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Wyoming’s South Pass At Risk of Being Passed Up?

August 13, 2008

Lander, WY - A "happy trails" wish for Wyoming's living history is being expressed by petitions with 1,300 signatures delivered to the federal Bureau of Land Management. The petitions urge official designation of Wyoming's South Pass area, from Independence Rock to Farson, where the historic Pony Express, Mormon Pioneer, California, and Oregon trails meet and intertwine.

Barbara Dobos, with the Alliance for Historic Wyoming, says an official designation does not change the way the land is used today; it just helps define the historic area and landmarks.

"There's a great future in historic tourism. South Pass is a great draw for heritage tourism."

Dobos says the South Pass is often referred to as the "Gateway to the Continent."

"The significance exemplified by the South Pass is the essence of American history."

The BLM field office in Lander is working on a management plan that includes South Pass. Dobos says her group is hoping for boundary lines around the trails and into the nearby landscapes to connect the historical context.

Some area property owners have been concerned that such a designation could limit land use, but Dobos says all current land use would remain unchanged.

More information on the Alliance for Historic Wyoming is available online at

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - WY