Story by Beckett Alexander Maher

Celebrating 100 Years of Our National Parks

The New Park
March 26, 1929
My toes are getting colder by the minute. I can’t believe I was picked to come to our country’s
newest Park. Grand Teton National Park has 96,000 acres of beautiful scenery and wild animals. At the
moment, I am standing on Signal Mountain and tomorrow we journey into Jackson’s Hole. Tomorrow
evening we will venture to Mormon Row where they are building the Moulton Barn.
I wiggle my toes to get the blood flowing. I wish I could get toasty by a fire. Being over 7,000
feet is really different than being at sea level. The big lake between me and the Tetons is putting off
moisture, and it’s really making it colder. Despite my complaining, I’m having a blast being in the Park. I
strap on my snow shoes, (which really look like tennis racquets). When I stand back up from tethering the
leather straps, I hear people screaming. I can’t figure out if it is a mule deer, bison, pronghorn, elk or
moose. This is very extreme. Just then I have my first ever grizzly bear encounter. I am weighed down by
my sack of beans, paint and gallon of water. All the others have fled and it’s just me. I remember when
Calvin Coolidge signed the executive order with Congress’ approval on February 26 th . The next day a
Congressman called and invited me to be a part of the Park’s inauguration. I am already exhausted from
painting a picture of Niagara Falls. Now here I am about to get mauled by an eight-foot-tall grizzly. I
freeze, what am I going to do? I remember my training, look away from the bear and back away slowly.
Only to feel the air rush past me as the bear is hot on the trail of an unsuspecting young deer. My favorite
aspect of Grand Teton National Park is the wildness. It’s a good thing that the grizzly left me alone. Later,
I am able to simmer down and get to the business of painting.
Photographer William Henry Jackson, took a picture of three of the Teton Peaks. He was one of
the major factors in making and approving the Park. The same year he took the photograph, Yellowstone
National Park had been established. Superintendent Horace Albright was nervous that the lakes in the
Jackson area would get dammed up. The people of Jackson’s Hole pushed back, begging for the lands to
be preserved and become a separate park. It included the Teton Range, its signature peak, Grand Teton
over 13,000 ft. and at least twelve peaks over 12,000 ft.
Brown, blue, green, gray, white and black, I set up my pallet. I had heard that upon seeing the
Grand Teton Mountain Range from the Snake River lowlands, Horace Albright’s first thought was that he
had “never beheld such scenery.” He coined it the “Alps of America.”
The next day, I am on Mormon Row watching the building of the Moulton Barn. A father and his
sons are building a ranch gate as part of the barn. When they are done for the day, I walk around to the
back and see the Grand Teton perfectly encased within the ranch gate’s frame. I move my canvas and
paints and start anew hoping to have enough time to finish before sundown.
I love feeling the smooth pine needles and hearing the water rush in the streams. I love being able
to see the Tetons and the rest of the beautiful landscape. Now I, Thaddeus Monroe fancy I have to capture
it all.
Albright, Horace M., as told to Robert Cahn, The Birth of the National Park Service. Salt Lake City, UT:
Howe Brothers, 1985.
National Geographic Kids. National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA Centennial Edition:
The Most Amazing Sights, Scenes, and Cool Activities from Coast to Coast! Washington, DC: National
Geographic Children’s Books, 2016.
Online Resources:
https://en.wikipediaorg/wiki/Grand Teton National Park
Macye Maher