The Jackson Hole Wilderness Rendezvous

In 1954, Howard Zahniser drafted the basis for what would become the 1964 Wilderness Act at Mardy Murie’s cabin in Grand Teton National Park. The Jackson Hole Wilderness Rendezvous celebrates the 50th anniversary of that historic document with interpretive walks, art exhibitions, wilderness youth expos, a Field Naturalists’ Observation Workshop and an historical reflection, by Ed Zahniser, on his father’s role in the Wilderness Act.

Jackson Hole Wilderness Rendezvous events are free. Registration is not required for most events. See below for details.


Program Overview:

On October 12, 2014, wilderness supporters will gather in Jackson to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act through an organized effort entitled the Jackson Hole Wilderness Rendezvous.

The Murie Center, in partnership with the Wyoming Wilderness Association, SHIFT, and other local conservation-minded organizations, are coordinating the various Rendezvous public events that will showcase our area’s wild lands, teach the history of Jackson Hole’s contribution to the Wilderness Act, and educate, inspire and involve the community in the ongoing protection of our natural resources.

The Jackson Hole Wilderness Rendezvous will provide opportunities for all residents and visitors to participate in exploring the wild lands that make Jackson Hole a place we cherish.

Schedule of Events

8:15 a.m.: Interpretive Ranger-led Nature Walk on the Murie Ranch’s “Around-the-World-Trail”. 

Location: Murie Center, Grand Teton National Park

Join a Grand Teton National Park ranger for a morning hike on the Murie Ranch’s Around-the-World trail to visit the moose ponds and open areas, where moose and beaver are often seen, and to hear elk bugling in the conifer forest. With a bit of luck, the Great Gray Owl might appear in the forest too. Meet on the porch of Mardy’s Cabin on the Murie Ranch in Moose.

9:30 a.m.: Opening remarks by Ed Zahniser, Senior Writer and Editor of the National Park Service Interpretive Design Center.

Location: The Murie Center, Grand Teton National Park

Providing a reflection on the creation of the 1964 Wilderness Act, Ed Zahniser will speak on the porch of Mardy’s Cabin on the Murie Ranch to commemorate this 50th Anniversary of our nation’s establishment of a protected area system, for generation upon generations to enjoy.

Ed’s late father, Howard Zahniser, is considered the primary author of and chief lobbyist for the 1964 National Wilderness Preservation System Act. Howard worked closely with Olaus and Mardy Murie as Director of The Wilderness Society from 1945 until his passing in May 1964. The Zahniser family summered at the Murie Ranch for several years around that time, and has since visited on many occasions. Ed was also in Alaska’s Sheenjek River Valley with Olaus and Mardy in summer 1961. From there they went to present-day Denali National Park, where Adolph and Louise Murie lived at that time.

Breakfast snacks (coffee and bagels) will be provided.

10 a.m.: Interpretive “Murie Legacy” walk to Grand Teton National Park’s Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitors Center. 

Location: The Murie Center, Grand Teton National Park

The Murie Center’s Docent Dan MciLhenny will lead this short 20 minute walk through the woods on our meandering footpath.

The Murie Center is the former ranch home of the Murie family ― Olaus, Mardy, Adolph, and Louise, early 20th Century leaders in wilderness conservation, and founders of The Wilderness Society. The Muries were biologists, illustrators of wildlife, authors (Two in the Far North, Wapiti Wilderness, The Wolves of Mt. McKinley and more), conservationists, adventurers, and conveners known for uniting people to preserve wild places, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and parts of the Grand Teton National Park.

10:45 a.m.: Opening remarks by Young Ambassadors for Wilderness for the Wyoming Wilderness Association’s Wilderness Art Exhibition. 

Location: Craig Thomas Visitor Center, Grand Teton National Park

Young Ambassadors for Wilderness (YAW) is a leadership development program for high schoolers interested in becoming the next generation of wilderness leaders, started 20 months ago, the Jackson Hole Wilderness Rendezvous marks their graduation.

Earlier this year the Wyoming Wilderness Association (WWA) and the Sheridan Artists’ Guild welcomed artists from around the country to share their vision and appreciation of Wyoming’s wilderness. 25 juror-selected pieces will be displayed in a state-wide traveling art exhibition from September through November. Eight graduating students of WWA’s Young Ambassadors for Wilderness (YAW) program from across the state will open this art show, which will exhibit at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitors Center from October 6 – November 1.

11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Lunch.

Location: Craig Thomas Visitor Center, Grand Teton National Park

Join us for burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers in the parking lot of the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitors Center. For those planning to participate in the Wilderness Youth Expo starting at 12 noon, you get to eat first! Entertainment will be provided by The Murie Center’s Dan “Dan’l” MciLhenny. Entertainer, Storyteller and Songwriter for more than 40 years, Dan’l has performed all over the western states. Folks say he’s truly unique,  and that his tunes are like Norman Rockwell’s paintings: slices of life to which we can all relate.

12 p.m. – 2 p.m.: Wilderness Youth Expo.

Lcoation: Craig Thomas Visitor Center, Grand Teton National Park

If you are between the ages of 5 and 18, join us at the Wilderness Youth Expo for hands-on fun and how to help protect wilderness areas. There will be 6 activity stations that will last 15 minutes each and led by: Bridger Teton National Forest, Teton County Weed & Pest, Wyoming Wilderness Association, Grand Teton National Park, The Cougar Fund, and Society for Wilderness Stewardship. This event will be held in the Director’s Room of the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitors Center. See you there!

  • Note: there will be a raffle for participants to win an EcoFlight over the Palisades Wilderness Study Area!

2 p.m.* – 5 p.m.:  “Neighbors to Nature” Cache Creek Trail Experience

Location: Cache Creek Trail, Town of Jackson

*Optional 3 p.m. start for those participating in the Wilderness Youth Expo

Join professional scientists from the Bridger-Teton National Forest to record plant and animal life found along one of Jackson’s most loved trails that sits on the border of the Gros Ventre Wilderness ― open to all ages



Location: Grand Teton National Park Date: October 12, 2014 Time: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Ed Zahniser
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