Before the summer is over, two million people will have made left turns on Broadway and Cache Street in the city center here, gateway to some of America's most pristine wilderness areas.
They are, over the course of their stay, likely to pass by the Tetons tour through Grand Teton National Park, and stop somewhere in Yellowstone National Park. They may take a run on the Snake River in a rubber raft, a hike along the rugged base of Mount Moran, the most massive of the Teton mountains, look at a browsing moose or a plodding buffalo from a safe distance, boat on Jackson or Yellowstone Lakes, take a picture of a prehistoric geyser, or walk through a forest that remains as pretty as it was 100 years ago.Wilderness is the one thing most of the two million are looking for, and in varying degrees. Some want to inhale the wilds so deeply they're carried back into buckskin and rendezvous times, while others want a few sniffs of the pine-scented air, a passing look at a few birds and trees, and then a sit-down meal and a few hours in front of cable TV.
And it's all there, which, of course, is a big reason for Jackson's popularity in the summertime. Visitors can turn on to a drive through the wilderness in a matter of a few hours, or spend days in places so rugged and remote, aluminum cans haven't been seen there yet.
They can see country that is not tamer today than it was a century ago; land coated with wildflowers - lupine, fireweed, Indian paintbrush and balsam root - and pines, and wild animals in every stand of trees and meadow.
And, most importantly of all, they can become a part of the landscape.
It is, as Jim Sullivan, area manager of Snow King Resort in jackson Hole, a requirement nowadays. Visitors, he points out, are more active than they were a decade ago.
"A few years ago," he points out, "we had to redefine what we were. Definition of a resort is a place with a bed, meals and something to do. The bed and meals we could offer, easily. And what we found was that in a place like Jackson there was no limit to what there was to do."
It was back in 1946 that Snow King first caught wind of this and opened it's ski lift for a secenic summer ride. Recently it added a panoramic nature trail and picnic area, complete with self-guided brochure. It also added horse stables and an alpine slide, and became a hub for river runners going down the Snake.
Getting in touch with the wilderness, in some way, remains a key to every program and adventure.
Debra Supowit, with the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, agrees, noting that most of the people coming through the town are looking for some type of wilderness experience.
"Which aren't hard to find. Most of Teton County, about 97 percent, is federal land ... a national park, a national forest, or wilderness area. It can not and will not be developed," she point out.
Most of the people coming through or fto Jackson are from the Rocky Mountain area, which includes Utah. Next are the Midwest and Pacific areas. In terms of individual states, California, Texas and Florida are the top three. utah is No. 6.
Yellowstone remains, by virtue of sheer notoriety, the most often visited place. People come to renew or start-up memories of boiling geysers, bubbling hot pot, bleching steam holes, and the hourly wonder - Old Faithful.
Greatly overshadowed is Grand Teton National Park, between Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, So taken was John D. Rockefeller Jr., after a lunch stop near Jackson Lake, he purchased and then gave 33,000 acres of land to the government to be added to the park back in 1949.
Within the park is an abundance of water, including the very large Jackson Lake and the somewhat smaller Jenny, Leigh, Two Ocean and Emma Matilda lakes.
Around Jackson Lake are two major camping areas - Jackson and Colter Bay. At both there are camping areas and rooms to rent. At Colter Bay not only are there small cabins, but also the more primitive, but comfortable, tents. The tents sleep up to five, have concrete floors, beds and mattresses, picnic tables, electric lights, storage areas, and woodburning stoves, if needed. They rent for only $17 a night. Reservations are required.
The park also has more than 200 miles of hiking trails ranging from the very easy to vertical climbs up sheer rock walls. There are also climbing schools for the very venturesome.
A short boat ride across jenny lake puts visitors at the base of one of the park's more popular hikes to Hidden lake. It's an easy hike, about a half mile along a cascading stream thyat cuts through lush vegetation to the 200-foot hight falls. From the falls there are a number of different hikes of varying difficulty and length.
There are also a number of scenic drives people can make within the park boundaries. One, to Signal Mountain climbs 800 feet in five miles and leaves visitors at an overlook of the 40-mile Teton range and Jackson Hole. Another, Oxbow Bend on the Snake River, is noted for its variety of wildlife. And yet another, to the Cunningham Cabin, home of the early settler Pierce Cunningham, provides a look at life around the turn of the century.
Oar-powered river trips on the Snake are extremely popular. Boaters have the choice between quiet easy-flowing scenic trips or high-excitement, water-drenching rides through rapids. Either trip takes about three hours, and in some cases includes lunch. Cost is around $25 per person.
And there's more...more hikes, places to camp, rivers and lakes to fish, animals to watch and places to see.
What brings people, of course, is the setting - wild, green rugged and, in most cases, unspoiled. All this despite the fact that four million feet will be put down somewhere in the are this year, and at least that many tires, and a large number of tents campers, tarps, sleeping bags and motor homes.
Sullivan believes that the reason two million people can drive through the twon while just a mile from the big left turn in the center of town is a walk through Nature's wilderness, is proper management.
"I think we know what we have and what people want, now, and what we need to do is take care of it," he said.
A deep breath of mountain air and a look around at the trees and flowers, and the rugged mountains and vast meadows, is enough to more than prove his point.