Public Lands

With nearly 98,000 square miles, Wyoming is the 10th largest state in the United States. 48 percent of Wyoming's open spaces are federal public lands and nearly 6 percent is managed by the State of Wyoming. This means one thing: Wyoming is the ultimate place for an outdoor adventure or peaceful retreat. Wyoming is home to the nation's first national park: Yellowstone. In addition, one of the most iconic national parks, Grand Teton, lies along the western edge of the state. Wyoming boasts 12 state parks, eight national forests and other public lands as far as the eye can see. 



4 ways to love our public lands

We love our state and federal parks, forests and recreation areas and hope you do too. Here’s how you
can help us keep our precious natural landscapes beautiful and preserve the land for years to come.

Leave No Waste

It’s up to hikers, backpackers and all who enjoy these lands to follow the golden rule of outdoor recreation: leave no waste, the simple philosophy of leaving the places you visit as you found them. Respect all vegetation and animals, go to the bathroom at least 200 feet from bodies of water and leave only footprints behind. Take all food and trash with you when you go — also known as pack it in, pack it out.

Travel Responsibly

To avoid causing irreparable damage to terrain, always stay on designated trails and don’t cut across switchbacks. If you encounter puddles along the way, walk through instead of around them so you don’t create wider or multiple paths. Carrying a map and knowing where you’re headed also reduces the need to travel off trail. When it’s time to rest or set up camp, opt for durable surfaces like established campsites, rock, gravel or dry grasses.

Lend a Hand

Take a proactive approach with opportunities that combine volunteering with spending time in the great outdoors. The Division of Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails offers four trail volunteer days each year during the summer months, as well as a camp host program from May 15–Sept. 15, 2018. For more information, visit Every September, National Public Lands Day (Sept. 29, 2018) is an excellent way to give back to the community through coordinated projects.

Additionally, anyone can take the Yellowstone Pledge, a personal promise you make to yourself and the park to explore responsibly or encourage kids to develop a love and respect for public lands by participating in the Junior Ranger programs at Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Learn more about how to be a steward at the parks on p. 68.

Explore & Protect

Wyoming is home to the headwaters of four major river basins in the West: Missouri-Mississippi, Green-Colorado, Snake-Columbia and Great Salt Lake. Maintaining these precious resources is vital to stream environments and fisheries, and the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 marks its 50th anniversary in 2018 along with the National Trail System. The milestone is not only worth celebrating but also a reminder of how important it is to protect these lands as you enjoy them for fishing, rafting and other amazing Wyoming watersports.