Jackson vs. Gardiner

Jackson is much more a tourist town compared to Gardiner which acts simply as a gateway to Yellowstone.  There are a lot of outdoor activities and recreational opportunities in Jackson.  It is surrounded by the Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone is not too far from the town.  As well as being a big ski area, many people enjoy hiking, white-water rafting, horseback riding, and biking.  The weather is very seasonal but also can be unpredictable.  It has warm, dry summers to very cold winters.  Gardiner also participates in similar outdoor fun like hiking, but they are also big on hunting.  While Jackson uses its surrounded for much recreational use and purpose, wildlife enthusiasts are the main adventurers into Gardiner.

(It becomes easy to see the difference of structure and landscape of these two towns when placed next to each other   Jackson, which appears above, almost looks like a flat city with blocks of streets.  Gardiner, below, is made up of a few streets in a concentrated area as the area is not as concerned with having enough room to maintain a large tourist industry.)

In the heart of the mountains, Jackson sits on a valley with neighboring hills and a river at is basin.  Unlike Gardiner, it’s residential areas become much more separated from the rest of town.  Gardiner is a very compact town, and close-knit community.  The bridge is the only feature that divides the two parts of town because of the river that flows directly through it.  Much of the town can be seen from ground level because many of the houses and establishments are built on hills.  This gives the place an even more familiar feeling, and provides a sense of character to its inhabitants.

In Gardiner, there are lots of bars, small cafes and restaurants.  The area seems much more residential compared to Jackson, whose residents live more in the outskirts.  Everyone knows each other in Gardiner.  Even though there are still tourists who visit the town, there is one, sort of two, main strips that cater to them.  A lot of locals still visit this location nonetheless.  The bars also allow for the close-knit community to come together and socialize.  Jackson has much more tourist shops than Gardiner, and its restaurants and bars serve more the interest of the tourists.

It is easy to compare Jackson and Gardiner in that they are both small towns.  However, Jackson is much more “urban cowboy” according to some of the townspeople of Gardiner.  It has a similar small town “feel” but unlike Gardiner it uses this small town feel to garner more tourism.  Gardiner is much more traditional and set in deep roots.  While both town have lodge themes and western influence, Gardiner is more authentic and rural.  They are both expanding because of the revenue from tourism, but Jackson is more expensive and the “highest standard of living” in Wyoming.  The businesses rely heavily, and nearly all, on the tourist industry.  Their advertisements even gear towards the tourists with attractions and real-state.  Gardiner is much more concerned with local matters in their newspapers, and tend to stray away from higher public involvement.  In other words, Gardiner is more about their interaction than sale.

As far as wolf management, the two towns stood similar but different grounds.  The majority of the people in Jackson were pro-wolf, while their was a mix of opinions in Gardiner.  Gardiner is home to ranchers and families who live right out of Yellowstone Park.  They are closely affected by this issue, plus, more of the towns revenue relies on wildlife than different recreation opportunities.  Regardless of the various strong opinions these people have, they appear to be a healthy community.  While Jackson is largely based on their tourism at it’s peak every year, Gardiner remains a simple town year around.


Eric’s Photography


This photo shows the beauty of the Llamar valley in the early morning. I feel like the moose and tree to the left balance the picture and make it more than just another landscape photo.

I took this photo not only to show the beauty of yellowstone, but to show how small we really are in comparison to the “big picture”

This abstract shows the amazing shapes and designs that nature can provide for us.

I chose this photo not only to highlight the beauty of the pools, but the amazing lake and varying mountain-scapes behind it.


This photo shows that even in a seemingly wild place detached from civilization, humanity has left its mark on the landscape.

This photo shows the one cell phone tower in yellowstone, just outside of Mammoth. I chose this photo because even though the company was allowed to construct the tower, it is obvious they had no concern for blending it into the surrounding environment or covering their tracks and returning the landscape to what it once was.

This photo shows hows ranchers have shaped the land for their own use.

I took this photo while picking up trash at one of our many stops in the Llamar Valley. The shot seemed like a sign for what the land will become (or be filled with) if we do not do everything we can to preserve it

Critical Landscape

Photos © Sara Nelson

I found this photo interesting with the juxtaposition of the “welcome” sign and the tourist advertisement. In the back right, there is a sign for handmade items of Wapiti Silver, another tourist ad.

This photograph blends the common tourist with the equally common student. It portrays how a tourist attraction like the Grand Prismatic Spring can also become an outdoor classroom.

This image blends the information of a traffic sign and the corny appeal of tourism. It harnesses the typical “wild west” theme while still informing the pedestrian that the crosswalk is no longer located “here” and is now “down yonder.”

Graffiti is an important part of understanding a cultural landscape. How locals express themselves across town can tell a lot about the type of people who live there. This electrical box features a variety of stickers, as well as two political points of view from both sides of the spectrum.

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