The Bush administration has accepted the gift of a family ranch valued at $30 million from environmental lawyer and philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller to expand Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The National Park Service plans to turn the 1,106-acre JY ranch into an education center with a trails system and interpretive complex to educate the public about the park's history and ecology. The Rockefeller family will continue to use the ranch for three years, then spend two years helping the Park Service prepare it for the public.
Rockefeller's father, John D. Rockefeller Jr., donated more than 11,000 acres to the federal government and helped devise a land-buying scheme that created the park in 1929. A strip of federal land connecting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks is named for him.
"My father was inspired by this uniquely magnificent landscape three quarters of a century ago and adding the 1,100 acres of the JY to the park completes his vision, which I share,'' said Rockefeller at a May 26 ceremony attended by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton.
The Park Service will assume ownership and operation of the ranch in 2006.