|State of Wyoming|
|Nickname(s): Equality State (official);
Cowboy State; Big Wyoming
|Motto(s): Equal Rights|
Wyoming has 32 named islands, of which the majority are located in Jackson Lake and Yellowstone Lake within Yellowstone National Park in the northwest portion of the state. The Green River in the southwest also contains a number of islands.
More than 48% of the land in Wyoming is owned by the U.S. government, leading Wyoming to rank sixth in the U.S. in total acres and fifth in percentage of a state's land owned by the federal government. This amounts to about 30,099,430 acres (121,808.1 km2) owned and managed by the U.S. government. The state government owns an additional 6% of all Wyoming lands, or another 3,864,800 acres (15,640 km2).
The vast majority of this government land is managed by theBureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service in numerous National Forests, a National Grassland, and a number of vast swathes of public land, in addition to the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne.
In addition, Wyoming contains areas that are under the management of the National Park Service and other agencies. They include:
Several Native American groups originally inhabited the region now known as Wyoming. The Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone were but a few of the original inhabitants encountered when white explorers first entered the region. What is now southwestern Wyoming became a part of the Spanish Empire and later Mexican territory of Alta California, until it was ceded to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War. French-Canadian trappers from Québec and Montréal went into the state in the late 18th century, leaving French toponyms such as Téton, La Ramie, etc. John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, itself guided by French Canadian Toussaint Charbonneau and his young Shoshone wife, Sacagawea, first described the region in 1807. At the time, his reports of theYellowstone area were considered to be fictional. Robert Stuart and a party of five men returning from Astoria discovered South Pass in 1812. The Oregon Traillater followed that route. In 1850, Jim Bridger located what is now known as Bridger Pass, which the Union Pacific Railroadused in 1868—as did Interstate 80, in ninety years' time. Bridger also explored Yellowstone and filed reports on the region that, like those of Colter, were largely regarded as tall tales at the time.
The region had acquired the name Wyoming by 1865, when Representative J. M. Ashley of Ohio introduced a bill to Congress to provide a "temporary government for the territory of Wyoming". The territory was named after the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, made famous by the 1809 poem Gertrude of Wyoming by Thomas Campbell. The name ultimately derives from the Munsee word xwé:wamənk, meaning "at the big river flat."
After the Union Pacific Railroad had reached the town of Cheyenne in 1867, the region's population began to grow steadily, and the federal government established the Wyoming Territory on July 25, 1868. Unlike mineral-rich Colorado, Wyoming lacked significant deposits of gold and silver, as well as Colorado's subsequent population boom. However, South Pass Citydid experience a short-lived boom after the Carissa Mine began producing gold in 1867. Furthermore, copper was mined in some areas between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Snowy Range near Grand Encampment.
Once government-sponsored expeditions to the Yellowstone country began, reports by Colter and Bridger, previously believed to be apocryphal, were found to be true. This led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park, which became the world's first national park in 1872. Nearly all of Yellowstone National Park lies within the far northwestern borders of Wyoming.
On December 10, 1869, territorial Governor John Allen Campbell extended the right to vote to women, making Wyoming the first territory and then U.S. state to grant suffrage to women. In addition, Wyoming was also a pioneer in welcoming women into politics. Women first served on juries in Wyoming (Laramie in 1870); Wyoming had the first female court bailiff (Mary Atkinson, Laramie, in 1870); and the first female justice of the peace in the country (Esther Hobart Morris, South Pass City, in 1870). Also, in 1924, Wyoming became the first state to elect a female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who took office in January 1925. (In fact, Wyoming and Texas both elected female governors at the same time, but Wyoming's took office sixteen days before Texas's.) Due to its civil-rights history, Wyoming's state nickname is "The Equality State", and the official state motto is "Equal Rights".
Wyoming's constitution included women's suffrage and a pioneering article on water rights. The United States admitted Wyoming into the Union as the 44th state on July 10, 1890.
Wyoming was the location of the Johnson County War of 1892, on which the controversial 1980 film Heaven's Gate was based, which erupted between competing groups of cattle ranchers. The passage of the federal Homestead Act led to an influx of small ranchers. A range war broke out when either or both of the groups chose violent conflict over commercial competition in the use of the public land.
According to the 2012 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report, Wyoming’s gross state product was $38.4 billion.
As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate was 7.6%. Components of Wyoming's economy differ significantly from those of other states.
The mineral extraction industry and travel and tourism sector are the main drivers behind Wyoming’s economy. The federal government owns about 50% of its landmass, while 6% is controlled by the state. Total taxable values of mining production in Wyoming for 2001 was over $6.7 billion. The tourism industry accounts for over $2 billion in revenue for the state.
In 2002, more than six million people visited Wyoming’s national parks and monuments. The key tourist attractions in Wyoming include Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, Independence Rock and Fossil Butte National Monument. Each year Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park, receives three million visitors.
Historically, agriculture has been an important component of Wyoming’s economy. Its overall importance to the performance of Wyoming’s economy has waned. However, agriculture is still an essential part of Wyoming’s culture and lifestyle. The main agricultural commodities produced in Wyoming include livestock (beef), hay, sugar beets, grain (wheat and barley), andwool. More than 91% of land in Wyoming is classified as rural.
Unlike most other states, Wyoming does not levy an individual or corporate income tax. In addition, Wyoming does not assess any tax on retirement income earned and received from another state. Wyoming has a state sales tax of 4%. Counties have the option of collecting an additional 1% tax for general revenue and a 1% tax for specific purposes, if approved by voters. Food for human consumption is not subject to sales tax. There also is a county lodging tax that varies from 2% to 5%. The state collects a use tax of 5% on items purchased elsewhere and brought into Wyoming. Allproperty tax is based on the assessed value of the property and Wyoming's Department of Revenue's Ad Valorem Tax Division supports, trains, and guides local government agencies in the uniform assessment, valuation and taxation of locally assessed property. "Assessed value" means taxable value; "taxable value" means a percent of the fair market value of property in a particular class. Statutes limit property tax increases. For county revenue, the property tax rate cannot exceed 12 mills (or 1.2%) of assessed value. For cities and towns, the rate is limited to 8 mills (0.8%). With very few exceptions, state law limits the property tax rate for all governmental purposes.
Personal property held for personal use is tax-exempt. Inventory if held for resale, pollution control equipment, cash, accounts receivable, stocks and bonds are also exempt. Other exemptions include property used for religious, educational, charitable, fraternal, benevolent and government purposes and improvements for handicapped access. Mine lands, underground mining equipment, and oil and gas extraction equipment are exempt from property tax but companies must pay a gross products tax on minerals and a severance tax on mineral production.
Wyoming does not collect inheritance taxes. Because of the phase-out of the federal estate tax credit, Wyoming's estate taxis not imposed on estates of persons who died in 2005. There is limited estate tax related to federal estate tax collection.
In 2008, the Tax Foundation ranked Wyoming as having the single most "business friendly" tax climate of all 50 states.Wyoming state and local governments in fiscal year 2007 collected $2.242 billion in taxes, levies, and royalties from the oil and gas industry. The state's mineral industry, including oil, gas, trona, and coal provided $1.3 billion in property taxes from 2006 mineral production. Wyoming receives more federal tax dollars per capita in aid than any other state except Alaska. The federal aid per capita in Wyoming is more than double the U.S. average.
The Wind River Indian Reservation is shared by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes of Native Americans in the central western portion of the state near Lander. The reservation is home to 2,500 Eastern Shoshone and 5,000 Northern Arapaho.
Chief Washakie established the reservation in 1868as the result of negotiations with the federal government in the Fort Bridger Treaty.However, the Northern Arapaho were forced onto the Shoshone reservation in 1876 by the federal government after the government failed to provide a promised separate reservation.
Today the Wind River Indian Reservation is jointly owned, with each tribe having a 50% interest in the land, water, and other natural resources.The reservation is a sovereign, self-governed land with two independent governing bodies: the Eastern Shoshone Tribal Government and the Northern Arapaho Tribal Government. The Eastern Shoshone Business Council meets jointly with the Northern Arapaho Business Council as the Joint Business Council to decide matters that affect both tribes. Six elected council members from each tribe serve on the joint council.