Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wyoming Trails, Treks & Trumpets

National Gathering of “Rut Nuts”

The Oregon-California Trail Association (OCTA) brings its 2011 national convention to Wyoming where hundreds of miles of historic western trails remain unchanged from their initial mapping in the mid-1800s. Bus tours will take tour participants to important areas of America’s western migration including South Pass. It was the one place where pioneers destined for California, Oregon or Salt Lake could most easily traverse the Rocky Mountains. A state historic site in nearby South Pass City features a number of well-kept, restored structures and the clean stream running through it offers visitors a chance to pan for nuggets of precious gold:

2011 trails
The OCTA national convention is August 8-13 in Rock Springs and Green River in southwest Wyoming. For more information contact Tom Rea,

There is a wide variety of historic trail locales visitors can appreciate in Wyoming. Here is just a partial list with attendant website links for further details:

Fort Laramie National Historic Site:

Register Cliff/Oregon Trail Ruts; Independence Rock; South Pass City; Fort Bridger:

National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (Casper, WY):

Trail enthusiasts can obtain a free map of Wyoming Oregon Trail Sites – Wagons Across Wyoming – by contacting the Wyoming Office of Tourism:

Download High Resolution Images of Wyoming's Historic Trails:
Historic Trails

Certified Guides

The non-profit Yellowstone Association Institute (YAI) will begin offering a certification program for the first time this spring. People who want to become professional or volunteer guides can register for multi-day field seminars focused on topics such as wildlife, geology, and the history of Yellowstone. Most of the courses are being held at the institute’s Buffalo Ranch where log cabins can be rented for just $30 a night. The guide program runs April 3-22.

The spring, summer and fall programs at YAI have been expanded to include 25 new classes including spring wildlife viewing, beginning fly fishing for women, and the art of wildflower identification.

Several field seminars have been developed covering Yellowstone’s wolf population. Many programs are packaged with lodging and other options through park concessionaire, Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

yellowstone guids
Xanterra Parks & Resorts has just announced a special early-season package – Yellowstone Discovery – that is available April 30 through May 11 including two nights lodging at Old faithful Snow Lodge, breakfast for two each morning and a $50 store gift coupon for $199 a night per person. Go to: to find out more.

Download High Resolution Images of Yellowstone National Park:
Yellowstone Spring/Summer

New Look at Old Faithful

A new $27million visitor education center situated near Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone will be ready for its first full summer tourist season come spring. More than 14 years of planning and fund raising led to the center doors opening to the public late last August. More than half the money was obtained privately via the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Dynamic exhibits help visitors understand the world’s greatest array of geysers, hot springs and other thermal features. Many of the building materials contain high percentages of recycled materials:

Old Faithful
The park service website can help with more information:

NE Welcome Center Opens

Motorists entering Wyoming’s northeastern corner near Sundance now have a new center to feel welcomed and learn much more about what to see and do in the area. Most visitors are somewhat aware that the country’s first national monument, Devils Tower, is close. They most likely won’t know about such unique stops as Vore Buffalo Jump, the Aladdin Tipple and the town’s general store that immediately takes one back to the Old West:

Welcome Center
The new Northeast Wyoming Welcome Center is located at exit 199 from I-90 about 7 miles west of the South Dakota state line.

“The Virginian” Turns 100

The hardy folk of Medicine Bow, Wyoming have been through a lot and so has the town’s distinctive building – The Virginian Hotel. It was named after the most famous of all western novels. Writer Owen Wister’s words remain framed on the wall of the hotel’s formal dining area. The opening of Interstate 80 moved most cross-country traffic away from Medicine Bow drastically curtailing the business climate. The Virginian remains and is celebrating its 100th year this summer:

James Drury, The actor who portrayed “The Virginian” on the popular television series in the 1960s, will be the special guest of Medicine Bow, June 24-25. A weekend of activities is to include a parade, melodrama, reenactments, games, music, dancing and a whole lot of smiling. Medicine Bow is located on Highway 30 aka The Lincoln Highway about an hour northwest of Laramie, WY.

For more information about The Virginian Hotel centennial weekend call: 307.379.2377 or email:

50 is Grand

The Grand Teton Music Festival will celebrate fifty years of music making this summer. The orchestra is composed of many internationally renowned players who’ve been returning for several decades. Rehearsals are sometimes opened to the public offering a unique chance to become immersed:

Teton Music fest

The 50th season will open July 2 and run for seven weeks of festival friends reuniting throughout for musical tributes, historic chamber music concerts and star-studded events. The big finish is a world premiere of a new work by Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon. Her piece is being written especially for the festival and will honor the beautiful surroundings outside of the festival hall – most notably Grand Teton National Park. For complete details as they become available go to:

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