I HAVE today approved S. 3409, which establishes a new Grand Teton National Park in the State of Wyoming.
This legislation is a significant achievement in assuring the continued use and enjoyment by the public of one of the most majestic and colorful areas of our country. The new park comprises all of the existing Grand Teton National Park, together with most of the adjoining lands that were set aside in 1943 as Jackson Hole National Monument. This consolidation rounds out the park area by including in it the historic Jackson Hole Valley and the foreground of the spectacular Teton mountain range. The terms of the new act will make it possible to go forward with the recreational development of the area on a sound and enduring basis. Those relatively small portions of the national monument that are not included in the new park will be added to the National Elk Refuge and the Teton National Forest, where they will be administered for appropriate conservational purposes.
The new law also contains a number of features which are designed to recognize the interests and wishes of the people living in the immediate vicinity of Grand Teton National Park. It makes provision for payments out of park revenues to compensate the county government for tax losses on lands acquired for park purposes during the transitional period while recreational values are being developed. It provides for the continuance over a period of years of existing leases or permits authorizing residential or grazing use of Federal lands within the park area, and establishes other safeguards for the protection of the ranchers who now cross or use these lands. It specifies detailed procedures for the management of the elk herd which migrates through the region where the park is located, and accords the State of Wyoming a voice in determining the size at which the herd shall be maintained and the occasions when reductions shall be undertaken.
These special provisions are, of course, intended to take care of particular circumstances in the Grand Teton area. Naturally, this does not mean that such provisions ought necessarily to be approved for other national parks or monuments.
The development of this legislation has required very careful study by the congressional committees and the Federal and State agencies concerned. The legislation provides a practical and equitable solution of the controversial issues which, in the past, have impeded effective use of the lands incorporated in the new Grand Teton National Park. S. 3409 offers a promising base for effective administration of these lands in the public interest.