Just think how a little stream with clear water and pebbles meanders into larger streams, rivers, lakes – providing such a powerful force that benefits, and sometimes threatens, life and land.
The Grand Teton National Park provides many opportunities for observing simple landscape to recreation, including survival. The Snake River flows into Jackson Lake, providing delight to rafters and boaters alike. Jackson Dam controls the water to benefit habitat downrange, and beyond.
May we let the streams flourish for ourselves and others, maintaining control to prevent overflow of the banks and damage to all. May we use controls within and without to benefit ourselves and others as well.
I wondered what type of ranches developed in Wyoming even before the Grand Teton National Park was established in the early 1900s. Upon research, it is interesting how people traveled from the eastern side of the U.S. to explore and settle in the western U.S.
The Homestead Act of 1862 established by President Abraham Lincoln was apparently a key piece of legislation that would entice easterners to move west.
The Homestead act created a public land management system that allowed individuals traveling to the west to acquire land for free. Sign me up, right? However, the land no doubt was taken years ago.
A homesteader was an individual 21 years of age or older, the head of a household and someone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government. When the act was signed, the U.S. had just finished its first year following the end of the Civil War.
It appears Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was a central location that supported ranchers throughout the Teton Range, including the establishment of “dude ranches.” For instance, experienced dudes, Struthers Burt and Dr. Horace Carncross opened Jackson Hole’s second dude ranch in 1912, the Bar BC Ranch. Burt described dude ranching as cattle ranching modified to care for “dudes”—visitors willing to pay handsomely for a quaint cowboy experience.
In addition to those traveling from the east to establish land ownership, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, sent parties from the Salt Lake Valley to establish new communities and support their expanding population.
Mormon homesteaders, who settled east of Blacktail Butte near the turn of the 19-century, clustered their farms to share labor and community, a stark contrast with the isolation typical of many western homesteads. These settlers first arrived in the 1890s from Idaho establishing a community (named Grovont by the U.S. Post Office), and known today as “Mormon Row.” https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/historyculture/mormon.htm
The area surrounding Jackson Hole still reminds travelers of the western life and the open terrain of the Teton Range. When we visited the town of Jackson, it had the feel of a tourist attraction with many shops and restaurants. It is a nice place to shop and explore though, and it still has a lot of history to examine.
Can you imagine the journey west as the pioneers and settlers traveled thousands of miles from the eastern U.S. to explore the west, looking for further freedom to claim land, pursue their dreams and establish homes with families?
Native American lives were impacted greatly as the frontier was being explored by those seeking better lives. Let’s not forget their struggles and desires to live peacefully and pursue their dreams as well.
Imagine the hardships, rocky terrain, streams, wildlife and challenges along the way. Many lost their lives. Many fell short of their dreams. Many arrived. Many fulfilled their dreams.