A photograph of an old Wyoming postcard (Noe Alfaro/FlickrCC)

The influx of outspoken megastars into the state has me wanting to exercise my Wyoming entrepreneurial spirit. Since the new transplants have expressed interest in pitching in, but might not know much about the state beyond Teton County, I’ve prepared the following welcome tour to help them get acquainted: 

Welcome to Wyoming. After all, the world certainly needs more cowboys. Not only have you, the new local superstar, gushed about the beauty of the state, but you are even vocal about helping the community. Since you are already familiar with the Jackson area, let me present a tour from a born-and-raised Wyomingite of some lesser-known locales.

Our first stop is a few hours southeast. The town of Lander sits in Fremont County and is near another beautiful Wyoming attraction, Sinks Canyon State Park. Marvel at the geological history in the canyon and don’t forget to feed the fish at the Rise. Some other fun facts about the county are that it is ranked first in alcohol-related arrests by the Wyoming Prevention Depot and 23rd in health factors including clinical care, social and economic factors and quality of life. Nevermind that there are only 23 counties in Wyoming. Uh, let’s move to our next stop. 

Further east is Casper, Wyoming’s largest city — a fact anyone in Cheyenne would dispute. The Platte River flows through town offering a scenic float in the summer and wonderful fishing almost year round. Did I mention that it boasts the largest youth crisis center in the state, operating with 10 crisis beds and a budget deficit in 2018? Wait, 10 beds for a county with almost 80,000 people? That can’t be right …

If these towns aren’t to your liking, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Laramie in the southeast corner of the state. The town holds the only four-year university and is a short drive from Vedauwoo Campground (I’ll let someone else correct your pronunciation). The campground in Albany County is filled with marvelous granite formations and is a destination for rock climbers far and wide. Did I mention that Albany county has the highest rate of poverty in the state at 20.4%

Support informed commentary — donate to WyoFile today.

On our next stop we venture to the edge of the Black Hills in the northeast corner of the state. Crook County is home to Bear Lodge, or its better known colonial name, Devils Tower. The national monument is truly awe inspiring. There are beautiful trails surrounding the area offering several points to take in the majesty of the tower itself. If you venture into nearby Gillette, in Campbell County, you may see the effect of the second-highest unemployment rate in the state, not to mention the food accessibility issues that come with a lack of income.

Well Mr. and Mrs. Celebrity, I hope this tour has provided a brief glimpse into other attractions as well as education about the diversity Wyoming has to offer. When looking to spend some free time (or looking to impact a community), please consider the wonderful opportunities beyond Teton County lines. 

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Devils Tower is located in Crook County. -Ed.

Join the Conversation

16 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I don’t know why so many Wyomingites are critical of this article. Take some time to self reflect. This is the reality we live in. Our state is approaching a cliff and it’s going to take some guts and a dose of reality to stop it from going over and becoming a wasteland. Our bedrock industries that have provided good livings to so many families have been shaken to the core, and many of these families are hurting. The myth of just trudging on through thick and thin in these cold dark winters and carrying on doesn’t matter if there’s nothing to carry. If you think a temporary bump of people moving in to appreciate our states beauty and enjoy the solitude of Wyoming is going to fix our problems, well I just don’t know what to say to you.

  2. Thank you for the interesting article. You overlooked the Big Horn Basin, but then Cheyenne often does also. It is interesting to note that one of Wyoming’s sacred cash cows, Wyoming Game and Fish, is going to build an 8.8 million dollar facility in Cody. This following the news of Wyoming’s huge budget shortfall, not to mention the reportedly $250,000 “information” signs recently installed all over the state by Wyoming’s other sacred cash cow, the Wyoming Highway Dept. Politics at its finest!

    1. Aubrey, I incorrectly referred to the WY G&F and the WY HD as “cash” cows when this is the opposite of what I meant to say, “sacred “ cows. If possible, please correct this in my comments. Thank you. Ron Wright

  3. Great article. Could have been much longer, so as to include many, many more of the realities of the state, whose motto might more appropriately be: “If you don’t like it, then leave!”

    Thank you, Aubrey Kofoed.

  4. Thank you, Aubrey, for your piece on what many see and experience across our state in addition to what those who only wish folks would find exceptional about Wyoming. Humor, even in the form of sarcasm or satire, can provide an avenue toward addressing many of the needs faced by a good deal of our fellow citizens. While there is much to be admired about our people and the state, let us also keep front and center what we all need to do in the face of our shared poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, and poor health across all age groups. The mega-stars in Teton County and other well-off enclaves across the state should be made as aware as the rest of us of what the state of our state is all about.

  5. Your “article” is pathetic, at best. I’ve lived in Wyoming my whole life, 43 years, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be, especially with all the crap that has happened and is happening everywhere else. Why would you focus on the negatives when there is already so much negativity in this world? I would think, that as a state analyst, you would be proud to live in Wyoming, because your “article” says different.

  6. Thank you, Aubrey, for the on-point tour of Wyoming as it exists today. As you point out, the sum of Wyoming’s wonderful natural resource assets might only been realized if you venture outside of Teton County. There’s more here, from corner to corner, to discover and experience than Teton County could ever hint at.

    Even if you were to manage to take all of Wyoming in, the grandiosity of natural Wyoming doesn’t magically breed a culture and state-politic of equal magnitude and reverence. Sometimes, it works against it. Gov. Mark Gordon recently referred to billionaire transplants to Wyoming as “parasites” — and he’s correct. If you want to love Wyoming, you should also care about the whole state and everybody who lives and works here.

    Thanks for pointing out what’s wonderful about Wyoming, and what’s not.

  7. Terrible article. Why would you publish such a negative view of our wonderful state? What is great about Wyoming is its people. The best people I’ve ever met.

  8. At a time when state agency budgets are being slashed and services eradicated, this is the type of drivel being put out by a state analyst? I hope the governor and our legislators are proud.

  9. Very clever piece, sneaking the bad stuff in with the superlatives, a meal with a message. The Pollyanna boosters, of course, can’t see the humor or absorb the message.

  10. Was not impressed with this piece. I am not a journalist, but I do believe my home state of Wyoming deserves better than this.

  11. Interesting DUI stat. I believe Lander was home to the first drive through liquor store in the nation. Coincidence, or conspiracy?

  12. What a downer, Debbie! This article not only insults megastars, but it casts a very bad light on every location you mention. Wyoming hardly needs that.

    Many of us who have relocated to parts of Wyoming other than Teton County, and are not megastars, came here because we appreciate the community spirit and independent nature of our new neighbors, as well as the fabulous landscape. Many of us do work to integrate by volunteering to help our in our communities. This article does not inspire new residents to explore the rest of the state — in fact, it both discourages them from doing so and from engaging to try to solve some of our problems.

    Of course, few superstars engage in that kind of behavior in any case. But in the pandemic era we can expect many others — ideally, some of them remote workers with more modest incomes — to be considering a visit or relocation to Wyoming, where they would add to our suffering economy at a difficult time. I wonder how many of those minds you have changed instantly with this snide little essay.

    1. Thank you Joe for catching my grievous oversight, and thank you to the editors for fixing the mistake!