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Wyoming
State of Wyoming
Flag of Wyoming Official seal of Wyoming
Nickname(s): 
Equality State (official);
Cowboy State; Big Wyoming
Motto(s): 
Equal Rights
Anthem: "Wyoming"
Map of the United States with Wyoming highlighted
Map of the United States with Wyoming highlighted
Country United States
Before statehood Wyoming Territory
Admitted to the Union July 10, 1890 (44th)
Capital
(and largest city)
Cheyenne
Largest metro Cheyenne
Legislature Wyoming Legislature
 • Upper house Senate
 • Lower house House of Representatives
Area
 • Total 97,914 sq mi (253,600 km2)
Area rank 10th
Dimensions
 • Length 279 mi (451 km)
 • Width 371.8 mi (599 km)
Elevation
6,700 ft (2,040 m)
Highest elevation 13,809 ft (4,209.1 m)
Lowest elevation 3,101 ft (945 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 576,850
 • Rank 50th
 • Density 5.97/sq mi (2.31/km2)
 • Density rank 49th
 • Median household income
$62,268
 • Income rank
19th
Demonym(s) Wyomingite, Wyomingian
Language
 • Official language English
Time zone UTC−07:00 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−06:00 (MDT)
USPS abbreviation
WY
ISO 3166 code US-WY
Trad. abbreviation Wyo.
Latitude 41°N to 45°N
Longitude 104°3'W to 111°3'W
Wyoming state symbols
Flag of Wyoming.svg
Seal of Wyoming.svg
Living insignia
Bird Western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
Fish Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki)
Flower Wyoming Indian paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia)
Grass Western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii)
Mammal American bison (Bison bison)
Reptile Horned lizard (Phrynosoma douglassi brevirostre)
Tree Plains cottonwood (Populus sargentii)
Inanimate insignia
Dinosaur Triceratops
Fossil Knightia
Mineral Nephrite
Soil Forkwood (unofficial)
State route marker
Wyoming state route marker
Lists of United States state symbols

Wyoming is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The 10th largest state by area, it is also the least populous and least densely populated state in the contiguous United States.

Wyoming is bordered by Montana to the north and northwest, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Idaho to the west, Utah to the southwest, and Colorado to the south. Its population was 576,851 at the 2020 United States census, making it the least populated U.S. state. The state capital and the most populous city is Cheyenne, which had an estimated population of 63,957 in 2018.

Wyoming's western half is covered mostly by the ranges and rangelands of the Rocky Mountains, while the eastern half of the state is high-elevation prairie called the High Plains. It is drier and windier than the rest of the country, being split between semi-arid and continental climates with greater temperature extremes. Almost half of the land in Wyoming is owned by the federal government, generally protected for public uses. The state ranks 6th by area and fifth by proportion of a state's land owned by the federal government. Federal lands include two national parks (Grand Teton and Yellowstone), two national recreation areas, two national monuments, several national forests, historic sites, fish hatcheries, and wildlife refuges.

Indigenous peoples inhabited the region for thousands of years. Historic and current federally recognized tribes include the Arapaho, Crow, Lakota, and Shoshone. During European exploration, the Spanish Empire was the first to "claim" Southern Wyoming. With Mexican independence, it became part of that republic. After defeat in the Mexican–American War, Mexico ceded this territory to the U.S. in 1848.

The region was named "Wyoming" in a bill introduced to Congress in 1865 to provide a temporary government for the territory of Wyoming. It had been used earlier by colonists for the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, and is derived from the Lenape language Munsee word xwé:wamənk, meaning "at the big river flat".

Bills for Wyoming Territory's admission to the union were introduced in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in December 1889. On March 27, 1890, the House passed the bill and President Benjamin Harrison signed Wyoming's statehood bill; Wyoming became the 44th state in the union.

Historically, European Americans farmed and ranched here, with shepherds and cattle ranchers in conflict over lands. Today Wyoming's economy is largely based on tourism and the extraction of minerals such as coal, natural gas, oil, and trona. Agricultural commodities include barley, hay, livestock, sugar beets, wheat, and wool. It was the first state to allow women the right to vote and the right to assume elected office, as well as the first state to elect a female governor. Due to this part of its history, its main nickname is "The Equality State" and its official state motto is "Equal Rights". It has been a politically conservative state since the 1950s. The Republican presidential nominee has carried the state in every election since 1968.

Geography

Location and size

As specified in the designating legislation for the Territory of Wyoming, Wyoming's borders are lines of latitude, 41°N and 45°N, and longitude, 104°3'W and 111°3'W (27° W and 34° W of the Washington Meridian), making the shape of the state a latitude-longitude quadrangle. Wyoming is one of only three states (along with Colorado and Utah) to have borders along only straight latitudinal and longitudinal lines, rather than being defined by natural landmarks. Due to surveying inaccuracies during the 19th century, Wyoming's legal border deviates from the true latitude and longitude lines by up to half of a mile (0.8 km) in some spots, especially in the mountainous region along the 45th parallel. Wyoming is bordered on the north by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, on the south by Colorado, on the southwest by Utah, and on the west by Idaho. It is the tenth largest state in the United States in total area, containing 97,814 square miles (253,340 km2) and is made up of 23 counties. From the north border to the south border it is 276 miles (444 km); and from the east to the west border is 365 miles (587 km) at its south end and 342 miles (550 km) at the north end.

Mountain ranges

The Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. The state is a great plateau broken by many mountain ranges. Surface elevations range from the summit of Gannett Peak in the Wind River Mountain Range, at 13,804 feet (4,207 m), to the Belle Fourche River valley in the state's northeast corner, at 3,125 feet (952 m). In the northwest are the Absaroka, Owl Creek, Gros Ventre, Wind River and the Teton ranges. In the north central are the Big Horn Mountains; in the northeast, the Black Hills; and in the southern region the Laramie, Snowy and Sierra Madre ranges.

The Snowy Range in the south central part of the state is an extension of the Colorado Rockies in both geology and appearance. The Wind River Range in the west central part of the state is remote and includes more than 40 mountain peaks in excess of 13,000 ft (4,000 m) tall in addition to Gannett Peak, the highest peak in the state. The Big Horn Mountains in the north central portion are somewhat isolated from the bulk of the Rocky Mountains.

The Teton Range in the northwest extends for 50 miles (80 km), part of which is included in Grand Teton National Park. The park includes the Grand Teton, the second highest peak in the state.

The Continental Divide spans north-south across the central portion of the state. Rivers east of the divide drain into the Missouri River Basin and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. They are the North Platte, Wind, Big Horn and the Yellowstone rivers. The Snake River in northwest Wyoming eventually drains into the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, as does the Green River through the Colorado River Basin.

The Continental Divide forks in the south central part of the state in an area known as the Great Divide Basin where the waters that flow or precipitate into this area remain there and cannot flow to any ocean. Instead, because of the overall aridity of Wyoming, water in the Great Divide Basin simply sinks into the soil or evaporates.

Several rivers begin in or flow through the state, including the Yellowstone River, Bighorn River, Green River, and the Snake River.

Islands

Wyoming has 32 named islands, of which the majority are located in Jackson Lake and Yellowstone Lake within Yellowstone National Park in the northwest portion of the state. The Green River in the southwest also contains a number of islands.

Public lands

Wyoming ref 2001
Wyoming terrain map

More than 48% of the land in Wyoming is owned by the U.S. government, leading Wyoming to rank sixth in the United States in total acres and fifth in percentage of a state's land owned by the federal government. This amounts to about 30,099,430 acres (121,808.1 km2) owned and managed by the United States government. The state government owns an additional 6% of all Wyoming lands, or another 3,864,800 acres (15,640 km2).

The vast majority of this government land is administered by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service in numerous national forests, a national grassland, and a number of vast swathes of public land, in addition to the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne.

Map Wyoming NPS sites USA
National Park Service sites map

In addition, Wyoming contains areas managed by the National Park Service and other agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including:

National parks

Memorial parkway

  • John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

National recreation areas

National monuments

National historic trails, landmarks and sites

National fish hatcheries

National wildlife refuges

Panoramic view of the Teton Range looking west from Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park

Climate

Wyoming
Wyoming state welcome sign on Interstate 80 in Uinta County (at the Utah border)
Autumn in the Bighorn Mountains
Autumn in the Bighorn Mountains

Wyoming's climate is generally semi-arid and continental, and is drier and windier in comparison to most of the United States with greater temperature extremes. Much of this is due to the topography of the state.

Summers in Wyoming are warm with July high temperatures averaging between 85 and 95 °F (29 and 35 °C) in most of the state. With increasing elevation, however, this average drops rapidly with locations above 9,000 feet (2,700 m) averaging around 70 °F (21 °C).

Winters are cold, but are variable with periods of sometimes extreme cold interspersed between generally mild periods, with Chinook winds providing unusually warm temperatures in some locations.

Wyoming is a dry state with much of the land receiving less than 10 inches (250 mm) of rainfall per year.

The number of thunderstorm days vary across the state with the southeastern plains of the state having the most days of thunderstorm activity. Thunderstorm activity in the state is highest during the late spring and early summer.

The southeastern corner of the state is the most vulnerable part of the state to tornado activity. Moving away from that point and westwards, the incidence of tornadoes drops dramatically with the west part of the state showing little vulnerability. Tornadoes, where they occur, tend to be small and brief, unlike some of those that occur a little farther east.

History

Alfred Jacob Miller - Fort Laramie - Walters 37194049
The first Fort Laramie as it looked before 1840 (painting from memory by Alfred Jacob Miller)

Several Native American groups originally inhabited the region now known as Wyoming. The Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone were but a few of the original inhabitants encountered when white explorers first entered the region. What is now southwestern Wyoming became a part of the Spanish Empire and later Mexican territory of Alta California, until it was ceded to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican–American War. French-Canadian trappers from Québec and Montréal went into the state in the late 18th century, leaving French toponyms such as Téton, La Ramie, etc. John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, itself guided by French Canadian Toussaint Charbonneau and his young Shoshone wife, Sacagawea, first described the region in 1807. At the time, his reports of the Yellowstone area were considered to be fictional. Robert Stuart and a party of five men returning from Astoria discovered South Pass in 1812. The Oregon Trail later followed that route. In 1850, Jim Bridger located what is now known as Bridger Pass, which the Union Pacific Railroad used in 1868—as did Interstate 80, 90 years later. Bridger also explored Yellowstone and filed reports on the region that, like those of Colter, were largely regarded as tall tales at the time.

The region had acquired the name Wyoming by 1865, when Representative James Mitchell Ashley of Ohio introduced a bill to Congress to provide a "temporary government for the territory of Wyoming". The territory was named after the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, made famous by the 1809 poem Gertrude of Wyoming by Thomas Campbell, based on the Battle of Wyoming in the American Revolutionary War. The name ultimately derives from the Munsee word xwé:wamənk, meaning "at the big river flat."

Wyoming Jeep Trail
A backcounty road in the Sierra Madre Range of southeastern Wyoming near Bridger Peak

After the Union Pacific Railroad had reached the town of Cheyenne in 1867, the region's population began to grow steadily, and the federal government established the Wyoming Territory on July 25, 1868. Unlike mineral-rich Colorado, Wyoming lacked significant deposits of gold and silver, as well as Colorado's subsequent population boom. However, South Pass City did experience a short-lived boom after the Carissa Mine began producing gold in 1867. Furthermore, copper was mined in some areas between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Snowy Range near Grand Encampment.

Once government-sponsored expeditions to the Yellowstone country began, reports by Colter and Bridger, previously believed to be apocryphal, were found to be true. This led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park, which became the world's first national park in 1872. Nearly all of Yellowstone National Park lies within the far northwestern borders of Wyoming.

On December 10, 1869, territorial Governor John Allen Campbell extended the right to vote to women, making Wyoming the first territory and then United States state to grant suffrage to women. In addition, Wyoming was also a pioneer in welcoming women into politics. Women first served on juries in Wyoming (Laramie in 1870); Wyoming had the first female court bailiff (Mary Atkinson, Laramie, in 1870); and the first female justice of the peace in the country (Esther Hobart Morris, South Pass City, in 1870). Also, in 1924, Wyoming became the first state to elect a female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who took office in January 1925. Due to its civil-rights history, one of Wyoming's state nicknames is "The Equality State", and the official state motto is "Equal Rights".

Wyoming's constitution included women's suffrage and a pioneering article on water rights. Congress admitted Wyoming into the Union as the 44th state on July 10, 1890.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 9,118
1880 20,789 128.0%
1890 62,555 200.9%
1900 92,531 47.9%
1910 145,965 57.7%
1920 194,402 33.2%
1930 225,565 16.0%
1940 250,742 11.2%
1950 290,529 15.9%
1960 330,066 13.6%
1970 332,416 0.7%
1980 469,557 41.3%
1990 453,588 −3.4%
2000 493,782 8.9%
2010 563,626 14.1%
2020 576,851 2.3%
Sources: 1910–2020

Population

Wyoming population map
The largest population centers are Cheyenne (southeast) and Casper.

The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of Wyoming was 578,759 in 2019, The center of population of Wyoming is in Natrona County.

In 2014, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population's racial composition was 92.7% white (82.9% non-Hispanic white), 2.7% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.6% Black or African American, 1.0% Asian American, and 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. As of 2011, 24.9% of Wyoming's population younger than age 1 were minorities. According to data from the American Community Survey, as of 2018, Wyoming is the only U.S. state where African Americans earn a higher median income than white workers.

According to the 2010 census, the racial composition of the population was 90.7% white, 0.8% black or African American, 2.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.8% Asian American, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 2.2% from two or more races, and 3.0% from some other race. Ethnically, 8.9% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race) and 91.1% Non-Hispanic, with non-Hispanic whites constituting the largest non-Hispanic group at 85.9%.

As of 2015, Wyoming had an estimated population of 586,107, which was an increase of 1,954, or 0.29%, from the prior year and an increase of 22,481, or 3.99%, since the 2010 census. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 12,165 (33,704 births minus 21,539 deaths) and an increase from net migration of 4,035 into the state. Immigration resulted in a net increase of 2,264 and migration within the country produced a net increase of 1,771. In 2004, the foreign-born population was 11,000 (2.2%). In 2005, total births in Wyoming were 7,231 (birth rate of 14.04 per thousand). Sparsely populated, Wyoming is the least populous state of the United States. Wyoming has the second-lowest population density in the country (behind Alaska) and is the sparsest-populated of the 48 contiguous states. It is one of only two states (Vermont) with a population smaller than that of the nation's capital.

According to the 2000 census, the largest ancestry groups in Wyoming are: German (26.0%), English (16.0%), Irish (13.3%), Norwegian (4.3%), and Swedish (3.5%).

Economy and infrastructure

According to the 2012 United States Bureau of Economic Analysis report, Wyoming's gross state product was $38.4 billion. As of 2014 the population was growing slightly with the most growth in tourist-oriented areas such as Teton County. Boom conditions in neighboring states such as North Dakota were drawing energy workers away. About half of Wyoming's counties showed population losses. The state makes active efforts through Wyoming Grown, an internet-based recruitment program, to find jobs for young people educated in Wyoming who have emigrated but may wish to return.

The mineral extraction industry and travel and tourism sector are the main drivers behind Wyoming's economy. The federal government owns about 50% of its landmass, while 6% is controlled by the state. Total taxable values of mining production in Wyoming for 2001 was over $6.7 billion. The tourism industry accounts for over $2 billion in revenue for the state.

In 2002, more than six million people visited Wyoming's national parks and monuments. The key tourist attractions in Wyoming include Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, Independence Rock and Fossil Butte National Monument. Each year Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park, receives three million visitors.

Historically, agriculture has been an important component of Wyoming's economy. Its overall importance to the performance of Wyoming's economy has waned, but it is still an essential part of Wyoming's culture and lifestyle. The main agricultural commodities produced in Wyoming include livestock (beef), hay, sugar beets, grain (wheat and barley), and wool. More than 91% of land in Wyoming is classified as rural.

Wyoming is the home of only a handful of companies with a regional or national presence. Taco John's and Sierra Trading Post, both in Cheyenne, are privately held. Cloud Peak Energy in Gillette and U.S. Energy Corp. (NASDAQ: USEG) in Riverton are Wyoming's only publicly traded companies.

Mineral and energy production

Liebherr T282C Coal Haul Truck
North Antelope Rochelle Mine, the largest estimated coal mine reserve in the world, as of 2013
Rig wind river
A natural gas rig west of the Wind River Range

Wyoming's mineral commodities include coal, natural gas, coalbed methane, crude oil, uranium, and trona.

  • Coal: Wyoming produced 277 million short tons (251.29 million metric tons) of coal in 2019 which was a 9 percent drop from the year before. Wyoming's coal production peaked in 2008 when 514 million short tons (466.3 million metric tons) was produced. Wyoming possesses a reserve of 68.7 billion tons (62.3 billion metric tons) of coal. Major coal areas include the Powder River Basin and the Green River Basin.
  • Coalbed methane (CBM): The boom for CBM began in the mid-1990s. CBM is characterized as methane gas that is extracted from Wyoming's coal bed seams. It is another means of natural gas production. There has been substantial CBM production in the Powder River Basin. In 2002, the CBM production yield was 327.5 billion cubic feet (9.3 km3).
  • Crude oil: Wyoming produced 53.4 million barrels (8.49×10^6 m3) of crude oil in 2007. The state ranked fifth nationwide in oil production in 2007. Petroleum is most often used as a motor fuel, but it is also utilized in the manufacture of plastics, paints, and synthetic rubber.
  • Diamonds: The Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine, located in Colorado less than 1,000 feet (300 m) from the Wyoming border, produced gem quality diamonds for several years. The Wyoming craton, which hosts the kimberlite volcanic pipes that were mined, underlies most of Wyoming.
  • Natural gas: Wyoming produced 1.77 trillion cubic feet (50.0 billion m3) of natural gas in 2016. The state ranked 6th nationwide for natural gas production in 2016. The major markets for natural gas include industrial, commercial, and domestic heating.
  • Trona: Wyoming possesses the world's largest known reserve of trona, a mineral used for manufacturing glass, paper, soaps, baking soda, water softeners, and pharmaceuticals. In 2008, Wyoming produced 46 million short tons (41.7 million metric tons) of trona, 25% of the world's production.
  • Wind power: Because of Wyoming's geography and high-altitude, the potential for wind power in Wyoming is one of the highest of any state in the US. The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project is the largest commercial wind generation facility under development in North America. Carbon County is home to the largest proposed wind farm in the US. Construction plans have been halted because of proposed new taxes on wind power energy production.
  • Uranium: Although uranium mining in Wyoming is much less active than it was in previous decades, recent increases in the price of uranium have generated new interest in uranium prospecting and mining.

Taxes

Unlike most other states, Wyoming does not levy an individual or corporate income tax. In addition, Wyoming does not assess any tax on retirement income earned and received from another state. Wyoming has a state sales tax of 4%. Counties have the option of collecting an additional 1% tax for general revenue and a 1% tax for specific purposes, if approved by voters. Food for human consumption is not subject to sales tax. There also is a county lodging tax that varies from 2% to 5%. The state collects a use tax of 5% on items purchased elsewhere and brought into Wyoming. All property tax is based on the assessed value of the property and Wyoming's Department of Revenue's Ad Valorem Tax Division supports, trains, and guides local government agencies in the uniform assessment, valuation and taxation of locally assessed property. "Assessed value" means taxable value; "taxable value" means a percent of the fair market value of property in a particular class. Statutes limit property tax increases. For county revenue, the property tax rate cannot exceed 12 mills (or 1.2%) of assessed value. For cities and towns, the rate is limited to eight mills (0.8%). With very few exceptions, state law limits the property tax rate for all governmental purposes.

Personal property held for personal use is tax-exempt. Inventory if held for resale, pollution control equipment, cash, accounts receivable, stocks and bonds are also exempt. Other exemptions include property used for religious, educational, charitable, fraternal, benevolent and government purposes and improvements for handicapped access. Mine lands, underground mining equipment, and oil and gas extraction equipment are exempt from property tax but companies must pay a gross products tax on minerals and a severance tax on mineral production.

Wyoming does not collect inheritance taxes. There is limited estate tax related to federal estate tax collection.

In 2008, the Tax Foundation ranked Wyoming as having the single most "business friendly" tax climate of all 50 states. Wyoming state and local governments in fiscal year 2007 collected $2.242 billion in taxes, levies, and royalties from the oil and gas industry. The state's mineral industry, including oil, gas, trona, and coal provided $1.3 billion in property taxes from 2006 mineral production. As of 2017, Wyoming receives more federal tax dollars as a percentage of state general revenue than any state except neighboring Montana.

As of 2016, Wyoming does not require the beneficial owners of LLCs to be disclosed in the filing, which creates an opportunity for a tax haven, according to Clark Stith of Clark Stith & Associates in Rock Springs, Wyoming, a former Republican candidate for Wyoming secretary of state.

Transportation

National-atlas-wyoming
Major highways of Wyoming

The largest airport in Wyoming is Jackson Hole Airport, with more than 500 employees. Three interstate highways and thirteen United States highways pass through Wyoming. In addition, the state is served by the Wyoming state highway system.

Interstate 25 enters the state south of Cheyenne and runs north, intersecting Interstate 80 immediately west of Cheyenne. It passes through Casper and ends at Interstate 90 near Buffalo. Interstate 80 crosses the Utah border west of Evanston and runs east through the southern third of the state, passing through Cheyenne before entering Nebraska near Pine Bluffs. Interstate 90 comes into Wyoming near Parkman and cuts through the northeastern part of the state. It serves Gillette and enters South Dakota east of Sundance.

U.S. Routes 14, 16, and the eastern section of U.S. 20 all have their western terminus at the eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park and pass through Cody. U.S. 14 travels eastward before joining I-90 at Gillette. U.S. 14 then follows I-90 to the South Dakota border. U.S. 16 and 20 split off of U.S. 14 at Greybull and U.S. 16 turns east at Worland while U.S. 20 continues south Shoshoni. U.S. Route 287 carries traffic from Fort Collins, Colorado into Laramie, Wyoming through a pass between the Laramie Mountains and the Medicine Bow Mountains, merges with US 30 and I-80 until it reaches Rawlins, where it continues north, passing Lander. Outside of Moran, U.S. 287 is part of a large interchange with U.S. Highways 26, 191, and 89, before continuing north to the southern entrance of Yellowstone. U.S. 287 continues north of Yellowstone, but the two sections are separated by the national park.

Other U.S. highways that pass through the state are 18, 26, 30, 85, 87, 89, 189, 191, 212, and 287.

Wyoming is one of only two states (the other is South Dakota) in the 48 contiguous states not served by Amtrak. It was once served by Amtrak's San Francisco Zephyr and Pioneer lines.

Major interstates

  • I-25 (300.5 mi): connects Denver, Cheyenne, Casper and Buffalo. Most of the highway is connected with US 87. Major junctions include Interstate 80, US 30, US 85, US 26, US Routes 18 & 20 and US 16 before its northern terminus at Interstate 90 in Buffalo.
  • I-80 (402.8 mi): connects Evanston, Rock Springs, Rawlins, Laramie and Cheyenne. Major junctions include US 191, US 287, I-25, and US 85 & I-180.
  • I-90 (208.8 mi): connects Sheridan, Buffalo and Gillette. Primarily in northeastern Wyoming. Major junctions include US 14, I-25 and US 16.

Wind River Indian Reservation

The Wind River Indian Reservation is shared by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes of Native Americans in the central western portion of the state near Lander. The reservation is home to 2,500 Eastern Shoshone and 5,000 Northern Arapaho.

Chief Washakie established the reservation in 1868 as the result of negotiations with the federal government in the Fort Bridger Treaty, but the federal government forced the Northern Arapaho onto the Shoshone reservation in 1876 after it failed to provide a promised separate reservation.

Today the Wind River Indian Reservation is jointly owned, with each tribe having a 50% interest in the land, water, and other natural resources. The reservation is a sovereign, self-governed land with two independent governing bodies: the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the Northern Arapaho Tribe. Until 2014, the Shoshone Business Council and Northern Arapaho Business Council met jointly as the Joint Business Council to decide matters that affect both tribes. Six elected council members from each tribe served on the joint council.

Public lands

Wyoming ref 2001
Wyoming terrain map

Nearly half the land in Wyoming (about 30,099,430 acres (121,808.1 km2)) is owned by the federal government; the state owns another 3,864,800 acres (15,640 km2). Most of it is administered by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service in numerous national forests and a national grassland, not to mention vast swaths of "public" land and an air force base near Cheyenne.

Map Wyoming NPS sites USA
National Park Service sites map

There are also areas managed by the National Park Service and agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

National parks
Memorial parkway
  • The John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway connects Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
National recreation areas
National monuments
National historic trails, landmarks and sites
National fish hatcheries
National wildlife refuges
Panoramic view of the Teton Range looking west from Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park

Wind River Indian Reservation

The Wind River Indian Reservation is shared by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes of Native Americans in the central western portion of the state near Lander. The reservation is home to 2,500 Eastern Shoshone and 5,000 Northern Arapaho.

Chief Washakie established the reservation in 1868 as the result of negotiations with the federal government in the Fort Bridger Treaty. However, the Northern Arapaho were forced onto the Shoshone reservation in 1876 by the federal government after the government failed to provide a promised separate reservation.

Today the Wind River Indian Reservation is jointly owned, with each tribe having a 50% interest in the land, water, and other natural resources. The reservation is a sovereign, self-governed land with two independent governing bodies: the Eastern Shoshone Tribal Government and the Northern Arapaho Tribal Government. The Eastern Shoshone Business Council meets jointly with the Northern Arapaho Business Council as the Joint Business Council to decide matters that affect both tribes. Six elected council members from each tribe serve on the joint council.

Counties

The state of Wyoming has 23 counties.

Wyoming counties map
An enlargeable map of the 23 counties of Wyoming
The 23 counties of the state of Wyoming
Rank County Population Rank County Population
1 Laramie 94,483 13 Converse 14,008
2 Natrona 78,621 14 Goshen 13,636
3 Campbell 47,874 15 Big Horn 11,794
4 Sweetwater 45,267 16 Sublette 10,368
5 Fremont 41,110 17 Platte 8,756
6 Albany 37,276 18 Johnson 8,615
7 Sheridan 29,596 19 Washakie 8,464
8 Park 28,702 20 Crook 7,155
9 Teton 21,675 21 Weston 7,082
10 Uinta 21,025 22 Hot Springs 4,822
11 Lincoln 17,961 23 Niobrara 2,456
12 Carbon 15,666 Wyoming Total 576,412

Wyoming license plates contain a number on the left that indicates the county where the vehicle is registered, ranked by an earlier census. Specifically, the numbers are representative of the property values of the counties in 1930. The county license plate numbers are as follows:

License
Plate
Prefix
County License
Plate
Prefix
County License
Plate
Prefix
County
1 Natrona 9 Big Horn 17 Campbell
2 Laramie 10 Fremont 18 Crook
3 Sheridan 11 Park 19 Uinta
4 Sweetwater 12 Lincoln 20 Washakie
5 Albany 13 Converse 21 Weston
6 Carbon 14 Niobrara 22 Teton
7 Goshen 15 Hot Springs 23 Sublette
8 Platte 16 Johnson    

Cities and towns

Casperskyline

The State of Wyoming has 99 incorporated municipalities.

Most Populous Wyoming Cities and Towns
Rank City County Population
1 Cheyenne Laramie 60,096
2 Casper Natrona 55,988
3 Laramie Albany 31,312
4 Gillette Campbell 29,389
5 Rock Springs Sweetwater 23,229
6 Sheridan Sheridan 17,517
7 Green River Sweetwater 12,622
8 Evanston Uinta 12,282
9 Riverton Fremont 10,867
10 Jackson Teton 9,710
11 Cody Park 9,653
12 Rawlins Carbon 9,203
13 Lander Fremont 7,571
14 Torrington Goshen 6,690
15 Powell Park 6,314

In 2005, 50.6% of Wyomingites lived in one of the 13 most populous Wyoming municipalities.

Metropolitan areas

The United States Census Bureau has defined two Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) and seven Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MiSA) for the State of Wyoming. In 2008, 30.4% of Wyomingites lived in either of the Metropolitan Statistical Areas, and 73% lived in either a Metropolitan Statistical Area or a Micropolitan Statistical Area.

CheyenneWY downtown
Cheyenne
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas
Census Area County Population
Cheyenne Laramie County, Wyoming 95,809
Casper Natrona County, Wyoming 80,973
Gillette Campbell County, Wyoming 48,176
Rock Springs Sweetwater County, Wyoming 45,237
Jackson Teton County, Wyoming 32,543
Teton County, Idaho 10,275
Total 42,818
Riverton Fremont County, Wyoming 40,998
Laramie Albany County, Wyoming 37,422
Sheridan Sheridan County, Wyoming 29,824
Evanston Uinta County, Wyoming 21,066

State symbols

Indian Paintbrush in Grand Teton NP-NPS
State flower of Wyoming: Indian paintbrush

List of all Wyoming state symbols:

Education

Rocky Mountain Herbarium University of Wyoming
The Rocky Mountain Herbarium at the University of Wyoming

Public education is directed by the state superintendent of public instruction, an elected state official. Educational policies are set by the State Board of Education, a nine-member board appointed by the governor. The constitution prohibits the state from establishing curriculum and textbook selections; these are the prerogatives of local school boards. The Wyoming School for the Deaf was the only in-state school dedicated to supporting deaf students in Wyoming before its closure in the summer of 2000.

Higher education

Wyoming has one public four-year institution, the University of Wyoming in Laramie and one private four-year college, Wyoming Catholic College, in Lander, Wyoming. There are also seven two-year community colleges in the state.

Before the passing of a new law in 2006, Wyoming had hosted unaccredited institutions, many of them suspected diploma mills. The 2006 law requires unaccredited institutions to make one of three choices: move out of Wyoming, close down, or apply for accreditation. The Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization predicted in 2007 that in a few years the problem of diploma mills in Wyoming might be resolved.

Images for kids

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