Only you can prevent a forest fire!

smokey

Most of us grew up with Smokey’s motto and as we learn more about fire ecology we find we don’t always want to prevent a forest fire.

Fire is important for nutrient recycling, plant diversity and overall landscape health. 

When a fire burns through an area it essentially speeds up the decomposition process and recycles phosphorus, nitrogen and other elements back into the soil.  This creates a nutrient rich area that is now open to sunlight, where sun loving plants can now grow uninhibited. 

The most important thing about fires is that they need to be managed!  The Fire Managers at Grand Teton National Park do just that as they try to balance natural forest health while protecting people and property.

 Fire managers use a variety of plans to achieve their goals:

  • They closely monitor natural fires!  When lighting strikes and sparks a fire, crews take minimal action unless it threatens lives or property. 
  • They use a control burning method!  This can occur for several reasons which include restoring early vegetation environments, diversifying habitats, and to burn accumulated fuels to minimize the risk to developments.  They usually burn in the spring or fall when the weather conditions are more favorable. 
  • They also monitor regrowth areas both immediately after the fire and over the long term to learn more about fire ecology.

If you are interested in seeing the fire scars of Grand Teton National Park, take a hike near Jenny Lake, Taggart Lake or Colter Bay.  

Now does this mean you can leave your campfire unattended?  NO, of course not!  You still need to prevent unsupervised fires! Give yourself an extra hour to burn down your fire, and always be sure to keep enough water nearby to squelch any flair-ups.  Also be aware of Park regulations and report any unattended fires!

Do you want to know more about fire management?   Than check out the NPS website at http://www.nps.gov/grte/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm

Want to know more about the fires currently burning in Grand Teton National Park visit: www.tetonfires.com

From Melissa’s Corner
Image credit: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/environmental-destruction-agency-making-parks-coal-friendly.php

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Take A Walking Tour Through Menor’s Ferry Historic District

A visit to Menor’s Ferry Historic District opens a window on Jackson Hole life as it existed in the late 1880’s.  Site of a once vibrant commercial enterprise, this piece of touchable history witnessed the spark of conservation which led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park and protection of Jackson Hole.  Some visitors leave touched with the inspiration that the struggle for conservation continues even today.

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William D. Menor arrived in the valley known as Jackson Hole in 1894.  Settling on the bank of the Snake River, he found farming to be a difficult way to make a living.  He put to work to design and construct a ferry which became a vital river crossing for early settlers to the valley.  A simple platform was set on two pontoons.  A cable system was stretched across the river that kept the craft from floating down river yet let it move sideways, powered by the current, to the opposite river bank.  Early fees charged were 25¢ for a rider and horse and 50¢ for a wagon and team of horses.  Menor built a bridge for winter crossings and dismantling it each spring.

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Menor sold out to Maude Noble in 1918.  She doubled the fares, hoping to earn a living from the growing number of tourists traveling to the valley.  Nobel charged $1 for local autos and $2 for out of state vehicles.  She moved her three room cabin to the property shortly after purchasing the business and took up permanent residence.  She continued to ferry an increasing number of visitors and even opened a store called the Ferry Ranch Store.

As Jackson Hole continued to develop, concerns turned to conversations until one evening in 1923, a group of local residents met with Horace Albright, then superintendent of Yellowstone National Park.  The meeting place was Maude Noble’s cabin and the conversation centered around how to protect the “Old West” character of the valley.   Albright was an ardent conservationist who had witnessed the Owens River completely diverted for supply Los Angeles with water.  He understood the issues.

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In 1926, Superintendent Albright met John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and aroused his interest in saving the valley.  Rockefeller described the Tetons as “quite the grandest and most spectacular mountains I have ever seen.”  The seed was planted for a lengthy struggle.

Mr. Rockefeller’s Snake River Land Company began to acquire property in the valley.  Meanwhile, Congress established Grand Teton National Park in 1929 – just the Teton Range and some of the glacial lakes at the foot of the mountains.  In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Jackson Hole National Monument consisting of federal lands in the valley.  In 1949, Rockefeller donated over 32,000 acres and combined with the National Monument, Congress established the present Park in 1950.

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Bill Menor’s three room cabin stands as a living display of his early commercial enterprise.  A replica of his ferry is on display and occasionally operates, ferrying visitors across the Snake River.  The Transportation Shed houses a collection of early wagons and coaches representing frontier transportation.  The Chapel of the Transfiguration sits on land donated by Maude Noble and is still operated by St. Johns Episcopal Church in Jackson.  And finally, Maude Noble’s Cabin still stands as an iconic reminder of the decade’s long struggle for conservation of Jackson Hole and the Teton Range.  On display are wonderful photographs of early life in Jackson Hole and correspondences between Mr. Rockefeller and Congress.

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Be sure to take time during your visit to tour Menor’s Ferry Historic Center, one of the Park’s best pieces of touchable history.  Perhaps you will touched with a thought that the struggle for conservation continues today.  Through understanding comes appreciation and through appreciation comes protection.

Take advantage of Grand Teton Lodge Company’s Give and Getaway Program on September 22-23, 2009 and enjoy a private interpretive tour of the Menor’s Ferry Historic District along with the opportunity to participate in the removal of a mile of fence line to improve wildlife migration in Grand Teton National Park.  For more information on this program please call 800-628-9988.  Rates start at $120 per room at Jackson Lake Lodge.

From Don’s Corner
All images were taken by Don Wells

Wildlife Crossing In Grand Teton National Park

“Pay Attention:  Wildlife On Road!” 

 This sign greets all visitors to Grand Teton National Park, but let me be the first to tell you it is absolutely true!  You never know when you will have something or a herd of “somethings” dash in front of your car… and let’s just say some of the animals in this park will take on a truck and win!

Let’s just take a quick look at a few of the animals I have had cross my path since arriving her in May!

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A relatively large elk…

Now this buckaroo, decided to mosey across the road right in front of our car.   We were lucky we saw it in time because he would have caused a lot of damage!

 

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A Bison…

This guy really doesn’t seem to care who is on the road…but I recommend staying far away from him as they can run up to 30 mph without warning!  In this case, I guess he decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the road!

 

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A Moose….

As we came around the bend in the road, she was right in sight.  Luckily she was just beginning the cross and quickly headed into the brush so other cars wouldn’t be surprised by her!

 

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A Grizzly Bear….

This guy is definitely the king of our forest.  So when he crosses your path, you definitely want to stop!

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A Car Jam!

I’d say the most dangerous road hazard in Grand Teton National Park can be the other drivers, so pull to the side of the road if to stay clear of other Park visitors if you do see something of interest!  Most speedlimits within the park are 45 mph, that’s to help avoid an encounter with an animal.  We know there is a lot of open road, but the wildlife is abundant as well, and staying safe is everyone’s top priority!   Keep your eyes open because you never know when a bear, moose, elk or bison jam is going to sneak up on you!  

 

From Melissa’s Corner!

Wet N’ Wild ~ Kayaking on Jackson Lake

 

Kayaking is not a new sport to me; however that doesn’t mean I’m ready to barrel roll down the rapids! That being said, I’m perfectly happy to rent a kayak from the Colter Bay Marina and take in a paddle on Jackson Lake.  Last weekend, my boyfriend Sy and I did just that!

 

Melissa & Sy Kayaking Jackson Lake
Melissa & Sy Kayaking Jackson Lake

Having done this once before, Sy and I lathered up with sunscreen, donned our safe and stylish life vests, and pushed off into the calm waters of the Marina. We decided on a relaxing paddle around the closest bays, and are very happy we did!

The bays were filled with active water birds.  As we paddled along we watched bald eagles soar overhead, an osprey defend its territory, and saw a blue heron and spotted piper hunting for their lunches along the shore.  We’d like to share some of our photos from that day with all of you!

 

This Bald Eagle Decided that branch looked like a good landing spot.  I love this photo because it reminds me of a flagpole topper!  This guy had a very busy morning.  He soared high above us hunting for his next meal and was chased by the Osprey.  He definitely deserves a nice rest!

 

Our Bald Eagle Sighting
Our Bald Eagle Sighting

This Osprey kept his eyes open for that pesky Bald Eagle.  It was very cool watching him dive bomb the Eagle as he chased him from his territory!

 

The Guardian Osprey
The Guardian Osprey

Can you spot the spotted sandpiper?  I’ll give you a hint….he’s brown and white and is standing on a branch.   

 

The Shy Sandpiper
The Shy Sandpiper

That’s right, he’s right in the middle of the photo.  This Sandpiper was so interesting to watch as he chattered and bobbed his way along the shore! 

  

This Blue Heron was searching the shoreline for some lunch.  I almost paddled right by him until he started moving.   

A Blue Heron Struts Along
A Blue Heron Struts Along

 He was quite shy and flew away when I got closer to him. 

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So if you are in the Tetons this summer, Sy and I definitely recommend coming out to Jackson Lake for a paddle!  If the wildlife is not particularly active that day at least you the have gorgeous view to keep you company!

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From Melissa’s Corner (of the lake)!

Jackson Lake Lodge Walking Tour

I’ve recently noticed a bronze plaque that stands right outside the portico of Jackson Lake Lodge.  It celebrates the buildings claim to being a historic buliding.  It got me thinking about how little I know about the history of my new home as I am an employee of Jackson Lake Lodge.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a Historic Walking tour of the Lodge that didn’t require me to meet at a certain time or place, instead I just had to pick up a guide at the Activities Desk and get to walking. 

The tour begins right inside the front door in the lower lobby.  The phone booths, Arts for the Parks paintings and the staircase are some of the highlights of this space.  But my favorite tidbit was about the Indian Dress behind the Front Desk.  Did you know that it is an original dress that was used for parade or pow-wow purposes? Apparently, at one time it hung in the Stockade Bar, until it was stolen by some wranglers who cut it in half.  You can see where they stitched it back together right across the bust line.    Indian Dress

 From here we head upstairs to the Upper Lobby.  Of course the first thing you notice about this room is the amazing view!  The windows are 36 feet high and 60 feet wide and look out over Willow Flats, Jackson Lake, the Dam and the Tetons themselves.   

windows

When you finally stop looking at the view, the tour takes you into the Mural Dining Room where you are able to check out the Rendezvous Murals.  Carl Roters painted the two murals at the request of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. not long after the hotel opened.  It took him two years to paint the ten panels that span two walls and make two complete murals. All together they total nearly 80 feet and they depict the events and people who participated in the 1837 Rendezvous.

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 The next stop on the tour is the Pioneer Grill.  This place is great as it feels like something you would find in an old movie.  I feel like I should have a poodle skirt on as I order my huckleberry shake and sit in the swivel stools at the counter. 

 Pioneer Grill Server

Apparently this room is the same as it was back at the opening of the building in 1955.  Snaking throughout the room is one large, continuous counter and it is rumored to be the longest in the US.  Even if you don’t stop for a bite or drink, definitely check out the pictures on the wall and the items over the kitchen!

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 After my little snack, I then headed back out to the lobby where I checked out the giant fireplaces (seriously I would be able to walk into them unhindered!), the old Stockade Bar (now a gift shop) and the Peace Table.  Interesting fact about this table is that it was an old door that they took off the hinges and made into a table to host the 1989 Baker-Shevardnadze peace talks between Russia and the US.  Talk about a doorway to peace!  peaceOn my way back to the Main Lobby I went down the “Historic Hallway.”  This display is pretty cool because there are all sorts of old photographs and documents about the history of the park and area.  Definitely something to check out!  

Finding myself back in the lobby, I actually take the time to check out the other displays.  There are several islands with Indian artifacts, as well as a stuffed grizzly bear and trumpeter swan.  I never realized how large these two species are!    I also took the time to look up at the ‘wooden’ beams above, which aren’t actually wood but reinforced concrete that were stained to look like wood.  You couldn’t tell by looking at this building, but it is made almost completely of concrete!

 

 The last stop inside the building is at the Blue Heron Lounge.  This bar was one of the few additions to the building when it replaced the Stockade Bar.  Here is the place to go if you want a drink and to take in a great view!   The decorations in here are quite cool too and include various Indian artifacts like headdresses and moccasins.  You’ll also find the only television at Jackson Lake Lodge and a painting called “The Trapper’s Bride” by Charles Banks Wilson. 
 
From here there are several outdoor activities you can do ~

Lunch tree

 You can head up Lunch Tree Hill and check out the view that is said to have inspired a legacy or…

You could head out to the corrals to check out some of the vintage buses.

I did a bit of both and would definitely recommend doing this tour yourself as I learned so much about this remarkable place!

From Melissa’s Corner

Two Incredible Days on the Paintbrush-Cascade Canyon Loop

 

Looking at the Tetons from the Mural Room window, it was hard to imagine canyons between the mountains.  Actual canyons?  Like the Grand Canyon?  Coming from New Jersey, this was a difficult concept to wrap my brain around.  The plan was to hike through Paintbrush Canyon, camp for the night (after getting a back-country camping permit), and cross the Paintbrush Divide into Cascade Canyon.  From there, we’d end the trip at the Jenny Lake ferry.  The canyons could be hiked separately as day hikes as well, but our group was fired up to give camping a shot.  Driving up to Jenny Lake, we saw the route – journey into one side of a mountain and come out the other.  We had a long trek ahead of us!

Paintbrush Canyon
Paintbrush Canyon

The trip started at the String Lake trailhead, curving up through cool mountain forests.  All of a sudden, we came upon a clearing where the view opened up to Paintbrush Canyon.  It took us a few minutes to stop gasping at how beautiful the streams, flowers, and mountains were that surrounded us.  The sight was truly a treasure to see, one of the most spectacular I’ve seen anywhere.  The climb was steady, but not too taxing, and we made it up to our “Outlier” campsite after about five miles.  We set up camp, took a few more pictures, and called it a night.

The next day, we climbed three miles to Paintbrush Divide, passing by carpets of wildflowers and mini lakes created by moving glaciers millions of years ago.  You feel small next to these gigantic and ancient landforms, but awed by their incredible beauty.  Reaching the Divide at 10,700 feet, we felt like we were standing on top of the world!  The views were breathtaking, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

View From Paintbrush Divide
View From Paintbrush Divide

From the Divide, the rest was all downhill – quite a relief after the climb we just had!  We descended into Cascade Canyon, stopping to relax on the shores of Lake Solitude.   It seemed like a fantasy: idyllic hidden lake surrounded on all sides by snow-covered mountain peaks.   It just kept getting better and better!   The Canyon was out of this world!   As I came to realize, the Canyon was simply a deep valley edged by mountains, with a stream flowing through.   We wound our way through the Canyon, past cascading streams and quite a few marmots.   It was humbling to be in the shadow of the Grand, and we got closer to this range’s highest peak as we pushed through the Canyon.   After a few miles, the trail made a turn into a dense forested area.   This new change in scenery came complete with a moose!   It’s amazing how you see wildlife when you least expect it.

View of Lake Solitude
View of Lake Solitude

The loop also included a visit to a few of the most popular sights on Jenny Lake, Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls.   After winding through the two canyons, it was wonderful to see a different view out onto the lake from Inspiration Point.   From this spot, we were close to the ferry, but had just missed the last ride of the night (for future reference, the last trip is at 7 pm).   With our last adrenaline kick, we finally made it back to the Jenny Lake parking lot.

Those two days definitely opened my eyes to how incredible the Tetons really are.   I’ll never forget looking up at the Grand, watching waterfalls cascading down the face of a mountain, awing at a field of multi-colored wildflowers.   I just couldn’t believe how many jackpot views were contained on this hike, and all so close to the Lodge.   This loop will be a tough one to beat!

From Ellie’s Corner

GTLC Fun Facts

Grand Teton Lodge Company began as a transportation company.

Jackson Lake Lodge was built in 1955.

Colter Bay is comprised of 166 guest cabins that are all authentic settler’s cabins from around Grand Teton National Park.  Each cabin was moved from its previous location to Colter Bay Village to provide lodging for guests visiting the national park.

Jenny Lake Lodge is the only inclusive and award-winning hotel in Grand Teton National Park ~ recognized by Conde Nast, Travel + Leisure, AAA, Mobil, Fromer’s, Food & Wine and many other prestigious entities.

Grand Teton Lodge Company has it’s own butcher shop, bakery, laundry facility, grocery store and recycling center all on-site within Grand Teton National Park.

Jackson Lake Lodge houses the only pool in Grand Teton National Park.

Each cabin at Jenny Lake Lodge is named after a native wildflower.

Grand Teton Lodge Company employs an Interpretive Specialist who focuses on training and guest programs to enhance Park visitor experiences.

Jackson Lake Lodge (we believe) is the largest meeting location within a National Park.  With over 17,000 sq ft of meeting space and 385 guest accommodations, meetings are affordable and inspiring.

We are proud to host nearly 30 weddings each summer….and many more happy anniversaries!

Gros Ventre Campground is the closest campground to the town of Jackson with over 300 campsites available making it easy to enjoy the Park and play in Jackson!

Jackson Lake Lodge is 20 miles from the entrance to Yellowstone and approximately 1 1/2 hours from Old Faithful.

Grand Teton Lodge Company is certified to the standards of the International Organization for Standarization (ISO) for 14000 (Environmental), 9001 (Quality) and was the first hospitality organization in the US to acheive this 9001 certifications.  These third party certifications ensure we are providing a quality operation with environmental standards in place to protect our unique setting.

We’ll provide a few more facts in upcoming blogs.  In the meantime, do you know a few you’d like to share with us about GTLC or the Park?  If so, we’d like to hear from you….