AssetID: 78458565 / Comstock / Grand Teton National Park , Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park is a United States National Park located in northwestern Wyoming . Approximately 310,000 acres (130,000 ha) in size, the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile (64 km) long Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole . Only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park , the two parks are connected by the National Park Service managed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway . These three protected areas in conjunction with surrounding National Forests constitute the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem , which at almost 18,000,000 acres (7,300,000 ha), is one of the largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems in the world.
Human history of the Grand Teton region dates back at least 11,000 years, when the first nomadic hunter-gatherer Paleo-Indians would migrate into the region during warmer months in pursuit of food and supplies. In the early 19th century, the first caucasian explorers encountered the eastern Shoshone natives . Between 1810 and 1840, the region attracted various fur trading companies which vied for control of the lucrative beaver fur. Organized U.S. Government explorations to the region commenced in the 1870s as an offshoot of exploration in Yellowstone. The first permanent settlers in Jackson Hole arrived in the 1880s. Efforts to preserve the region as a national park commenced in the late 19th century and by 1929, Grand Teton National Park was established, protecting the major peaks of the Teton Range. The valley of Jackson Hole remained in private ownership until conservationists led by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in the 1930s began purchasing land in Jackson Hole to be added to the existing national park. Against public opinion and with repeated congressional efforts to repeal it, much of Jackson Hole was also set aside for protection as Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943. In 1950 the monument was abolished and most of the monument acreage was added to Grand Teton National Park.
Grand Teton National Park is named for Grand Teton which is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. At 13,775 feet (4,199 m), Grand Teton rises abruptly more than 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above Jackson Hole and is almost 850 feet (260 m) higher than Mount Owen , the second highest summit in the range. The park has numerous lakes, including 15 miles (24 km) long Jackson Lake as well as streams of varying length and the uppermost reaches of the Snake River . Though in a state of recession, a dozen named small glaciers persist at the higher elevations, and can be found only near the highest peaks in the range. Some of the rocks found in the park are the oldest found in any U.S. national park and have been dated at nearly 2.7 billion years.
Being an almost unspoilt ecosystem, the same species of flora and fauna that have existed since prehistoric times can still be found in Grand Teton. More than 1000 species of vascular plants , dozens of species of mammals, 300 species of birds, more than a dozen fish species and even reptiles and amphibians exist. Due to various changes in the ecosystem, some of which are human-induced, efforts to provide enhanced protection to some subspecies of cutthroat trout and the increasingly threatened Whitebark Pine , have been implemented.
Recreational opportunities abound and the Park is a highly popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, fly fishing and other pursuits. Backcountry camping is available by permit and is highly regulated to prevent overcrowding, while more than 1000 drive in campsites can be found throughout the park. Grand Teton has several visitor centres which are managed by the National Park Service and contract facilities which operate motels, lodges, gas stations and marinas.
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