As home to the first National Park, and the first National Monument in the country, Wyoming is beautiful, wild country that is reminiscent of a bygone era. Encompassing nearly 98,000 square miles, Wyoming has the smallest population of any state – cattle outnumber people by almost three to one. With Montana to the north, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Colorado and Utah to the south and Idaho to the west; Wyoming is situated in the very heart of the American west. The Continental Divide goes across Wyoming diagonally from the northwest corner to south-central region, providing a home for some of the nation’s premiere ski resorts like Jackson Hole.
The Bighorn River, Green River, Belle Fourche River, Powder River and North Platte River all flow through Wyoming. Wyoming also holds numerous lakes and reservoirs that are great for boating, fishing, camping and other recreational activities.
Wyoming has an eventful history stretching back some 12,000 years. At one time, Wyoming was home to the Arapaho, Arikara, Bannock, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa, Nez Perce, Sheep Eater, Sioux, Shoshone and Ute tribes. In fact, the Cheyenne and Sioux were the last of the Indians to be controlled and placed on reservations and some of the most infamous battles of the late Indian Wars took place in Wyoming. Today, Wyoming is home to some 2,300 Shoshone and 3,500 Arapaho Indians living on the Wind River Reservation. Sacajawea, the famous Shoshone guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is buried just west of Fort Washakie. Initial white exploration into Wyoming occurred due to beaver top hats coming into fashion, and the trappers searching the Rocky Mountains for these profitable pelts. After becoming an important way station along the Oregon Trial, Wyoming became the 44th State in 1890.
With cattle significantly outnumbering people, ranching is the cornerstone of Wyoming’s economy. However, hay, sugar beets, hogs, and sheep and lambs are the other top agricultural products of Wyoming. In fact, Wyoming is a top producer of sheep and wool. Wyoming has a limited manufacturing sector, with soda ash as the state’s top manufactured product. Wyoming has an extensive mining sector and is a leading coal, petroleum and natural gas producing state. As home to numerous ski resorts, historic sites, hunting ranches, national parks, recreation areas and monuments, Wyoming also enjoys a healthy tourism sector.