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The Power Of A 4-Year-Old: Connecting Grand Teton National Park Visitors

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A 4-year-old whose love for Grand Teton National Park was instilled in him by visits there with his grandfather has managed to connect a stream of park visitors through a journal he left in a bear box donated in his name.

The box, donated by Richard Hirsch in 2010 on behalf of his grandson, Max Ozbolt, stands in campsite No. 75 in Grand Teton's Signal Mountain Campground. As the folks at the Grand Teton National Park Foundation tell the story, "Richard Hirsch, a long-time lover of Grand Teton and supporter of the Foundation, visited the park every summer from the 1960s until his death in 2011.

"As often as he could, he brought his children, grandchildren, and eventually great-grandchildren with him on park visits. In 2010, through the Foundation's bear box program, Richard donated a box in honor of his 4-year-old great grandson, Max Ozbolt. When park officials installed the bear box at site #75, Max left a blank journal inside with a note encouraging visitors to contribute entries about the campsite and bear box."

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Campers didn't ignore the journal, which bears a cover with Max's beaming face. They filled the pages with their experiences in the park. 

As park rangers thumbed through the notebook, they were not only touched by the stories but recognized the notebook's value in creating a forum for park visitors from around the world to share common experiences, notes Foundation President Leslie Mattson. "While the original notebook has been returned to Max, park rangers have replaced it with a new blank one. Next time you're near Signal Mountain Campground, consider stopping by site #75 and sharing your park story with Max. "

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Placement of these bear-resistant food storage lockers by the Foundation plays a great role in reducing human/bear encounters in the park. Thanks to supporters such as Richard Hirsch, bear boxes are becoming easier to access throughout frontcountry campsites in the park. To learn more about the Foundation's bear box program, visit its website.


What a neat and happy story! A great idea, too.

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