Lander, Wyoming

Lander was named in honor of Frederick W. Lander, a famous transcontinental explorer who surveyed the Oregon Trail's Lander Cutoff. The town is located on the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River in central Wyoming. Once upon a time this area was famous for the furs that came out of here, then for the cattle and sheep. These days, Lander is a tourism center with several large "dude ranches" nearby.

Just south of the Wind River Indian Reservation, Lander is home to numerous state and federal government offices (National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish & Wildlife Service, Wyoming Life Resource Center, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, etc.) The Wyoming Outdoor Council, Wyoming Wildlife Federation and the Wyoming office of the Nature Conservancy are also located in Lander. Eagle Bronze, one of the largest bronze foundries in America is located in Lander and you'll find their products scattered all through the town.

Right at the foot of the Wind River Mountains, Lander is in the center of great hiking, camping, fishing, climbing, mountaineering and wilderness travel opportunities. Also close to town are the well-known rock climbing areas of Sinks Canyon and "Wild Iris" (on Limestone Mountain). Lander is also where the very first paid rodeo on Earth happened, and still happens every 4th of July.

Settlers moved to the Lander area from South Pass as the gold mines there were petering out in the 1870's. Early growth was slow, until the Chicago & North Western Railway arrived in 1906. The railroad was actually intent on building on to the west but the stop here turned out to be the final stop. This became known as the "Cowboy Line," the place where the rails end and the trails begin... then rail service was abandoned in 1972.

There was a big mining boom in the 1960's and 1970's but that was finished in 1983 when the last dig shut down.