The U.S. Congress established the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway on August 25, 1972. Saturday, August 25, 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of this distinctive national park unit created explicitly to honor Mr. Rockefeller and his important contributions to the conservation and preservation of remarkable places throughout America and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To commemorate this milestone, several special activities are planned.
In 1972, Congress established the JDR Memorial Parkway, “…for the purpose of commemorating the many significant contributions to the cause of conservation in the United States, which have been made by John D. Rockefeller, Junior, and to provide both a symbolic and desirable physical connection between the world's first national park, Yellowstone, and the Grand Teton National Park, which was made possible through the efforts and generosity of this distinguished citizen.” Today, the JDR Memorial Parkway encompasses 24,000 acres of land connecting Yellowstone and Grand Teton, as well as almost 80 miles of Highways 89 and 191 from Grand Teton’s south boundary to West Thumb in Yellowstone.
A series of programs will take place on Saturday, August 25, to recognize the unsparing philanthropy that John D. Rockefeller, Jr. demonstrated over his lifetime. His work and generosity led to the conservation of such places as Acadia, Grand Teton , Great Smoky Mountains, Mesa Verde, Shenandoah, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Virgin Islands. Mr. Rockefeller’s devoted stewardship will be the focus of the day.
To begin the day’s celebration, a program will take place at 10 a.m. at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose. This program will merge the past with the future and include: presentations by local high school students taking part in the Pura Vida Latino outreach program; an announcement about a new program that will connect the Jackson area Class of 2016 with Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway; an announcement about a scholarship competition for local students: a keynote address by Clay James—retired CEO of Grand Teton Lodge Company and current liaison between the Rockefeller Senior Associates and the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve—who will recount his lifetime experiences working with Mr. Rockefeller and his family; and the introduction and distribution of a new publication which offers a driving tour of Rockefeller-related sites in Grand Teton and the JDR Memorial Parkway. Cake and refreshments will also be provided, complements of the Grand Teton Association. Making a connection with the Class of 2016 is one of many ways that Grand Teton and the JDR Memorial Parkway plan to emphasize the National Park Service’s upcoming centennial with its timeless pledge to future generations.
The following additional programs will also be offered:
1:00 pm – Colter Bay Cabin Walk: Join Grand Teton Lodge Co. historian Mary McKinney to learn about development of Colter Bay and the role of the Rockefeller family. Meet at the Colter Bay cabin rec hall.
9:00 pm – For Future Generations: The Story of America’s National Parks: Join Ranger Doug Crispin for a slide-illustrated program about the history of America’s national parks featuring Rockefeller’s contributions. Meet at the Colter Bay Amphitheater, just west of the Colter Bay Visitor Center
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott and her staff invite visitors and local residents to celebrate the life and contributions of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and mark the 40th anniversary of his namesake.