When present Wyoming was still part of Dakota Territory, hunters already were killing elk, deer and antelope by the thousands, often to sell the meat and hides. Tentatively at first and then more strongly, Wyoming territorial and state legislatures began passing game laws—and providing for their enforcement.
Geology & Natural History
Browse Articles about Geology & Natural History
|Alcova Dam and Reservoir||Annette Hein|
|American Indian geography in Wyoming||Gregory Nickerson|
|Anchor Dam, History of||Annette Hein|
|Archeology, alpine in Wyoming||Rebecca Hein|
|Big Muddy Oil Field||Rebecca Hein|
|Bighorn Basin, Natural History of the||Emilene Ostlind|
|Boysen Dam, History of||Annette Hein|
|Coal, Wyoming business of||Chamois L. Andersen|
|Colby Mammoth Site||WyomingHeritage.org|
|Como Bluff||Stephanie Lowe|
Geology & Natural History
Guided by a pair of Kentuckians, four blindfolded investors rode south from Rawlins toward the Colorado border in June 1872. Their objective, they thought, was a vast, secret field of diamonds, but they lost nearly all the money they’d put in and the swindlers got away—for a time.
Wyoming’s trails, roads and highways follow centuries-old Native American hunting and trade routes. For generations, Shoshone, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, Lakota and Crow people gathered plants, visited family and tracked game along watercourses and over mountain passes in the seasonal subsistence patterns of their lives.
Tribal sovereignty, retained by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho since before Wyoming statehood,governs wildlife conservation on the more than two million acres of tribal lands on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Game populations have increased steadily since a tribal game code was adopted in 1984.
In 1869 and 1871, John Wesley Powell led two expeditions from Wyoming Territory down the Green and Colorado rivers. These and other explorations brought him to a profound understanding of how the West’s aridity limits its economic prospects. He directed the U.S. Geological Survey from 1881-1894, and his ideas still affect land and water policy today.
Mountaineer Finis Mitchell shared his love of the Wind River Range through postcards, public talks and a famed, hip-pocket hiking guide. He ran a fishing camp, worked on the railroad, stocked mountain lakes with fingerling trout and served in the Wyoming House of Representatives. Mitchell Peak was named in his honor.
Recent, surprising discoveries including a prehistoric village in the Wind River Range above Dubois, Wyo., suggest humans—most likely ancestors of today’s Shoshone people—lived high-mountain lives as long as 10,000 years ago.
Three total solar eclipses have crossed Wyoming since territorial times—in 1878, 1889 and 1918. Two in particular drew prominent astronomers and scientific discoveries. These are especially interesting now, with the August 21, 2017 eclipse likely to draw huge crowds to a very different Wyoming from the one that last saw moon shadows in daytime.
No logging, no grazing—even no trespassing? The Yellowstone Timber Land Reserve, the first land to be set aside in what evolved into today’s National Forest system, had a distinctly different character from its successors. Here’s why.