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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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environment
Sequoia Sent to Idaho by John Muir Will Be Uprooted and Moved Two Blocks
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Around 1912, naturalist/explorer/national parks advocate John Muir sent four sequoia seedlings to a forester friend in Boise, Idaho. Only one of those trees still remains in the city today, and after standing in the same spot for a century, it’s about to get a change of scenery.

As the Associated Press reports, St. Luke’s Health System is spending $300,000 to move the sequoia two blocks away to make room for the expansion of a hospital. Weighing 800,000 pounds and towering 10 stories above the ground, the workers tasked with moving the tree have their work cut out for them. The relocation project will start the afternoon of Friday, June 23 with the tree company lifting the six-foot thick trunk from the ground and placing it onto a rig of inflatable, rolling tubes. The tree will begin its two-block journey at midnight Saturday and is expected to arrive at its new home on city property 12 hours later.

The company has never transported a tree this size, but they estimate their chances of success to be 95 percent. If the tree doesn’t survive the trip, the city will lose a piece of its history. St. Luke’s realized this when laying out their construction plans—hospital spokeswoman Anita Kissée told the AP that cutting it down “was never an option.”

While sequoias have evolved to withstand fire and disease, laying down roots in a new place is sure to put stress on the behemoth. The relocation crew plans to transplant the soil currently supporting the roots as well to increase the tree's likelihood of surviving for centuries to come.

[h/t AP]

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Spend an Hour Watching Yellowstone National Park
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As spring roars on, vacation season seems far away. But if you've got YouTube access, you can bring a taste of Yellowstone National Park home. In the video below, we see an hour of slow, beautifully photographed shots from the park, along with sound. It's basically a combination relaxation/nature video.

Before you get to tune in, a few quick facts. Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, and was the first national park in the United States. It has been inhabited by Native Americans for about 11,000 years. And it sits atop a giant volcano.

Enjoy:

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