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Timber Plentiful in 1897

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

In our attempt at continuing education of the Cowboy State, we offer the following historic information concerning timber in Wyoming in 1897 as noted in the rare book, “Collections of the Wyoming Historical Society” by Robert C. Morris.


The timber area of Wyoming has been variously estimated from 7,000,000 to 15,000,000 acres, a variation probably owing to the fact that the sparsely timbered land has been included in the larger estimate. A recent estimate of the forest area of Wyoming is given in the government reports as 7,718,400 acres, or 12,060 square miles.

The several species comprising as far as known, the forest flora of Wyoming, are named in the following list:

Yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa, Dougl.),

White pine (Pinus flexilis, James),

Black, or lodge-pole pine (P. Murrayana, Balfour),

Pinon, or nut pine (Pinus edulis, Engelm.),

White spruce (Picea Engelmanni, Engelm.),

Blue (or white) spruce (Picea pungens, Engelm.),

Black spruce (Picea nigra, Link.),

Red fir (Pseudotsuga Douglassi, Carr.),

Balsam (Abies balsamea, Mill),

Red cedar (Juniperus Virginiana, L.),

Cotton-wood (Populous monilifera, Ait.),

Cotton-wood (Populous angustifolia, James),

Aspen (Populous tremuloides, Michx.),

Willow (Salix longifolia, Muhl.),

Green ash (Fraxinus viridis, Michx.),

Box-elder (Nugundo aceroides, Moench.),

Scrub oak (Quescus undulata, Torr.),

Mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius, Nutt.),

Mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus parvifolius, Nutt.),

Wild plum (Prunus Americana, Marsh),

Wild plum (Prunus Pennsylvanica, L. f),

Black birch (Betula occidentalis, Hook.) and


Writer’s note – Being basically lazy, we didn’t check out the scientific names, or spelling, of the trees. We leave that to our “intellectual” readers. – D.P.

The forests of Wyoming are confined mainly to the mountain ranges, between 4,500 and 10,000 feet above the sea level. Some of them are of wide extent and the timber quite dense and heavy. The best timber is found in the southern part of the Big Horn Mountains, the central portion of the Laramie range, Medicine Bow and Sierra Madre Mountains and the northern spurs of the Uintah range, which extend from Utah into southern Wyoming. The Shoshone, Teton and Snake River ranges also bear quite heavy forests. The timber upon the eastern extension of the Sweetwater range and western portion of the Rattlesnake Mountains is light and scattering. The widest timber area is in the northwestern part of the state, covering the Wind River, Shoshone and other mountains of the main range, including the groups of Yellowstone Park.

There is considerable timber, . . .. Quit chopping and don’t fell another tree until we write again.

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