Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, covers 3,500 square miles in Wyoming’s northwest corner and extends a short distance into Idaho and Montana. Established in 1872, the park continues to enthrall visitors to its striking scenery, topography, plentiful wildlife and thrilling thermal features.
Parks, Forests & Public Lands
Browse Articles about Parks, Forest & Public Land
|Mineral Leasing Act 1920||Samuel Western|
|Mission 66 in Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks||John Clayton|
|Mitchell, Finis, Wind River Mountains hiker and conservationist||Rebecca Hein|
|Modernization in Wyoming’s national parks||John Clayton|
|Moore, Lucy Morrison||John Clayton|
|Morris, Alice||Robert G. and Elizabeth L. Rosenberg|
|Murie Family, the: Wilderness Leaders in Wyoming||Emilene Ostlind|
|Murie, Adolph||Emilene Ostlind|
|Murie, Louise||Emilene Ostlind|
|Murie, Mardy||Emilene Ostlind|
Parks, Forests & Public Lands
Alcova Dam, a Bureau of Reclamation project, was completed in 1937. The reservoir opened in 1938 and a power plant was completed in 1955. The $20 million dam project didn’t achieve the high expectations of immense wealth that were forecast at the time of its inception, but continues to provide irrigation water for farmers and ranchers and generates hydropower for the area. Alcova Reservoir offers fishing, boating, camping and swimming opportunities for visitors.
Guernsey Dam on the North Platte River lies between historic Fort Laramie and Laramie peak and just a few miles from some deep, sandstone ruts on the historic Oregon Trail. The dam was completed in 1927, for hydropower and flood control. In 1934, crews from the Civilian Conservation Corps located camps near the reservoir. With design help from the National Park Service, they built the handsome stone-and-timber shelters and buildings at Guernsey State Park, in what became a showplace of state park design.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt included Wyoming in his 25-state tour of the western United States. He spent nearly three weeks in Yellowstone National Park, gave a speech in Newcastle, and on the return leg from California, left the train long enough for a well-publicized horseback ride from Laramie to Cheyenne, and two extra days politicking and socializing in Wyoming’s capital.
Largely forgotten today is the stiff local resistance that arose in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to the creation and later the expansion of a national park there. The story covers 31 years of controversy, and includes a Rockefeller, a movie actor and a group of armed ranchers trailing cattle illegally across a national monument, and some of the most beautiful scenery in North America.
The abundant vertebrate fossils of the Green River formation in western Wyoming have been known to science since the 1860s. Most are fish, buried in lime-rich mud at the bottom of freshwater lakes about 50 million years ago. Fossil Butte National Monument, west of Kemmerer, Wyo. was created by Congress in 1973 to protect a site extremely rich in these fossils.
Western Wyoming’s Green River drains 4,000 miles of forested mountains and high desert, home to migrating wildlife, grazing cattle, a few thousand people, and in recent decades a booming natural-gas business. Since prehistoric times, people have worked to balance the basin’s resources for their own benefit — and that struggle continues today.