In 2021, Wyoming began to emerge from the pandemic as health orders fell away and some facets of life started to resemble pre-COVID times.
The pandemic continued to ignite political fires, dividing people over everything from mask use to vaccine mandates, but for many in the state, life started to regain some normalcy. Ranchers branded cattle, forest technicians built trails, lawmakers debated legislation, spring snowstorms buried towns, wildfire smoke filled the air and citizens celebrated the lives of beloved Wyoming residents.
WyoFile’s photographers captured the interpersonal drama, the magnificence of nature and the emotions of state citizens confronting a post-pandemic world. Here, in no specific order, are our photographs of the year.
At a branding day on the Hell & Back Ranch near Douglas this summer, photographer Mike Vanata chronicled a female-dominated team doing the physical and bloody work.
Gov. Mark Gordon participated in the March 2021 session remotely.
After a dry winter in many parts of the state, spring storms dumped snow on Wyoming.
Wyoming’s national parks saw record-breaking visitation this year. Park managers are mulling management options as they anticipate the trend continuing.
Thousands of mourners lined blocks and blocks of downtown Jackson in September to honor Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum as a hearse carried the Marine’s remains home.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has a responsibility to work with Yellowstone National Park’s ecosystem neighbors to resolve vexing cross-boundary conservation problems like climate change, wildfire, crushing visitation and wildlife that “don’t see borders,” she said during a September visit.
Vahe’ Alaverdian moved from Los Angeles to Wyoming’s upper Green River Basin in 2015. The master falconer chose the region for its wide-open sagebrush landscape and vast expanse of public lands.
Schools were ground zero for political disputes in 2021 as debates over everything from masking to curriculum unfolded.
Smoke from distant wildfires hung heavy in the air across much of Wyoming over the summer.
The October release of nearly 50 buffalo was the latest chapter of a long-term restoration project on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Jayden Ungaro, who grew up in Green River, captured this stunner of a landscape shot near Pilot Butte Wild Horse Loop.
Federal contract wranglers set out to round up 4,300 wild horses in southwest Wyoming, the culmination of years of conflict among land and wildlife managers, ranchers and horse advocates.
More than 300 people attended the dedication ceremony for a veterans memorial on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Dramatic eruptions of solar flares in November made the northern lights visible — if distant — in parts of Wyoming.
The Continental Divide Trail near Togwotee Pass got a new, more scenic reroute thanks to a trail project that was years in the making.