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Wyoming Colleges

Wyoming Colleges


The Rocky Mountains traverse Wyoming’s rectangular borders from the northwest corner down towards the south and east.  To the east of the mountains is the rolling country of the Great Plains, in this area a mile-high region covered with grasses and sagebrush and interrupted by the upward thrust of mountain ranges. In the center of the state is a stretch of unbroken high plain.  Up in the state’s northeast corner the western edge of the Black Hills spill over the state line adjacent to some badlands that lead to the banks of the Powder River. 


West of the river are Wyoming’s grasslands and to the south of them, the Laramie and Medicine Bow Mountain Ranges.  In the western portion of the state, the Wind River Range is penetrated by the South Pass, whence went the Oregon Trail and later, the transcontinental railroad.  In the state’s northwest corner is the Grand Teton range, some of the nation’s most beautiful mountain real estate.


The Tetons are in one of Wyoming’s national parks; Yellowstone is the other.  Yellowstone was the country’s first national park, its spectacular beauty recognized early by Teddy Roosevelt.  Tourism was clearly an early economic boost to the state and is one of the major components of the state’s economy today.


The United States laid claim to Wyoming partially through the treaty ending the Mexican War of 1846-1848; partially through a treaty with Britain in 1846 that secured the rights to Oregon and other areas; and partially through the Louisiana Purchase.  Trappers and settlers had been passing through the area since the early 1800s, but formal stewardship for the U.S. did not come about until the mid-century. 


When the Wyoming Territory was organized in 1869, Wyoming women became the first in the nation to obtain the right to vote. The state entered the Union in 1890 and in 1925 Mrs. Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman governor in the United States.


Dry farming in parts of the state produce portions of the state’s cash crops of wheat, hay and barley.  Those areas of the state that have access to irrigation water are capable of producing dry beans and sugar beets.  Cattle and sheep still rule the grazing lands and are monitored carefully as the sparse grasslands will not support any degree of concentration by the grazing stock.  Federal lands are leased for this purpose, supported by privately owned pastureland and, during the winter, bailed and purchased feed.


Natural gas and oil are now being produced in the state; Wyoming also has almost ten million acres of forested land.  Much of that is in state or federal parks and logging in those areas is done on a controlled basis.  Wyoming leads the nation in the production of coal and mines a number of minerals on a commercial basis as well.


The opportunities in Wyoming lie in the service industry, in resort management perhaps, and in resource management through the public sector.  But if you want to live in a spectacular place that in many places has ignored the passage of the last one hundred years, head for Wyoming.


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