Parks, Forests & Public Lands
Browse Articles about Parks, Forest & Public Land
|Forest fires,Yellowstone, 1988||Dan Whipple|
|Fossil Butte National Monument||Annette Hein|
|Grand Teton National Park, Establishment of||Annette Hein|
|Grand Teton, first ascent controversy surrounding||Raymond G. Jacquot|
|Green River Basin natural history||Emilene Ostlind|
|Guernsey Dam, History of||The National Park Service|
|Guernsey State Park||WyomingHeritage.org, Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office|
|Hague, Arnold||John Clayton|
|High Country News||Marjane Ambler|
|Huidekoper, Virginia, Jackson Hole News co-founder||Kerry Drake|
Parks, Forests & Public Lands
Westbound wagon-train emigrants got their first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains when they first saw the blue cone of Laramie Peak, 85 miles away. Snowcapped in early summer, the mountain stayed in sight for a week or more, dominating many diarists’ accounts and foreshadowing drier, more difficult country ahead.
It may seem surprising that a solitary New York socialite would make Yellowstone safer. But Alice Morris’s love of Yellowstone National Park led to her horseback explorations in 1917, when she chronicled the park’s wonders and detailed changes to improve and standardize trail systems that remain in place today.
A sudden, hot wind one August afternoon in 1937 blew a small fire into an inferno that rushed for ridgetops above Blackwater Creek, in the Shoshone National Forest west of Cody, Wyo. Fifteen firefighters died; 38 more were burned in the fourth deadliest wildfire in the nation’s history.
Begun as a jobs program in the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps—“Roosevelt’s Tree Army”— employed more than 1,000 men in Wyoming building roads, improving parks, fighting fires and boosting local economies. The CCC legacy includes the classic, rustic stone-and-log buildings at Guernsey State Park.
Weather conditions and a “let-burn” natural fire policy in Yellowstone National Park resulted in the massive 1988 fires that blackened 683,000 acres of land. Recovery has been quicker and better than many expected, however, and lessons from the conflagration help guide the park’s fire policy today.
Shoshone Cavern National Monument near Cody was established in 1909 but delisted after 53 years, turned over to the City of Cody and renamed Spirit Mountain Caverns. Maintaining the site proved too difficult for local concessionaires, however. In 1977, the spot was returned to federal ownership and is now managed by the BLM.
Early Wyoming was seen as a hardscrabble place. But after 1900, dude ranches showed off Wyoming’s mountain scenery, fishing, hunting and hospitality, and thanks to the elite guests’ taste-making powers, Wyoming and the West became associated less with cold wind and distance and more with romantic glories.
The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 established the modern system by which oil and coal companies may lease federal land. This system has proven enormously beneficial to Wyoming’s state coffers since it was first enacted nearly 100 years ago. How this all came about is a story of early oil producers looking for a way around a presidential order and a highly contentious Supreme Court case, all with lucrative results for the state of Wyoming—and a stabilizing result for the industry.