Happy Presidents Day! Since 1789, forty-six men have occupied the office of President of the United States. Who’s your favorite? Was it the one who fought to unify the country during the Civil War? (Lincoln, obviously.) Or the one who got stuck in a bathtub? (Taft. Look it up.) Or the one who inspired the country to fight back against the alien invaders threatening our freedom? (That one wasn’t real. That was in a movie. Sorry.) Here at Flat Creek, we don’t play favorites. However, we have a soft spot for each of the presidents who visited nearby Grand Teton National Park and probably driven past Flat Creek. Here’s the list:
The first record we can find of a sitting president in visiting Grand Teton National Park is Richard Nixon, who posed for a photo on the shores of Jackson Lake in 1971. The visit was part of his “Legacy of Parks” proposal to extend and improve the US National Parks system. See a video clip here.
Seven years later, Grand Teton once again hosted a sitting US president when Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn vacationed here. Carter never signed any legislation that directly impacted the park, as far as we can tell, but he did take an interest in conservation. He signed the Alaska National Interest Conservation Act, which created ten new national parks and enlarged three others.
Bush (the first one)
George and Barbara visited many national parks during their days in the White House, including the Everglades, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and many more. Grand Teton was among those stops.
Bill Clinton visited the park with his family in 1995 to witness the release of wolves in the wild. During their stay, a thunderstorm dumped icy hail on the party. One particularly quick-witted park ranger quipped, “Hail to the chief.” We’re sure Clinton saw the humor in it at the time.
Bush (the second one)
George W. Bush took a break from official duties to stay with a family friend in 2002. That’s pretty much all we know.
Donald Trump, to our knowledge, has not visited the park. However, his wife Melania visited in 2019, meeting up with a group of elementary school children on a field trip to promote the Every Kid Outdoors program.
We have no record of our current president, Joe Biden, visiting the park as a sitting president. However, in 2014, as Vice President, he spent four nights with his family in a lakeside cabin overlooking Mount Moran.
Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He knows who he’s going to vote for this year, but he’s not super happy about the choices.