The state flag of Wyoming.
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|Population:||563,626 (July 2016)|
|Size:||97,813 square miles|
The Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania was the origin of this state’s name. Admitted to the Union in 1890. Wyoming is the 44th state. Though the state is the tenth largest state by area, Wyoming is the least populated. Perhaps because two thirds of the state is consumed by the Rocky Mountains and about half is owned by the United States government. The population estimate for the entire state was 586,000, with the capital having only about 63,000 in 2015.
Established in 1886, the University of Wyoming is the oldest university in the state and one of only two universities in the state where individuals can acquire an education beyond an associate’s degree. The other college offering a baccalaureate degree is Wyoming Catholic College, established in 2005. The enrollment at the University of Wyoming is approximately 13,000, while enrollment at Wyoming Catholic College is about 370.
There are nine colleges that offer only associate degrees. The oldest of these is Casper College located in Casper, Wyoming and established in 1945.
Wyoming is a conservative state with old west values. However, the state has a long standing progressive history on women’s rights. Women in Wyoming were the first to be granted the right to vote. Wyoming lays claim to the first woman justice of the peace, the first woman to hold a state office and the first woman governor.
Tourism is a major driver of the state’s economy. Grand Teton National Park draws about 2.7 million visitors a year and Yellowstone National Park draws about 3.8 million. Let’s not forget Devil’s Tower National Monument, Bighorn National Forest or just a drive along one of Wyoming’s scenic byways. Visitors can enjoy hiking, snow skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, camping, fishing, wildlife watching or hunting and much more.
Other major economic drivers include agriculture and mining.
Wyoming produces hay, sugar beets, wheat, barley, wool and cattle. The growing season across the state is short. Though agriculture has taken a back seat in the Wyoming economy, the way of life in still a major factor in the lifestyle and culture.
Mining is a major driver of the Wyoming economy. Small amounts of gold and copper have been found in the state, but today, the state mines coal, crude oil, natural gas, uranium and trona.
The Green River, Wyoming, deposits of trona are believed to be the largest reserve of trona in the world. Trona, in the form of soda ash, is used to make glass, baking soda, water softeners, among many other uses.
The wholesale slaughter of wildlife in the Territory of Wyoming was rampant in the 1880s and wildlife populations were steadily declining. To stem the tide of the decline, the Territory passed the Act for the Protection of Game and Fish, but the Act didn’t do much good. At one point during the 1880s, there were reports the streams in Wyoming had no fish left in them.
Fish hatcheries were opened and the office of the State Game Warden were established to define a wildlife management policy for the state. The commission defined hunting and fishing seasons and a license structure. The fish and wildlife populations began to slowly recover. Rationing and the absence of hunters during World War II gave wildlife populations the opportunity to expand across the state. Today, license fees support the management of fish and wildlife in the state.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department offers new and information about hunting and fishing in the State. Sign up for Game and Fish emails or download the latest episodes their weekly radio broadcasts.
Temperatures in Wyoming rarely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The good news is, as hot as some areas of the state may get in the summer, the average temperature across the state in the evening is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Summers are short and winters vary from mild to cold, depending on the Chinook Winds.
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