time visiting, or you've been coming for your entire life, the feeling never changes. A quick intake of breath as your eyes sweep across the peaks that stretch out as far as you can see. It's views like this that stick with you forever, but always seem new when you see them again. For me, no matter how long it's been since I was there last, that moment has always felt like coming home.
Imagine then, what it must have been like to be the first people to come across the peaks. A range like this directly impacts the community around it. For this post I'm going to look at 3 ways it's impact is presented to the visiting public. I'll be focusing on the Visitor Center/Museum at Colter Bay, Cunningham's Cabin and the Guided Rafting and Trail Rides which leave from Jackson Lake Lodge. Each looks at the unique landscape that has shaped this area, but does so in a way that reaches visitors in different ways.
The National Park Service strives to provide visitors with multiple ways to experience the wonders of the natural world across the United States. Museums allow for visitors to see artifacts and exhibits that give them a window into how people might have lived, historic buildings such as Cunningham's Cabin give visitors a literal window into what it might have felt like to live at the foot of the Tetons in the 1800's and guided tours let visitors get out and experience it first hand in a way similar to how the first visitors might have. These things, while drastically different in their mode of delivery, combine to provide visitors with information about how the Tetons impacted the area in the past as well as the present.
Additional Photographs of the Tetons
Images: all images (unless otherwise noted) are property of Kate Elstad
Condition of Rare Indian Artifacts Reveals Deficiencies at National Park Service Museum- NY Times, 2011
Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan- NPS
David T. Vernon Collection- Grand Teton National Park Foundation
Grand Teton National Parks Activities
Historic American Buildings Survey- Library of Congress
Historic Murders at Deadman's Bar
JP Cunningham Cabin - NPS Website
Wild & Scenic Raft Trips- Grand Teton Lodge Company
Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office- National Register of Historic Places
This page is my home for all my studies. Initially started when I was a graduate student at Syracuse University in Library & Information Science:School Media, it has seen me through that degree plus a CAS in Cultural Heritage Preservation.
Starting in the Fall of 2018 I will use it for my newest endeavor, a certificate in Native American Studies at Montana State University.
On occasion I will also post interesting articles or my thoughts on things related to my job as a Middle School Librarian in an Expeditionary Learning School.