Everything seems so busy in July. Tourists trying to soak in all that Grand Teton National Park has to offer, whether they have 3 hours or 3 days. Road construction delays, testing everyone’s sense of patience and relaxation. The sun is intense, the weather dry, with an occasional dynamic thunderstorm for dramatic effect.
And then someone like George Schaller comes along and wants to float down the Snake River.
If you don’t know who George Schaller is, just read the article in this week’s Jackson Hole News and Guide and imagine yourself, at 23, walking up to Olaus Murie and asking “hey, can I be a volunteer assistant on your expedition to Alaska?” And don’t forget to imagine yourself in 1956. No neoprene, or gortex gear to keep you comfortable, and no mp3 or idevice to keep you entertained.
Schaller’s conservation passion wasn’t limited to Alaska and the creation of the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge. Central Africa, Tanzania, Nepal, Brazil, and China were just a few of the place where he worked, and advocated for conservation. Mountain gorillas, mountain lions, snow leopards, jaguars, and panda bears have all been blessed by Schaller’s efforts. Add THAT to your resume!
And yet, when he joined Barker-Ewing for a scenic float through Grand Teton National Park, if you didn’t know what he looked like, you’d never know you were in the presence of greatness. Such a kind and quiet individual. Just like Mardy Murie. Jane Goodall (is there a pattern here?)
Thank you for the visit, George Schaller. You reminded us why what we do IS so important–keeping the sense of wonder alive. Congratulations on the Spirit of Conservation Award; it is more than well-earned, and deserved!
Established in 1963, Barker-Ewing Float Trips has been sharing the beauty and wonder of Grand Teton National Park with visitors from around the world for 50 years, floating beneath the Grand Tetons on the headwaters of the Snake River.