Wyoming

State of Wyoming
Flag of WyomingState seal of Wyoming
FlagSeal
Nickname(s): Equality State (official);
Cowboy State; Big Wyoming[1]
Motto(s): Equal Rights
State song(s): "Wyoming"
Map of the United States with Wyoming highlighted
Official languageEnglish
DemonymWyomingite
Capital
(and largest city)
Cheyenne
Largest metroCheyenne Metro Area
AreaRanked 10th
 • Total97,914[1] sq mi
(253,600 km2)
 • Width372.8 miles (600 km)
 • Length280 miles (452 km)
 • % water0.7
 • Latitude41°N to 45°N
 • Longitude104°3'W to 111°3'W
PopulationRanked 50th
 • Total579,315 (2017 est.)[2]
 • Density5.97/sq mi  (2.31/km2)
Ranked 49th
 • Median household income$60,925[3] (15th)
Elevation
 • Highest pointGannett Peak[4][5][6]
13,809 ft (4209.1 m)
 • Mean6,700 ft  (2040 m)
 • Lowest pointBelle Fourche River at South Dakota border[5][6]
3,101 ft (945 m)
Before statehoodWyoming Territory
Admission to UnionJuly 10, 1890 (44th)
GovernorMatt Mead (R)
Secretary of StateEdward Buchanan (R)
LegislatureWyoming Legislature
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. SenatorsMike Enzi (R)
John Barrasso (R)
U.S. House delegationLiz Cheney (R) (list)
Time zoneMountain: UTC -7/-6
ISO 3166US-WY
AbbreviationsWY, wyoming.gov
Wyoming state symbols
Flag of Wyoming.svg
Seal of Wyoming.svg
Living insignia
BirdWestern meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
FishCutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki)
FlowerWyoming Indian paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia)
GrassWestern wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii)
MammalAmerican bison (Bison bison)
ReptileHorned lizard (Phrynosoma douglassi brevirostre)
TreePlains cottonwood (Populus sargentii)
Inanimate insignia
DinosaurTriceratops
FossilKnightia
MineralNephrite
SoilForkwood (unofficial)
State route marker
Wyoming state route marker
State quarter
Wyoming quarter dollar coin
Released in 2007
Lists of United States state symbols

Wyoming (ŋ/ (About this soundlisten)) is a state in the mountain region of the western United States. The state is the 10th largest by area, the least populous, and the second most sparsely populated state in the country. Wyoming is bordered on the north by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, on the south by Colorado, on the southwest by Utah, and on the west by Idaho and Montana. The state population was estimated at 586,107 in 2015, which is less than 31 of the most populous U.S. cities including neighboring Denver.[7] Cheyenne is the state capital and the most populous city, with an estimated population of 63,335 in 2015.[8]

The western two-thirds of the state is covered mostly by the mountain ranges and rangelands of the Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie called the High Plains. Almost half of the land in Wyoming is owned by the U.S. government, leading Wyoming to rank sixth by area and fifth by proportion of a state's land owned by the federal government.[9] Federal lands include two national parks—Grand Teton and Yellowstone—two national recreation areas, two national monuments, several national forests, historic sites, fish hatcheries, and wildlife refuges.

Original inhabitants of the region include the Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone. Southwestern Wyoming was in the Spanish Empire and then Mexican territory until it was ceded to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican–American War. The region acquired the name Wyoming when a bill was introduced to the U.S. Congress in 1865 to provide a "temporary government for the territory of Wyoming". The name was used earlier for the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, and is derived from the Munsee word xwé:wamənk, meaning "at the big river flat".[10][11]

The main drivers of Wyoming's economy are mineral extraction—mostly coal, oil, natural gas, and trona—and tourism. Agricultural commodities include livestock (beef), hay, sugar beets, grain (wheat and barley), and wool. The climate is semi-arid and continental, drier and windier than the rest of the U.S., with greater temperature extremes.

Wyoming has been a politically conservative state since the 1950s, with the Republican Party candidate winning every presidential election except 1964.[12]

Geography

Climate

Wyoming state welcome sign on Interstate 80 in Uinta County (at the Utah border)
Autumn in the Bighorn Mountains

Wyoming's climate is generally semi-arid and continental (Köppen climate classification BSk), and is drier and windier in comparison to most of the United States with greater temperature extremes. Much of this is due to the topography of the state. Summers in Wyoming are warm with July high temperatures averaging between 85 and 95 °F (29 and 35 °C) in most of the state. With increasing elevation, however, this average drops rapidly with locations above 9,000 feet (2,700 m) averaging around 70 °F (21 °C). Summer nights throughout the state are characterized by a rapid cooldown with even the hottest locations averaging in the 50–60 °F (10–16 °C) range at night. In most of the state, most of the precipitation tends to fall in the late spring and early summer. Winters are cold, but are variable with periods of sometimes extreme cold interspersed between generally mild periods, with Chinook winds providing unusually warm temperatures in some locations. Wyoming is a dry state with much of the land receiving less than 10 inches (250 mm) of rainfall per year. Precipitation depends on elevation with lower areas in the Big Horn Basin averaging 5–8 inches (130–200 mm) (making the area nearly a true desert). The lower areas in the North and on the eastern plains typically average around 10–12 inches (250–300 mm), making the climate there semi-arid. Some mountain areas do receive a good amount of precipitation, 20 inches (510 mm) or more, much of it as snow, sometimes 200 inches (510 cm) or more annually. The state's highest recorded temperature is 114 °F (46 °C) at Basin on July 12, 1900 and the lowest recorded temperature is −66 °F (−54 °C) at Riverside on February 9, 1933.

The number of thunderstorm days vary across the state with the southeastern plains of the state having the most days of thunderstorm activity. Thunderstorm activity in the state is highest during the late spring and early summer. The southeastern corner of the state is the most vulnerable part of the state to tornado activity. Moving away from that point and westwards, the incidence of tornadoes drops dramatically with the west part of the state showing little vulnerability. Tornadoes, where they occur, tend to be small and brief, unlike some of those that occur a little farther east.

Casper climate: Average maximum and minimum temperatures, and average rainfall.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average max. temperature °F (°C) 32
(0)
37
(3)
45
(7)
56
(13)
66
(19)
78
(26)
87
(31)
85
(29)
74
(23)
60
(16)
44
(7)
34
(1)
58
(14)
Average min. temperature
°F (°C)
12
(−11)
16
(−9)
21
(−6)
28
(−2)
37
(3)
46
(8)
54
(12)
51
(11)
41
(5)
32
(0)
21
(−6)
14
(−10)
31
(-1)
Average rainfall
inches (mm)
0.6
(15.2)
0.6
(15.2)
1.0
(25.4)
1.6
(40.6)
2.1
(53.3)
1.5
(38.1)
1.3
(33.0)
0.7
(17.8)
0.9
(22.9)
1.0
(25.4)
0.8
(20.3)
0.7
(17.8)
12.8
(325.1)
Source:[13]
Jackson climate: Average maximum and minimum temperatures, and average rainfall.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average max. temperature °F (°C) 24
(−4)
28
(−2)
37
(3)
47
(8)
58
(14)
68
(20)
78
(26)
77
(25)
67
(19)
54
(12)
37
(3)
24
(−4)
49
(9)
Average min. temperature
°F (°C)
-1
(−18)
2
(−17)
10
(−12)
21
(−6)
30
(−1)
36
(2)
41
(5)
38
(3)
31
(−1)
22
(−6)
14
(−10)
0
(−18)
20
(-7)
Average rainfall
inches (mm)
2.6
(66.0)
1.9
(48.3)
1.6
(40.6)
1.4
(35.6)
1.9
(48.3)
1.8
(45.7)
1.3
(33.0)
1.3
(33.0)
1.5
(38.1)
1.3
(33.0)
2.3
(58.4)
2.5
(63.5)
21.4
(543.6)
Source:[14]

Location and size

As specified in the designating legislation for the Territory of Wyoming, Wyoming's borders are lines of latitude 41°N and 45°N, and longitude 104°3'W and 111°3'W (27° W and 34° W of the Washington Meridian), making the shape of the state a latitude-longitude quadrangle.[15] Wyoming is one of only three states (along with Colorado and Utah) to have borders along only straight latitudinal and longitudinal lines, rather than being defined by natural landmarks. Due to surveying inaccuracies during the 19th century, Wyoming's legal border deviates from the true latitude and longitude lines by up to half of a mile (0.8 km) in some spots, especially in the mountainous region along the 45th parallel.[16] Wyoming is bordered on the north by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, on the south by Colorado, on the southwest by Utah, and on the west by Idaho. It is the tenth largest state in the United States in total area, containing 97,814 square miles (253,340 km2) and is made up of 23 counties. From the north border to the south border it is 276 miles (444 km);[17] and from the east to the west border is 365 miles (587 km) at its south end and 342 miles (550 km) at the north end.

Natural landforms

Mountain ranges

The Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. The state is a great plateau broken by many mountain ranges. Surface elevations range from the summit of Gannett Peak in the Wind River Mountain Range, at 13,804 feet (4,207 m), to the Belle Fourche River valley in the state's northeast corner, at 3,125 feet (952 m). In the northwest are the Absaroka, Owl Creek, Gros Ventre, Wind River, and the Teton ranges. In the north central are the Big Horn Mountains; in the northeast, the Black Hills; and in the southern region the Laramie, Snowy, and Sierra Madre ranges.

The Snowy Range in the south central part of the state is an extension of the Colorado Rockies in both geology and appearance. The Wind River Range in the west central part of the state is remote and includes more than 40 mountain peaks in excess of 13,000 ft (4,000 m) tall in addition to Gannett Peak, the highest peak in the state. The Big Horn Mountains in the north central portion are somewhat isolated from the bulk of the Rocky Mountains.

The Teton Range in the northwest extends for 50 miles (80 km), part of which is included in Grand Teton National Park. The park includes the Grand Teton, the second highest peak in the state.

The Continental Divide spans north-south across the central portion of the state. Rivers east of the divide drain into the Missouri River Basin and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. They are the North Platte, Wind, Big Horn and the Yellowstone rivers. The Snake River in northwest Wyoming eventually drains into the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, as does the Green River through the Colorado River Basin.

The Continental Divide forks in the south central part of the state in an area known as the Great Divide Basin where the waters that flow or precipitate into this area remain there and cannot flow to any ocean. Instead, because of the overall aridity of Wyoming, water in the Great Divide Basin simply sinks into the soil or evaporates.

Several rivers begin in or flow through the state, including the Yellowstone River, Bighorn River, Green River, and the Snake River.

Islands

Wyoming has 32 named islands, the majority of which are located in Jackson Lake and Yellowstone Lake within Yellowstone National Park in the northwest portion of the state. The Green River in the southwest also contains a number of islands.

Regions and administrative divisions

Counties

The state of Wyoming has 23 counties.

An enlargeable map of the 23 counties of Wyoming
The 23 counties of the state of Wyoming[18]
Rank County Population Rank County Population
1 Laramie 94,483 13 Converse 14,008
2 Natrona 78,621 14 Goshen 13,636
3 Campbell 47,874 15 Big Horn 11,794
4 Sweetwater 45,267 16 Sublette 10,368
5 Fremont 41,110 17 Platte 8,756
6 Albany 37,276 18 Johnson 8,615
7 Sheridan 29,596 19 Washakie 8,464
8 Park 28,702 20 Crook 7,155
9 Teton 21,675 21 Weston 7,082
10 Uinta 21,025 22 Hot Springs 4,822
11 Lincoln 17,961 23 Niobrara 2,456
12 Carbon 15,666 Wyoming Total 576,412

Wyoming license plates contain a number on the left that indicates the county where the vehicle is registered, ranked by an earlier census.[19] Specifically, the numbers are representative of the property values of the counties in 1930.[20] The county license plate numbers are as follows:

License
Plate
Prefix
County License
Plate
Prefix
County License
Plate
Prefix
County
1 Natrona 9 Big Horn 17 Campbell
2 Laramie 10 Fremont 18 Crook
3 Sheridan 11 Park 19 Uinta
4 Sweetwater 12 Lincoln 20 Washakie
5 Albany 13 Converse 21 Weston
6 Carbon 14 Niobrara 22 Teton
7 Goshen 15 Hot Springs 23 Sublette
8 Platte 16 Johnson    

Cities and towns

The State of Wyoming has 99 incorporated municipalities.

Most Populous Wyoming Cities and Towns[21]
Rank City County Population
1 Cheyenne Laramie 60,096
2 Casper Natrona 55,988
3 Laramie Albany 31,312
4 Gillette Campbell 29,389
5 Rock Springs Sweetwater 23,229
6 Sheridan Sheridan 17,517
7 Green River Sweetwater 12,622
8 Evanston Uinta 12,282
9 Riverton Fremont 10,867
10 Jackson Teton 9,710
11 Cody Park 9,653
12 Rawlins Carbon 9,203
13 Lander Fremont 7,571
14 Torrington Goshen 6,690
15 Powell Park 6,314

In 2005, 50.6% of Wyomingites lived in one of the 13 most populous Wyoming municipalities.

Metropolitan areas

The United States Census Bureau has defined two Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) and seven Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MiSA) for the State of Wyoming. In 2008, 30.4% of Wyomingites lived in either of the Metropolitan Statistical Areas, and 73% lived in either a Metropolitan Statistical Area or a Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Cheyenne
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas[22]
Census Area County Population
Cheyenne Laramie County, Wyoming 95,809
Casper Natrona County, Wyoming 80,973
Gillette Campbell County, Wyoming 48,176
Rock Springs Sweetwater County, Wyoming 45,237
Jackson Teton County, Wyoming 32,543
Teton County, Idaho 10,275
Total 42,818
Riverton Fremont County, Wyoming 40,998
Laramie Albany County, Wyoming 37,422
Sheridan Sheridan County, Wyoming 29,824
Evanston Uinta County, Wyoming 21,066

Wind River Indian Reservation

The Wind River Indian Reservation is shared by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes of Native Americans in the central western portion of the state near Lander. The reservation is home to 2,500 Eastern Shoshone and 5,000 Northern Arapaho.[23]

Chief Washakie established the reservation in 1868[24] as the result of negotiations with the federal government in the Fort Bridger Treaty.[25] However, the Northern Arapaho were forced onto the Shoshone reservation in 1876 by the federal government after the government failed to provide a promised separate reservation.[25]

Today the Wind River Indian Reservation is jointly owned, with each tribe having a 50% interest in the land, water, and other natural resources.[26] The reservation is a sovereign, self-governed land with two independent governing bodies: the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the Northern Arapaho Tribe. Until 2014, the Shoshone Business Council and Northern Arapaho Business Council met jointly as the Joint Business Council to decide matters that affect both tribes.[24] Six elected council members from each tribe served on the joint council.

Public lands

Wyoming terrain map

More than 48% of the land in Wyoming is owned by the U.S. government, leading Wyoming to rank sixth in the United States in total acres and fifth in percentage of a state's land owned by the federal government.[9] This amounts to about 30,099,430 acres (121,808.1 km2) owned and managed by the United States government. The state government owns an additional 6% of all Wyoming lands, or another 3,864,800 acres (15,640 km2).[9]

The vast majority of this government land is administered by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service in numerous national forests, a national grassland, and a number of vast swathes of public land, in addition to the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne.

National Park Service sites map

In addition, Wyoming contains areas managed by the National Park Service and other agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including:

National parks

Memorial parkway

National recreation areas

National monuments

National historic trails, landmarks and sites

National fish hatcheries

National wildlife refuges

Panoramic view of the Teton Range looking west from Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park
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Afrikaans: Wyoming
አማርኛ: ዋዮሚንግ
Ænglisc: Wyoming
العربية: وايومنغ
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ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܘܐܝܘܡܝܢܓ
অসমীয়া: ৱায়মিং
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azərbaycanca: Vayominq
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भोजपुरी: वायोमिंग
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मैथिली: वायोमिङ
македонски: Вајоминг
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മലയാളം: വയോമിങ്
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मराठी: वायोमिंग
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нохчийн: Вайоминг
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文言: 懷俄明州
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中文: 怀俄明州