Last week First Lady Melania Trump set her gaze on Jackson Hole. On Thursday she visited Jackson with plans to see Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. During her quick visit, which she cut short due to weather, she met with Jackson Hole boy scouts on town square and Mindy Kim-Miller, the first woman scoutmaster in Jackson. Trump was in the Tetons to promote her “Be Best” initiative. It focuses on issues facing children such as well-being, online safety and opioid abuse.
Later that day, she floated down a scenic stretch of the Snake River with local fourth-graders, the Tetons towering in the distance. The White House described some of what the group saw: “a wildlife sanctuary, pristine local vegetation, sagebrush plateaus, cottonwood and spruce forests, and wildflowers.”
Although she didn’t make it to Yellowstone, Trump was apparently struck by her experience touring Grand Teton, the National Elk Refuge and Jackson. In a statement issued by the White House, Trump said, “this trip highlighted some of the beautiful national parks, lands, and waters that make up our country. Spending time outdoors with children and learning more about our incredible and complex surroundings was a very meaningful experience for me.”
John Garder, senior director of budget and appropriations for the National Parks Conservation Association, said he hopes Trump takes that message back to the White House and “tells her husband to protect our national parks.”
On the heels of Trump’s visit, KHOL called Garder and asked him to assess the Trump administration’s policies as they relate to the national parks. “There would be a lot of Fs on that report card,” Garder said.
Listen above for the full conversation.