Biennial Report of the State Engineer to the Governor
from the Wyoming State Engineer's Report for the Years 1903
From Big Piney postoffice the route
followed runs easterly to Green River, thence up that stream
for some six miles, crossing the River at Luman's Ferry. The
western bank of the River was followed from this point until
within six miles of Burns, when a road was taken which leads
towards Pinedale, on Pine Creek, the outlet of Fremont's Lake.
Passing through Pinedale, camp was established on Fremon's Lake.
The Wind River Mountains had been in sight from the hills north
of Fontenelle, but the best view obtainable was from a point
between Big Piney postoffice and Green River. At Fremont's Lake
hide from view all but the summits of the higher peaks. Fremont's
Peak is easily recognized from the sketches made by the members
of the party of that early explorer.
As Fremont's Lake is a beautiful sheet
of water, so is Pine Creek a magnificant stream. Leaving the
Lake in a broad, deep channel, with but little fall, it soon
becomes a turbulent stream, pitching over one series of rapids
after another. The opportunities for developing power along
this stream have already been taken advantage of, and it will
only be a matter of a few years when many streams of the same
locality will be in like manner utilized. Fremont's Lake is about
twelve miles long, with a maximum width of two or three miles.
It will in time be utilized as a storage reservoir. The Government
has already made some surveys which indicate that it can be converted
into a storage reservoir cheaply, thus rendering it possible
to irrigate a large area lying to the southeast.
roads between Pinedale and Cora are almost impassable during
the irrigation season...we were advised to drive in one
of the ditches, which we did..."
From Fremont's Lake the route led westerly
to Cora. The roads between Pinedale and Cora are almost impassable
during the irrigation season. This we were told before leaving
Pinedale, and it was impressed upon our minds every mile we
traveled between the two places. It seems that irrigation is
the chief essential and such incidental damage as may be done
in connection therewith is a trivial matter. The mail carrier
between the two points is able to perform his duty by riding
a horse that can swim when necessary and travel in deep mud most
of the time. for three-fourths of a mile the road leads through
a lane. There are two ditches running parallel to each other
for its entire length. The road has consequently suffered and
were advised to drive in one of the ditches, which we did. Upon
arriving at Cora, we were informed that this portion of the road
has been appropriately named "Boat Alley." The conditions described
are not limited to this locality. There is not enough attention
paid to keeping the roads in good condition. They should be located
where the best and shortest road can be maintained. The county
should obtain a right of way and the person who is responsible
for making travel over them impossible or even difficult should
be required to make some kind of a return to the public which
he greatly inconveniences through carelessness.
From Cora the route follows Willow Creek,
a tributary of New Fork, to the divide between that stream and
Green River, thence up Green River to Kendall. This latter point
has been the center of timber operations on the head of Green
River. The last tie and log drive down Green River had left Kendall
ten days prior to our arrival and the cutting of timber without
restriction had come to a sudden end. Forest Supervisor Jones
maintains his headquarters at Kendall. He informed us that the
snow is deeper there than it is either at Cora or at Green River
Lake some twenty miles further up the river. The snowfall at
Kendall is such as to cover the ground to a depth of from four
to ten feet, while at Green River Lake it is possible for live
stock to secure good grazing.
in relation to stock, game, and the National Forest Reserves
Excerpts from 1907 "WOLVES
Stock, Game and the National Forest Reserves," by
Vernon Bailey, Assistant in Charge of Geographic Distribution,
Biological Survey, United States Department of Agriculture,
Forest Service - Bulletin 72)
The enormous losses suffered by stockmen
on the western cattle ranges and the destruction of game on
forest reserves, game preserves, and in national parks through
of wolves have led to special investigations by the Biological
Survey in cooperation with the Forest Service, to ascertain
the best methods for destroying these pests. The results appear
the present report, which includes also field notes on the
distribution, abundance, and breeding habits of wolves.
the upper Green River Valley of Wyoming, between the Salt
River and Wind River mountains - Forty old wolves, or approximately
one to a township, would seem a fair estimate of the number
in this valley...
The chief object of
the report is to put in the hands of every hunter, trapper forest
ranger, and ranchman directions for trapping, poisoning, and
hunting wolves and finding the dens of young. If these directions
followed it is believed that the wolves can be so reduced in
number that their depredations will cease to be a serious menace
to stock raising. Prime wolf skins are worth from $4 to $6 each,
enough to induce trappers and enterprising ranch boys to make
an effort to secure them if a reasonable degree of success is
assured. Stock owners need little encouragement to catch or kill
wolves on their own ranges, at it is believed that the forest
rangers will be able to keep them down on the forest reserves.
Their complete extermination on the western range is not, however,
to be expected in the near future, and it is only by constant
and concerted effort that their numbers can be kept down sufficiently
to prevent serious depredations.
In the upper Green River Valley of Wyoming, between the Salt
River and Wind River mountains, wolves were apparently just
as numerous in March, 1906, as on a previous trip that I made
through the valley thirteen years before. Fresh tracks were
seen on the snow almost every day, usually of wolves in pairs,
but in one case of a band of nine. Between March 24 and April
21, 1906, four dens, containing 32 wolf pups, were found, with
2 old wolves at each den; and evidently there were two or three
other dens in the valley. Forty old wolves, or approximately
one to a township, would seem a fair estimate of the number
in this valley...
DESTRUCTION OF STOCK BY WOLVES
The stock killed by wolves is mainly cattle. Calves and yearlings
are generally selected, but if these are not available, cows,
and even full-grown steers, are killed. They are usually attacked
from behind and literally eaten alive. Occasionally an animal
will escape the wolf with a great piece torn out of its ham,
while the wolf goes on to catch and kill another. The ranchmen
in the wolf country maintain that a "critter' even slightly
bitten by a wolf will die of blood poisoning, and many detailed
seem fully to substantiate this. More cattle are therefore killed
than are eaten. Evidently the wolves prefer freshly killed beef.
In summer they rarely return for even a second meal from the
same animal; but in winter, when in the snowy north the cattle
are gathered into pastures or stables, they often return to a
carcass until its bones are picked.
In the Green River Basin, Wyoming, on
April 2, 1906, Mr. Charles Budd had 8 yearling calves and 4 colts
killed in his pasture by wolves within six weeks. At Big Piney
a number of cattle and a few horses had been killed around the
settlement during the previous fall and winter. At Pinedale members
of the local stockmen's association counted 30 head of cattle
killed in the valley around Cora and Pinedale in 1905, between
April, when the cattle were turned out on the range, and June
30, when they were driven to the mountains. In 1906 wolves were
said to have come into the pastures near Cora and Pinedale and
begun killing cattle in January on the 'feed grounds,' and Mr.
George Glover counted up 22 head of cattle killed by them up
to April 10. Just north of Cora Mr. Alexander, a well-known ranchman,
told me that the wolves killed near his place in June, 1904,
a large 3-year-old steer, a cow, 3 yearlings, and a horse.
DESTRUCTION OF GAME BY WOLVES
The amount of game killed is even less easily determined than
of cattle, but, judging from the evidence obtained, wolves
kill far less game in the western United States than either
coyotes or mountain lions.
At Big Piney, Wyo, I examined wolf dung
in probably fifty places around dens and along wolf trails. In
about nine-tenths of the case it was composed mainly or entirely
of cattle or horse hair; in all other cases but one, of rabbit
fur and bones, and in this one case, mainly of antelope hair...
Glover has never found any evidence that elk had been killed
Talking with hunters and trappers who
spend much time in the mountains when the snow is on the ground
brought little positive information on the destruction of elk
or deer by wolves. Mr. George Glover, a forest ranger long familiar
with the Wind River Mountains in both winter and summer, said
that he had found a large blacktail buck which the wolves had
eaten, but that he suspected it had been previously shot by hunters.
In many winters of trapping where elk were abundant, Mr. Glover
has never found any evidence that elk had been killed by wolves.
Coyotes constantly follow the elk herds, especially in spring
when the calves are being born, and probably destroy many of
the young, but wolves apparently do not share this habit. It
seems probable, however, that in summer the young of both elk
and deer suffer to some extent while the wolves are among them
in the mountains... Over the Central Plains region of the United
States wolves in great numbers originally preyed on the buffalo
herds, but the buffalo wolf has now become preeminently the cattle
Automobile Freight Truck service offered
Rock Springs to
Pinedale in ten hours
topics Illustrated" magazine)
The Wyoming Auto Transit Company, which
runs automobile stages from Rock Springs to Yellowstone Park,
is preparing to make a test of an automobile freight truck. The
distance from Rock Springs to Pinedale is 120 miles. It is expected
to make the distance in ten hours with a cargo of four tons.
Wyoming - "Vacation Land Supreme"
Excerpts from circa 1930s, Pinedale, Wyoming, 13-page travel pamphlet
Commercial Club, Pinedale, Wyoming)
Pinedale, Wyoming, situated on Highway
187 (the scenic Hoback Canyon route to Teton and Yellowstone
National Parks), is 103 miles north from junction with Lincoln
Highway (30) at Rock Springs, Wyoming. Rock Springs is the
nearest rail point (on the Union Pacific Railroad).
Hoback Canyon route (187) from Rock
Springs to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks is an excellent
highway with no long, steep or dangerous grades. This route traverses
some of the most wonderful scenery in America.
has electricity, lights and power (water and sewer systems
under construction), and is county seat of Sublette County
- the largest cattle county in Wyoming...."
Pinedale, Wyoming, (elevation 7167 ft.),
a modern ranch town, population 500, has electricity, lights
and power (water and sewer systems under construction), and is
county seat of Sublette County - the largest cattle county in
Wyoming. Nestling in the pines at the base of the Wind River
Range, Pinedale is surrounded by varied and delightful recreational
facilities, and is the gateway to the Bridger Wilderness area,
as well as to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks. It is the
central outfitting point for auto and pack trips to nearby attractions.
Pinedale stores carry complete stocks,
and this is the central outfitting point for either summer or
fall big game hunting. Pack trips over any portion of this vast
wilderness of forest, lakes and canyons, with complete equipment
furnished can be readily arranged.
What a setting for a carefree vacation,
far from the bustle and worries of city life. In this clear and
invigorating atmosphere, with cool nights blankets are always
comfortable, you will find new health and vigor. Fresh air, the
finest tonic that Nature offers where sufferers from asthma or
hay fever often find immediate relief.
For further information write: Pinedale
Commercial Club, Pinedale, Wyoming.
189 - Vacation Trail
Summer Route to the Switzerland of America"
from circa 1940s, 1-page tourism brochure, compliments
of the Kemmerer Lions Club)
U.S. 189 Vacation Trail
Coolest Summer Route to the Switzerland of America
In Northwestern Wyoming.
For the most scenic trip
Grand Teton Park
UPPER GREEN RIVER VALLEY
THE FAMED JACKSON HOLE
Last Stand of the Old
ranches where the Roundup still rides
Also a great sheep range country
Crossing Old Immigrant trails
Interesting coal mining districts
Oil Fields, Petrified Forests
Fossil Fish Beds near by
Free Recreational Forest Camps
Wild Game and Predatory Animals
Many Side Trips
Good Fishing at Many Points
Many Mountain Lakes
Travel Over 300 Miles Fine Oil Roads
OPEN THE YEAR ROUND
Vacation and Recreation in Summer
Pinedale population: 650
Big Piney population: 300
LaBarge population: 150
Kemmerer population: 2,040
Jackson population: 1,043
and the Sage Grouse
Big Piney, Wyoming Sage Grouse
Nesting Study - 1940, Warren J. Allred, Wyoming Pittman-Robertson
Excerpts from January, 1942 Wyoming Game & Fish "Wyoming
Vol. VII, No. 1 )
The nesting study in the Big Piney area
was made possible through a cooperative agreement between the
United States Grazing Service and the Wyoming Game and Fish
Commission, assisted by Federal Aid in Wildlife funds. The services
Civilian Conservation Corps foreman and ten enrollees were
obtained from the Big Piney CCC camp for the period of one
week; and during
this time the above-mentioned individuals covered a strip of
ground one chain wide and 35 miles long, a tract equivalent
to 280 acres. The
a natural predation of 80.9 percent, there is little wonder
that the grouse cannot sustain themselves. "
surveyors moved forward in a line, not
more than six feet apart, combing the country carefully; and
21 nests were
located. This gave the country under study a nesting density
of one nest to each 13.3 acres. There is little information
available with which a comparison might be made, but the density
to be low. Colorado has reported one sage grouse nest to each
seven acres, in some areas.
Of the 21 nests located, 16 or 76.2
per cent were found destroyed. One nest at first intact was found
to be deserted a few days later, because of the presence of domestic
cattle. This is destruction in reality, and increases the number
of nests destroyed to 17, or 80.9 per cent.
In three cases, the coyote, Canis
appeared to have been the cause of destruction. Two adult sage
hens had been killed while incubating on the nest, and the eggs
in each case had been destroyed. Feathers were scattered about,
and coyote tracks were observed in the vicinity. Feathers, from
a third hen, presumably killed by a coyote were found, but the
nest itself was not located.
The third nest, believed destroyed by
a coyote, was well covered by overhanging brush. The contents,
including eggs and nesting material, had been dragged from the
nest, and trails left in the dirt by the predator, in dragging
out the contents, were still plainly visible. The eggs were broken
and the contents removed.
Five nests destroyed by predaceous birds
were observed. As only ravens were seen in the area, it was concluded
that they were responsible for the avian depredation. In two
instances, small holes were found in one side of the eggs. In
the other three cases, egg shells were found in the tops of nearby
sage brush clumps, indicating that the predators had transported
the eggs there for consumption.
The agent of destruction in the remaining
eight nests could not be definitely ascertained, but it is believed
that coyotes and ravens both played an important role. In the
study area one young chick was found dead. Evidence indicated
that it had been trampled. Cattle tracks were numerous, and
the chick had died from internal injuries.
Coyotes, then, were credited with responsibility
for 14.3 per cent of the total destruction; ravens with 23.8
per cent; and the remaining 61.9 per cent was unascribed, although
evidence indicated that both coyotes and ravens had been at work.
The average number of eggs in the undestroyed nests were 7.3.
In an area of ideal habitat, with ample
cover and water supply, the sage grouse population has decreased
from thousands to a mere handful; and forest rangers and ranchers
report that the decline is continuing, even under the present
three-year-old State protective system. With a natural predation
of 80.9 percent, there is little wonder that the grouse cannot
sustain themselves. Ranchers in the area say they cannot even
raise domestic chickens because magpies either destroy the eggs
or kill the young chicks.
The area will be studied again during
the 1942 nesting season, with predators under control. A comparison
will be made, and the results of the two studies will be enlightening
Big Game Kill Sets Record
The pronghorn was considered
almost extinct in Wyoming 25 years ago
Excerpts from March, 1942 Wyoming Game & Fish "Wyoming
Vol. VII, No. 3 )
The 18,614 big game animals killed legally
in Wyoming during the 1941 hunting season represent the heaviest
game harvest yet recorded in the State. The previous record,
set in 1940, was 14,359 animals taken. The 1939 figure was 8,258
pronghorn, for example, was considered almost extinct in
Wyoming 25 years ago."
It will be noted that the 1941 number
represents more than 100 per cent increase in animals killed,
over a three-year period. Such an expansion is unusually large
and significant, yet there is nothing in it to alarm the conservationist.
Factors accounting for the heavier yield are varied, the reasons
behind it sound. It did not result from blind, uncontrolled slaughter
of game animals, but rather from a carefully planned and controlled
harvest based upon a long-range program of use, formulated with
the assistance of Department and Federal wild life experts familiar
with Wyoming conditions.
These factors might be listed, in order
of probable importance, as follows:
1. Increase in game populations. Pronghorn
antelope, moose, and mountain sheep, once so far depleted in
Wyoming that some naturalists despaired of their being restored
point where they could be hunted again, have increased gradually
under a 25-year program of closed seasons and rigidly controlled
hunting seasons. The pronghorn, for example, was considered almost
extinct in Wyoming 25 years ago. This year, 5,630 antelope hunting
permits were issued during the regular hunting season, and results
of over-population became so acute in five counties that a special
three-week summer season was declared. Elk and deer have also
increased, as the comeback of other game species has acted to
reduce pressure upon them, somewhat. The bear was added to the
list of game animals three years ago, increasing the number in
the category still more.
2. An increase in the number of hunters.
This trend may be influenced by the growing population of big
game hunting, and by the present rising costs of meat products.
3. Range conditions. Winter range abundance
is the dominant factor determining the number of big game animals
any given area will sustain. It therefore determines the size
of the harvest necessary to keep population and food supply in
balance. Many of our game ranges were depleted by excessive numbers
of domestic stock before game animals were restored to a point
where they became a factor. Thus the game constitutes an additional
burden on land already suffering from insufficient plant cover
and soil erosion. To prevent a loss in game population by starvation,
it has been necessary at times to increase kill in certain localities.
This is accomplished by adding to the number of permits issued
for hunting the controlled species, and, in the case of deer,
authorizing open doe seasons in over-crowded regions.
4. Longer hunting seasons...
5. Increase in hunting area...
6. High success ratio...
7. Closer check-up on hunters...
...average elk antler spread in the
Big Horn Mountains was 31 inches, as compared with 36-inch spread
on elk taken from the Jackson Hole area.
County and the Bridger Wilderness
to Vacation Land"
Excerpts from a circa 1960s, 28-page tourism pamphlet,
compliments of Rivera
Lodge, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. "Buzz" Burzlander, Pinedale,
Sublette County . . . Where
the West Remains
Follow the trails of the pioneers - make Sublette county your destination!
Sublette county, of which
Pinedale is the county seat, is preeminently a cattle country
and therefore is not as generally known as other highly publicized
vacation centers of the West, yet because of the abundance of
game in this region was the favored spot of early explorers,
trappers and traders who made this section headquarters for their
vast operations that extended for a radius of hundreds of miles
in all directions...
Wind River Range with its myriad of peaks, streams, canyons,
lakes, forests and grassy meadows is "so stupendous,
so colossal, so awe inspiring: that it defies all attempt
to draw a word picture of its grandeur. Comparison is futile
since no other section of the Rocky Mountains, or the world
for that matter, even remotely resembles or rivals it..."
Pinedale, Wyoming, is a
typical town of the western cattle country - not merely where
the "west lingers," but WHERE THE WEST IS!
An annual rodeo is a "rarin'"
event that gives local cow-waddies and cowgirls an opportunity
to exhibit their skills. The Pinedale rodeo is rated as one of
the best in the West. Top riders of the various outfits enter
into spirited contests and present their best to carry off honors
for their ranch. Dudes and dudines, many of whom are expert riders,
also enter into the sports of the show with a vengeance and provide
To borrow a hackneyed phrase
from movie publicists, the Wind River Range with its myriad of
peaks, streams, canyons, lakes, forests and grassy meadows is
"so stupendous, so colossal, so awe inspiring" that it defies
all attempt to draw a word picture of its grandeur. Comparison
is futile since no other section of the Rocky Mountains, or the
world for that matter, even remotely resembles or rivals it...
Close by the DeSmet monument
(south of Daniel) is a monument marking the last resting place
of Pinckney Sublette, one of five brothers whose activities were
prominent in early western history. Sublette's body was first
interred on the banks of Fontenelle Creek, southwest of LaBarge,
in 1828. In 1897, during a St. Louis law suit to establish the
heir of his brother, Solomon, the bones were exhumed and taken
to St. Louis to establish his death. For nearly 40 years they
were in the vaults of the clerk of court, when the court ordered
them returned to Wyoming. Re-interment was on July 4, 1936, in
the county that bears the family name.
"Dude Ranch" is
not an expression that carries a clear-cut meaning to everyone,
a dude ranch is neither a summer hotel nor a farm where dudes
"ranch." In the mountains of the West every farm is
a ranch; they vary in size, too, from the small ranch to hundreds
and, in the case of some of the stock and grain ranches, even
larger. Most of the ranches are in settings of appealing beauty
with mountains, lakes and streams in their very yards, or at
least close by. Their hospitality is far more genuine, spontaneous
and personal than that of an ordinary summer resort. Theirs is
a heritage that is genuinely American. Many eastern families
have for years been spending their vacations at these ranches,
riding in Western cowboy saddles, hiking, fishing and hunting
in the real Western outdoors. Visitors or guests at the ranches
are honorably referred to as "dudes," hence "dude
a ranch where "dudes" are entertained. The rancher
is a "dude
wrangler." He, his cowboys, and the rest of his business
associates are the "outfit."
For further information
about Pinedale and Sublette County, write or contact the Secretary,
Pinedale Lions Club, Pinedale, Wyoming. Booklet cost 30 cents
the Lander Trail
hard work and a little dynamite, the project has been
Summer 1965 "Our Public Lands" Bureau
of Land Management publication. Story by Jack Bryant,
Resource Utilization Specialist, Cheyenne, Wyoming, PDF-4.7MB.
The Lander Trail goes through southern Sublette County, passing
just north along Hwy 351, through the Pinedale Anticline
gas field, through the Big Piney ballfields and directly
through the Sublette County Fairgrounds Ag Center building,
crosses through the Big Piney airport, and west over into
South Piney canyon. Many portions are still passable today,
in 2010, with 4-wheel drive vehicle, mountain bike, ATV,
horseback or on foot. Maps are available from the Pinedale
Wagon wheel ruts carved deep, marked
and unmarked graves, names etched in rock-signposts of history
left on Wyoming's landscape. Here, within a short generation,
the Mountain Man and his Rendezvous became an epoch of the West
and the trails were blazed for emigrants to follow. For nearly
half a century following the close of the great fur trade of
1841, thousands upon thousands of persons trekked west- and the
Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Overland Trail, and other travel
routes began their march into the history books.
Now, more than 100 years later, public
interest in the historic trails that won the West is blazing
once again. Efforts to identify and permanently mark these historic
pathways are underway, and the Bureau of Land Management is helping,
as are other public agencies. The story of the Lander Cutoff
of the old Oregon Trail is a good example.
From 1843 onward, the Oregon Trail was
trekked by man and beast in ever increasing numbers. From the
eastern takeoff points of St. Louis and Independence, Mo., travelers
wended their way across the plains of Nebraska Territory into
the high country which is now Wyoming. Rough country,
leaving famed South Pass in western Wyoming, an easy pathway
across the Continental Divide, the trail passed through
rolling sagebrush covered hills to the Big Sandy River.
From this point to the Green River lay one of the trail's
worse sections. Alkaline desert plains stretched for almost
50 miles. Water was scarce and feed for livestock even
scacer. Once the Green River was reached, ferries had to
be used, as it flowed swift, wide, and deep. The price
for using a ferry was high and the waiting line long..."
rivers, and hostile Indians were taken in stride.
Going Was Slow
On leaving famed South Pass in western Wyoming, an easy pathway
across the Continental Divide, the trail passed through rolling
sagebrush covered hills to the Big Sandy River. From this point
to the Green River lay one of the trail's worse sections. Alkaline
desert plains stretched for almost 50 miles. Water was scarce
and feed for livestock even scarcer. Once the Green River was
reached, ferries had to be used, as it flowed swift, wide,
and deep. The price for using a ferry was high and the waiting
line long. On top of these hardships, the "Mormon Rebellion"
made many emigrants uneasy. Safety and time demanded that a
more direct route be found to Fort Hall and City Rocks in Oregon
As a result of public sentiment, a post
and military road was authorized by Congress in 1856, with Chief
Engineer Fredrick W. Lander of the Department of the Interior
starting field surveys for the wagon road in the spring of 1857.
During the summer months, he explored the old Oregon Trail southwest
from South Pass by way of both Fort Bridger and the Sublette
Road farther north. Finding these routes not suited to improvements,
he surveyed and staked out an entirely new route, heading northwest
from South Pass. In all, he traveled some 3,000 miles by horseback,
discovered some 16 mountain passes, and charted the Bear River
and Salt River Mountain ranges. By the time winter came, Colonel
Lander was ready to start roadbuilding.
Completed in 1858
Early in the spring of 1858, Lander gathered his men, hired more
from several Mormon settlements, and started the business of
building his new road. First, however, he held a pow-wow with
the famous Shoshone Indian Chief Washakie. In a swap for some
horses, he secured firearms, ammunitions, blankets, and trinkets,
a treaty and right-of-way for the new road from the Sweetwater
River to Fort Hall. By the close of September, Lander's Cutoff
The point of departure of Lander's Cutoff
from the Oregon Trail is itself steeped in history. Here, in
1847 Brigham Young and his men, while returning to winter quarters,
met a large emigration party and the "Feast in the Wilderness"
South Pass Station
Known as Gilberts Station when Lander started his road, it soon
was called South Pass Stage Station, serving as a rest stop
for the famous Concord Stages as they rolled westward. The
rapid staccato of hoof beats, as the Pony Express rider and
his horse arrived and disappeared, were also heard at this
historic site. It served as a telegraph station for the first
transcontinental line in 1861.
From 1862 to 1868 a unit of the 11th
Ohio Volunteers was garrisoned at South Pass Station to protect
the emigrant trains and stages using Lander's Cutoff and the
Old Oregon Trail. Shortly after the troops abandoned the Station
it was burned to the ground by the Indians. Later rebuilt, it
was burned again. Today, this site lives in history as the "Burnt
Upon completion of the Lander Cutoff,
large numbers of emigrants to Oregon Territory made use of it,
as did trail herds of livestock. At the close of the Indian Wars
in 1877, cattle herds from Oregon move eastward over the Lander
Road to meet the railroad and to stock Wyoming ranges. Among
the first outfits to settle along Piney Creek, in what is now
Sublette County, Wyoming, belongs to Ed Swan, Otto Leifer, D.B.
Budd, Hugh McKay, and A. W. Smith.
last wagon to take the Lander Road was seen in 1912."
With the coming of the first transcontinental
railroad in the early 1860's, travel over the Cutoff rapidly
declined. The last wagon to take the Lander Road was seen in
As the years rolled by, the Oregon Trail
and the Lander Cutoff became only memories - recalled in history
books and western novels. Recently, however, many people began
to show interest in preserving the trail. Combined with the knowledge
and zeal of primarily one man - Jim Harrower, a past president
of the Sublette County Historical Society - things began to happen.
BLM Pitches In
Jim Harrower told the story of neglect to the local BLM office
in Pinedale, Wyo. He took it up with BLM's National Director,
Charles Stoddard, during his visit to the Pinedale area on
other matters. Soon, BLM ordered bronze plaques and concrete
Harrower and other members of the County
Historical Society went over the Lander Cutoff trail on the ground.
Where it couldn't be followed, they got the help of BLM men in
pouring over the public land records. Places to put the markers
were spotted and the concrete posts were hauled to nearby sheds
or barns. Ranchers, local citizens and all able-bodied men that
could be corralled were called on to help put the markers in
With hard work and a little dynamite,
the project has been completed.
Now, history "buffs", just
plain tourists and local residents of western Wyoming can walk
in the footsteps
of the early pioneer emigrants. They'll find it a most rewarding