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10 Elevated Facts About Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton earned its place as one of the 10 most-visited national parks in the country by welcoming over 2.5 million people to the alpine-esque wilderness of Wyoming each year. Located just 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, the popular destination has a history filled with as many highs and lows as the mountain range within its boundaries. Here are a few things you might not know about this 310,000-acre attraction.

1. THE TETON RANGE BOASTS BOTH AGE AND YOUTH.

The park’s iconic feature, the 40-mile-long Teton Range, is the youngest range in the Rocky Mountains. In fact, they are actually some of the youngest mountains in the world. Still, the rocks in the park are some of the oldest in North America.

2. THE PARK WAS ESTABLISHED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1929.

Despite extreme opposition, President Calvin Coolidge approved the original 96,000-acre park on February 26, 1929. This act protected the Teton Range and six glacial lakes but not nearby Jackson Hole.

3. PARK CONTROVERSY SPARKED A CATTLE-DRIVE PROTEST.

Although conservation of Jackson Hole was important, residents were opposed to expanding the national park into the valley. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Jackson Hole National Monument by presidential proclamation in 1943, ignoring public disapproval. In response, infuriated ranchers led over 500 cattle across the designated land, led by movie star Wallace Beery.

4. THE PARK WAS ESTABLISHEDAGAIN—IN 1950.

Both during and after World War II, Wyoming and its senators kept fighting to undo the monument’s creation. But every time the senators or the state got close to repealing the designation, it would get vetoed. Eventually, both sides recognized that this fight was going nowhere and both sides agreed to the national monument being added to the original park and Grand Teton National Park was re-established. But in exchange, ranchers were allowed their existing grazing rights, the elk herd would be managed in part by the state which would allow supervised hunting, and Wyoming was exempted from the Antiquities Act that allowed the president to unilaterally designate National Monuments, meaning that any new National Monuments in the state had to be agreed upon by Congress.

5. JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, JR. WAS PRO-PARK FROM HIS FIRST VISIT.

After John D. Rockefeller, Jr. visited northwest Wyoming in 1924 and 1926, he was convinced to purchase land in Jackson Hole that he would eventually donate to the federal government. Rockefeller created the Snake River Land Company to protect his identity (and keep the land prices reasonable) as he bought the property. He held onto the 35,000 acres for 15 years before threatening to sell it, which many believe prompted FDR to create Jackson Hole National Monument.

6. THE MYSTERY OF AMERICA’S FIRST MOUNTAIN MAN LIVES ON AT GRAND TETON.

John Colter, largely considered to be America’s first mountain man, explored the country’s wilderness after departing from the return trip of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806. While historians know where Colter’s journey began and ended, there are no truly accurate records regarding his whereabouts in between. However, a human-head-shaped stone found in Idaho in 1931 could provide some insight. The stone is engraved with “John Colter” and “1808.” The Colter Stone hasn’t been authenticated, but if it’s real, its original location could confirm Colter’s travels through the Teton Pass. The stone has been displayed in a museum at one of the park’s visitor centers.

7. THERE’S A COMMERCIAL AIRPORT ON PARK GROUNDS.

Grand Teton is the only U.S. national park with a commercial airport. The Jackson Hole Airport was built in the 1930s and became part of the Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943. When the monument was absorbed into Grand Teton National Park, the airport came with it.

8. BIRDS OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES FLOCK THERE.

The trumpeter swan, the largest waterfowl in North America, can be found at Grand Teton. At the other end of the size spectrum, you might also spot the calliope hummingbird, the smallest bird species in North America, as you hike through the area.

9. IT'S HOME TO SOME OF THE WORLD’S SPEEDIEST WILDLIFE.

Jim Sorbie, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Along with dozens of other mammals, pronghorns reside in the park. As the fastest land mammal in the western hemisphere, they are capable of reaching speeds up to 70 mph. (But according to the park’s website, they don’t like to jump fences.)

10. THERE ARE GLACIERS ON THE MOUNTAINS.

When visiting Grand Teton, see if you can find all 12 of the small glaciers in the park’s peaks. About half of them are found in the higher elevations of the Cathedral Group, the name given to a collection of the tallest peaks in the Teton range. Some of the named glaciers include Schoolroom, Triple, Falling Ice, and Skillet. The largest of the glaciers is Teton Glacier, found on the north side of the Grand Teton peak.

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euphro, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
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geography
Mount Jackson Loses Spot as UK's Tallest Mountain After Satellite Reveals Measurement Error
euphro, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
euphro, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Geography textbook writers, take note: The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has just made a major correction to its old data. As Independent reports, satellite imagery reveals that Mount Hope in the British Atlantic Territory is 1236 feet taller than previously believed, unseating Mount Jackson as the UK’s tallest peak.

BAS realized the old height was incorrect after surveying mountains in Britain’s Antarctic territory using satellite technology. Inaccurate measurements pose a threat to planes flying over the mountains, and with the mapping project BAS intended to make the route safer for aircraft.

Prior to the survey, Mount Jackson was thought to be the tallest mountain in the British Atlantic Territory and the greater UK at 10,446 feet, the BBC reports. But after reviewing the new elevation data, BAS found that Mount Hope bests it by just 180 feet. Reaching 10,627 feet at its summit, Mount Hope is officially Britain’s tallest mountain.

Historically, mountains were measured on the ground using basic math equations. By measuring the distance between two points at the base of a mountain and calculating the angle between the top of the mountain and each point, researchers could estimate its height. But this method leaves a lot of room for error, and today surveyors use satellites circling the globe to come up with more precise numbers.

Because they’re both located in Antarctica, neither of the two tallest mountains in the UK is a popular climbing destination. British thrill-seekers usually choose Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, as their bucket-list mountain of choice—but at just 4413 at its highest point, climbing it would be a breeze compared to conquering Mount Hope.

[h/t Independent]

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Courtesy of Sotheby's
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History
Found: A Rare Map of Australia, Created During the 17th Century
Courtesy of Sotheby's
Courtesy of Sotheby's

More than 40 years before Captain James Cook landed on Australia’s eastern coast in 1770, renowned Dutch cartographer Joan Blaeu created an early map of the Land Down Under. Using geographical information gleaned from Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in the 1640s, it was the first map to include the island state of Tasmania and name New Zealand, and the only one to call Australia “Nova Hollandia.”

Very few copies—if any—of the 1659 map, titled Archipelagus Orientalis (Eastern Archipelago), were thought to have survived. But in 2010, a printing was discovered in a Swedish attic. After being restored, the artifact is newly on display at the National Library of Australia, in the capital city of Canberra, according to news.com.au.

The seller’s identity has been kept under wraps, but it’s thought that the map belonged to an antiquarian bookseller who closed his or her business in the 1950s. For decades, the map sat amidst other papers and books until it was unearthed in 2010 and put up for auction.

The National Library acquired the 17th century wall map in 2013 for approximately $460,000. After a lengthy restoration process, it recently went on display in its Treasures Gallery, where it will hang until mid-2018.

As for other surviving copies of the map: a second version was discovered in a private Italian home and announced in May 2017, according to Australian Geographic. It ended up selling for more than $320,000.

[h/t news.com.au]

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