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!
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.