Wyoming, the country’s top coal producer, is wrangling support for wind power

Just off Interstate 80 in Sinclair, Wyoming (population 415), the Sinclair Refinery processes crude oil from the United States and Canada. Every day the refinery, one of the region’s largest, converts 85,000 barrels of oil to gasoline, diesel, propane, and other petroleum products. But the town may soon become famous for a cleaner sort of energy, as the gateway to the...

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Why you need to hike the Wind River Range in Wyoming

When most people think of backpacking in the West, their minds drift to destinations like Colorado’s iconic 14ers, John Muir’s Sierra, the Pacific Crest Trail, or the jagged North Cascades in Washington. Very few have heard of the Wind Rivers in Wyoming — and those who have like it that way. Here’s what they’re missing. The Winds stretch for over 100 miles along the...

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The long, strange trip of Deer 255

Standing in a thick patch of pine and fir, mosquitoes swarming her face, Anna Ortega lifted a radio receiver into the air, angling it back and forth as she listened for the blip, blip, blip of a mule deer collar. A zoology graduate student at the University of Wyoming, Ortega was tracking Deer 255, a doe that had braved road crossings, fences, wolves and other hazards to...

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Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Medicine Bow National Forest – A Photo Essay

The Snowy Range Scenic Byway crosses the Medicine Bow Mountain Range and includes nearly 30 miles of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest portion of Wyoming Highway 130. It passes between the towns of Centennial and Saratoga, but it’s what is in between that is spectacular. Originally a wagon road built in the 1870s, the road was paved in the 1930s and designated...

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Devils Tower National Monument – A Photo Essay

Devils Tower, an important landmark for Plains Indians tribes long before the white man reached Wyoming, was called Mateo Tepee or Grizzly Bear Lodge by the Sioux. A number of legends describe the origin of Devils Tower. “One legend tells of seven little girls being chased onto a low rock to escape attacking bears. Their prayers for help were heeded as the rock...

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Bighorn National Forest celebrates 120 years

One hundred twenty years ago, Wyoming’s Big Horn Forest Reserve was signed into existence by President Grover Cleveland. This legislation outlined that reserves had to meet the criteria of forest protection, watershed protection and timber production. In 1905, the Forest Service was established with the same resource protection focus. By 1908, the forest’s name had...

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In the Teton Wilderness, where two oceans begin

The camp is located 22 miles from the Turpin Meadow trailhead along the famous plateau where North Two Ocean Creek makes a baffling break into two, sending Pacific and Atlantic creeks toward their namesake oceans. It’s usually reachable terrain by mid-June, once the sunshine in the high country has erased the last signs of winter atop Trail Creek Pass. Right now, in the...

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Centuries-old Medicine Wheel draws many to national forest in Wyoming

For centuries, the Medicine Wheel in the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming has been used for prayer and vision quests by the Crow Tribe and other Native people. Visitors come from all over the world to hike up Medicine Mountain to the wheel, a National Historical Site managed by the Bighorn National Forest with guidance from the Medicine Wheel Alliance. The Medicine...

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The Yellowstone River starts its great journey

Just off the Continental Divide, deep in Wyoming’s Absaroka Range and Teton Wilderness, Younts Peak brushes thin air at 12,156 feet. When the melt season arrives, snowfields in a cirque high up on the massif’s north face and other flanks are adorned with countless rivulets. Trickling off the snow, they weave in the mountain’s tundra, forming into small creeks as...

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Companies have abandoned 8,000 coal-bed methane wells on public lands in Wyoming – Who pays?

Coal-bed methane was going to be the answer to Wyoming’s slumping oil-based economy. Companies flocked to the Powder River Basin in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the promise of big money was available to anyone with a dream and ability to work hard. Thousands of wells popped up. The BLM oversees 15,662 coal-bed methane wells in the Powder River Basin alone, said...

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Forbidden Data: Wyoming just criminalized citizen science

Imagine visiting Yellowstone this summer. You wake up before dawn to take a picture of the sunrise over the mists emanating from Yellowstone hot springs. A thunderhead towers above the rising sun, and the picture turns out beautifully. You submit the photo to a contest sponsored by the National Weather Service. Under a statute signed into law by the Wyoming governor this...

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Hiking In Style: Wyoming’s Trails Get A Touch Of High Class

On Easter Sunday, six hikers tumble out of cars and gather at the East Trailhead of Turtle Rock, East of Laramie. Chuck Adams, the hike’s organizer, gathers them in a circle. He says, “This is the fourth High Society hike that’s been in the works. The other three have occurred in Oregon, so this is the first in Wyoming so congratulations. You should feel special.” They...

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Fewer trade secrets for Wyoming fracking fluid

In 2010 Wyoming became the first state to require oil and gas companies to disclose chemicals used in fracking operations. Home to the petroleum-rich Powder River Basin, proponents saw the rule as a model for other drilling-dependent states to follow. The message they hoped the regulation would convey: We can be energy-friendly and environmentally friendly too. But the...

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Losing place in Wyoming’s Red Desert

The Red Desert in Wyoming is huge. It encompasses 9,320 square miles and is the largest unfenced area in the continental U.S. I-80 cuts across its southern quarter. Highway 287 runs up its eastern side and then angles across its northern edge, following the route of the historic Oregon Trail whose 350,000 travelers between the 1840s and 1860s wanted no part of the arid...

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Great Big Day Hikes in the Tetons

For any hikers, the Tetons offer numerous five-star dayhikes. But for hikers capable of knocking off 15, 20, or more miles and 4,000 vertical feet or more in a day, the Tetons have some of the best long dayhikes in the country. You’ll find that trails in the Tetons, while not easy by any stretch, are not as difficult, step for step, as the Presidential Range in the White...

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‘Nature girl’ makes business of hiking

Cathy Shill and her small crew of guides at the Hole Hiking Experience usher thousands of people through the Jackson Hole, WY wilderness each year. The business has been good to Shill, allowing the biologist to do what she has loved since 1989, when she founded the company. She has kept the enterprise relatively small and local, but she recently expanded it halfway...

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Wyoming offers hiking outings on New Year’s Day

Six New Year’s Day guided hikes will be held at Wyoming State Parks, historic sites and trails as part of the America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative. In Wyoming, hikes will be offered at the following locations and times: Bear River State Park – Short nature hike along the Bear River. Hike distance will vary. Meet at the Bear River Shelter. Begin at 10...

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Earthquake Swarm Rattling Yellowstone National Park

More than 100 earthquakes have shaken Yellowstone National Park since last Tuesday, with the strongest, a tremblor of 3.6 magnitude, felt Sunday, according to the University of Utah Semisograph Stations. The quake occurred at 9:53:02 a.m. Sunday; the epicenter of the shock was located in Yellowstone’s Lower Geyser Basin area, 8 miles north of Old Faithful, and 15...

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Yellowstone National Park 1988: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective of Black Saturday

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Black Saturday, the most significant single day of fire growth to occur during the 1988 Yellowstone fires. The 1988 Yellowstone fires were also the most significant fires to ever occur in a national park, and an event that would in many ways transform fire management throughout the country. The fire season at Yellowstone that season...

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Hiking Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Peak

Wyoming’s high country does not always lend itself to quick weekend getaways. The trailheads are often isolated, requiring hours of driving. The trails themselves frequently spend miles winding their way towards the peaks. In short, reaching the high country is usually a time consuming, laborious endeavor. So what is a mountain loving, time-strapped person to do? The...

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