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Grand Teton National Park Environmental Factors

On a sunny day the Tetons seem ageless and constant. Stand by a river during the spring run-off and listen to the clack as one stone tumbles over another. Hike a mountain trail in the summer and see the tops of sub-alpine fir broken by an avalanche the previous winter. Watch the clouds build along the crest as you race a thunderstorm down from Paintbrush Divide on a summer afternoon. Witness the re-growth of grasses, wildflowers, and sapling lodgepole pines following a fire. Soon you begin to realize that the park is constantly changing. Some of these forces are incredibly powerful and their impact is easily and readily observed. Some, however, work on a time-scale imperceptible to our understanding, but change the landscape in no less dramatic a fashion. Some changes are the result of natural processes and some are the result of human actions. It is certain, however, that change is a constant in the Teton Range.

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Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.