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Jackson Hole Fact Sheet

Location
Jackson Hole is located in the Northwest Region of Wyoming with Grand Teton National Park occupying most of the Valley. It is also a gateway to Yellowstone National Park. The "Hole," as early trappers called the valley, is 48 miles long and 8 to 15 miles wide. The Town of Jackson (Teton County Seat) is located in the southern end of the valley.

Getting Here
Fly United, Delta and American to the recently remodeled Jackson Hole Airport, from Denver, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Dallas. You will also find many one-stop flights arriving daily year-round. All the roads leading in and out of Jackson are well maintained and provide safe travel for passenger vehicles.

Getting Around
Once you're in town, getting around is easy. Rental car service is available or you may choose to take a taxi, limousine or the local START bus (which is free for in-town travel). Motor coach buses, vans and people movers are available for large groups and parties.

Climate
Spring (late April-mid June)
Mild days and cold nights interspersed with rain and occasional snow. Valley lakes usually thaw by late May depending on snow-pack with snow levels remaining just above the valley elevations until mid-June. Valley wildflowers begin blooming as the snowmelts, peaking in June and July. An average high in the 60s and average low in the 30s.

Summer (late June and August)
Warm days and cool nights prevail, with afternoon thundershowers common. The snow level gradually retreats, with divides between the mountain canyons free of snow by August. As the valley wildflowers fade, canyon and alpine wildflowers peak. An average high in the 80s and average low in the 40s.
Fall (September – early November)
Sunny days and cold nights alternate with rain and snowstorms. Aspen and cottonwoods change color in the late September and early October. As snow becomes persistent by late fall, elk move to wintering areas at lower elevations. An average high in the 60s and average low in the 20s.

Winter (late November – early April)
Snow blankets the mountains and the valley, with accumulations of ten feet common in the mountains and two to five feet in the valley. Between storms, sunny days and frigid nights provide perfect conditions for winter photography, wildlife viewing and snowshoeing, as well as downhill and cross-country skiing. An average high in the 30s and average low in the single digits or low teens.

Annual Averages
Precipitation: 16.23 inches
Snowfall in town: 75 inches
Average snowfall at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort (December-March): 298 inches

Population and Elevation
The year-round population of the Town of Jackson is 9,631 and it is 6,500+ feet above sea level.

Accommodations
Choose from a variety of lodging options spanning Jackson Hole, including hotels and motels ranging from 90-year-old historic treasures to contemporary lodges. Select from a cozy cabin or cottage. Bed and breakfasts feature down comforters and antique décor. Condos and short-term vacation homes cater to those desiring privacy, convenience and a kitchen. Ranches and resorts provide a more rustic experience. For the real budget-conscious traveler and true outdoorsman, plenty of campgrounds and RV parks are available.

For More Information
Pick up a copy of the Jackson Hole Explorer Magazine or visit us online at www.jacksonholechamber.com.
You will find a plethora of information on local activities, lodging, dining, transportation and a detailed calendar of events. Visitors in town can visit the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located just a half-mile north of the Town Square on Cache Street.

Jackson’s National Park Neighbors

Jackson Hole, WY - World-class skiing, fishing, scenic touring and other activities draw thousands to the Jackson Hole area each year. Yet the spectacular region is probably best known throughout the world as the home of three one-of-a-kind parcels of public land and the wildlife they protect. Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge are treasures belonging to all American citizens. Each of the three preserves was created by different means and at different points in history, yet the ingredients and goals in each case were constant: a group of visionary individuals came together to safeguard a precious, one-of-a-kind place for future generations.

The very idea of the national park—public lands owned by a federal government, rather than by a state, city or other lesser governing body—is perhaps the greatest conservation gift any country has bequeathed to the world. The concept was born in this region when the Organic Act of 1872 established Yellowstone, the world’s original national park.

In 1871, Dr. Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden, a Civil War veteran and government geologist, was sent west armed with the mission of exploring the Yellowstone region. Among the men in his party was William Henry Jackson, an Omaha-based photographer whose influential photos from this trip—photos of geysers, wildlife, mountain peaks and other spectacular natural features—proved key in the drive to create Yellowstone National Park. (The photographer’s surname, incidentally, was not the inspiration for the moniker given to Jackson Hole; that honor goes to David E. “Davy” Jackson, a mountain man on the scene decades earlier.)

Also accompanying Hayden in 1871 was Nathaniel P. Langford, who, during the previous summer, had been a member of the Washburn-Doane-Langford Expedition of 1870. Destined to serve later as Yellowstone’s first superintendent, Langford became the most outspoken advocate for the movement to protect the unusual landscapes and bizarre thermal features found in the Yellowstone country. “This new field of wonders,” he implored in speeches to the citizens of major Midwestern and Eastern cities, “should at once be withdrawn from occupancy, and set apart as a public National Park for the enjoyment of the American people for all time.”

Langford helped draft the language of the act to create the park, which passed the U.S. Senate in January 1872 and the House of Representatives a month later. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill into law on March 1 of that year, establishing Yellowstone—a park that not only attracted and thrilled an ever-growing number of visitors through the ensuing years, but also inspired the creation of many additional national parks, both here and abroad.

Although Jackson Hole was the scene of considerable activity during the beaver-trapping era of the 1830s, permanent settlers came to the valley relatively late. It’s written that only about 60 people lived in Jackson Hole when Wyoming gained statehood in 1890. When the first white settlers did arrive, they found themselves sharing the valley, during the long winters, with reportedly as many as 25,000 wild elk. In fact, the town of Jackson was built on a portion of the traditional winter range of the “wapiti” (a name derived from the Shawnee word for “white rump”). As low-lying valley lands were homesteaded, the elk found themselves forced to surrender more and more of their critical winter habitat to the cattle industry. The elk also got themselves into trouble, and often killed, for doing what came naturally: raiding ranchers’ winter hay supplies.

The problem came to a head during the uncommonly tough winters of 1909 through 1911, when massive winterkills occurred among the elk herds. This greatly disturbed some local citizens, who understood that adequate winter range was imperative for the continued existence of the herds—and that the elk were good for the Jacksonites’ souls as well as their economy. The immense die-offs prompted residents to ask the Wyoming Legislature to push for action by the federal government, and they got results: On August 10, 1912, an act of Congress appropriated funds to purchase land for a new National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole. Within four years, the refuge had grown to encompass more than 2,700 acres. Today, the National Elk Refuge covers an area of 25,000 acres, representing roughly 25 percent of the elk winter range in pre-settlement Jackson Hole. Sprawling along the east side of U.S. Highway 89/191, it reaches from the north edge of Jackson to the small settlement of Kelly.

Grand Teton National Park is the youngest of Jackson Hole’s trio of public-land gems, and the road to its creation was a long and often bumpy one. Whereas Yellowstone took only two years from inception to establishment, the development of Grand Teton National Park in its present form took more than 20 years and three government acts. In 1912, Struthers Burt, an author from back East, co-founded the Bar BC Ranch, one of Jackson Hole’s earliest dude ranches. Burt suggested early on that a “museum on the hoof” should be created in the spectacular, mountain-ringed valley, wherein ranching interests would join forces with the tourist-servicing trade to slow down commercialization. At the time, developers were rapidly making inroads in the area, even proposing dams at the outlets of Jenny Lake and Two Ocean Lake as early as 1919.

In July 1923, a seminal gathering took place at the cabin of Maude Noble, proprietor of the Snake River ferry at Moose. There, Yellowstone National Park superintendent Horace Albright met with several citizens who shared Burt’s values: wanting to preserve a slice of the “Old West,” a place with minimal commercial development where the traditions of hunting, grazing, and dude ranching could continue, rather than the restrictions that came with national park status. Rather, these citizens. The group devised a plan to identify and persuade a rich benefactor to purchase private lands in Jackson Hole. That special person would then pass the lands on to the federal government for inclusion in whatever form their park wound up taking.

The formative Grand Teton National Park was established in 1929, when President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill creating a 96,000-acre preserve that included much of the Teton Range and the six primary lakes at the eastern foot of the mountains. Dissatisfied with the minimal scope of the new park, Albright and company pressed on, working with their patron, the legendary tycoon John D. Rockefeller, Jr. While visiting the Tetons in 1924 and 1926, Rockefeller had at once been stunned by the grandeur of the scenery and taken aback by what he saw cluttering the magnificent natural setting: ramshackle cabins and deserted, rusting automobiles surrounding Jenny Lake, for instance. Gas stations, billboards and telephone lines marred much of the remaining landscape.

The wealthy Rockefeller bought into the group’s proposal, and soon his representatives began purchasing valley properties anonymously, under the name Snake River Land Company. Ultimately, they snapped up more than 35,000 acres for around $1.4 million. Rockefeller deeded most of these lands to the federal government in 1949—after 20 years of waiting for the government to act—to enhance the existing Jackson Hole National Monument, a lowlands preserve established in 1943 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A few years later, in 1950, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill that merged the 1929 park and the 1943 monument, forming the 310,000-acre Grand Teton National Park as we now know it.

The controversies surrounding the way the park was established caused deep rifts among the citizenry of Jackson Hole in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Time heals most wounds, however, and today you’d be hard-pressed to find valley locals who aren’t grateful for the protection provided by national park status.

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