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Oregon National Historic Trail in Wyoming | by mypubliclands
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Oregon National Historic Trail in Wyoming

National historic trails can take us back, returning us literally and symbolically to a point of departure in geography and time. Who among us has not wondered what it was like for America’s pioneers to lie on the open ground of the western high plains on a starlit night and to hear wolves howl in the distance? To walk in the footsteps of these men and women today is to glimpse their experience and to feel their purpose and courage.


National historic trails help us recreate this unique chapter in American history when, starting more than 170 years ago, some 500,000 emigrants made their way overland to the far western edge of the continent. Their determination resulted in 12 new states joining the Republic between 1840 and 1890, all west of the Mississippi River.


Congress designates national historic trails “to protect historic landscapes and inform our curiosity about the past.” Visitors to the Oregon National Historic Trail have more than 350 miles to explore on Wyoming public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. One pristine stretch extends a full 35 miles entirely on BLM lands—farther than most emigrant parties could walk in a single day.


Thanks to the foresight and dedication of preservation-minded citizens and volunteers, the Oregon, Mormon Pioneer, California, and Pony Express routes are all managed as national historic trails. BLM-managed sections are part of the National Landscape Conservation System. The BLM is proud to interpret the great westward migration, and other significant aspects of American history, as caretaker of more miles of national historic trails than any other federal agency.


Learn more about this historic area:

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Taken on September 14, 2010