Archive for August, 2011

Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park

The transition began in 2001, when the 90-year-old Laurence S. Rockefeller – John D. Jr’s son, who had honeymooned at the ranch in 1934 – announced that it would become the “LSR Preserve,” and include a state-of-the-art Visitors Center crafted from recycled native woods.

Hikers can now take a four-mile loop trail to the crystalline Phelps Lake, passing through spectacular mountain landscape that has not changed since the Shoshone Indians roamed here over a century ago. What visitors won’t spy are the 30 log buildings that once made up the JY: Before the Rockefellers bought it in 1932, it had operated as Wyoming’s first dude ranch, but as part of the 2007 donation, all man-made structures were carefully removed along with seven miles of asphalt roads and 1,500 tons of building materials, to return the lake to its pristine state.

Even so, it is easy to imagine the JY in its heyday, when a string of rough-hewn cabins with wooden furniture and stone fireplaces stood above the alpine lakeside. To this idyllic frontier outpost, Rockefeller family members would arrive from the East every summer to indulge in hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting and horseback-riding – outdoor pursuits not so very different from those enjoyed by the Shoshone in warmer months.

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