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Happy Establishment Day, Grand Teton National Park!

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On February 26, 1929, President Calvin Coolidge established Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming (he technically used an executive order, but with congressional backing). At the time, the park was about 96,000 acres and excluded the valley of Jackson Hole, which was designated a scenic preserve, allowing ranching operations to continue there. But John D. Rockefeller, Jr. had a plan to change that.

Rockefeller first toured the region in 1926, guided by Yellowstone Superintendent Horace Albright. Of course, Yellowstone National Park is just 10 miles north of Grand Teton, so Albright knew his way around—and he wanted the Grand Teton area to be added to Yellowstone. (Not incidentally, Yellowstone was the first National Park, established in 1872.) At the time, the area around Jackson Hole was a popular tourist destination, where ranchers catered to eastern tourists ("dudes") who wanted to check out real western cattle ranches.

Rockefeller so enjoyed the Grand Teton experience that he spent the next few decades quietly buying up land in the area through his Snake River Land Company, ultimately acquiring 35,000 acres of Jackson Hole land—much to the consternation of local ranchers. He donated that land to the federal government in 1949, and it was added to the park along with some additions made by FDR in 1943. In 1972, Congress named the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, connecting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, to commemorate his massive gift. Today the park encompasses almost 310,000 acres.

Although visiting the park is the best way to enjoy it, the magic of YouTube can get you part of the way there. Here are some videos for your enjoyment!

TIMELAPSE

This beautiful timelapse video from National Geographic shows the quintessentially western landscape of the park.

RELAXATION VIDEO (4K)

This slow, beautiful Ultra HD video pairs scenic park footage with relaxing sound design.

VARIOUS SCENIC VIEWS (4K)

This video shows various views of the park in Ultra HD. For details of each location, check the YouTube description.

MORE INFORMATION

For more on Grand Teton National Park, check out the official website. Be sure to check out the History and Culture section!

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All National Parks Are Offering Free Admission on April 21
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Looking for something to do this weekend that's both outdoorsy and free? To kick off National Park Week, you can visit any one of the National Park Service's more than 400 parks on April 21, 2018 for free.

While the majority of the NPS's parks are free year-round, they'll be waiving admission fees to the more than 100 parks that normally require an entrance fee. Which means that you can pay a visit to the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, or Yellowstone National Parks without reaching for your wallet. The timing couldn't be better, as many of the country's most popular parks will be increasing their entrance fees beginning in June.

The National Park Service, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, maintains 417 designated NPS areas that span more than 84 million acres across every state, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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National Park Fees Are Increasing—Here's How Much You'll Have to Pay This Summer
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If your summer plans include a visit to one of our national parks, you may need to squeeze a few extra dollars into your vacation budget. As Money reports, America's most popular parks are raising their prices starting this June.

At parks that already charge entrance fees, visitors can expect to see those costs rise by about $3, $5, or $10. The price hike isn't all bad news for people who have been following this story closely. The National Park Service originally planned to increase vehicle entrance fees in 17 parks from $30 to $70 during peak seasons, but following intense criticism, the Department of the Interior (which oversees the park service) went with a less extreme change. The new prices—which apply to per-vehicle, per-person, per-motorcycle, and annual park passes—will go into effect by June 1 at the most popular national parks and by 2019 or 2020 at other sites.

As traffic through national parks has exploded in recent years, the infrastructure that keeps them running has taken a hit. The Interior Department claims it's shouldering $11.6 billion in overdue maintenance costs for the parks, and a boost in revenue can help them tackle more.

Canada's national parks, meanwhile, have gone the opposite direction with their admission system. Earlier in 2018, they announced that entrance fees would be waived for all visitors under 18, and the full price for adult visitors would remain less than $10 on average.

To see how the U.S.'s price hike might affect you, check out the increase in single-vehicle passes for the most popular national parks below.

Acadia National Park: $25 to $30

Arches National Park: $25 to $30

Bryce Canyon National Park: $30 to $35

Glacier National Park: $30 to $35

Grand Canyon National Park: $30 to $35

Grand Teton National Park: $30 to $35

Joshua Tree National Park: $25 to $30

Mount Rainier National Park: $25 to $30

Olympic National Park: $25 to $30

Rocky Mountain National Park: $30 to $35

Shenandoah National Park: $25 to $30

Yellowstone National Park: $30 to $35

Yosemite National Park: $30 to $35

Zion National Park: $30 to $35

[h/t Money]

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