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Wyoming Update

What is New in the Cities The Union Pacific Railroad line stretched from Omaha to Sacramento and helped open the West. Its depot in Cheyenne was the showcase structure of its kind along the rail line. As with many old depots, the building had deteriorated from disuse due to the switch from passenger to freight service. After 14 years of work and about $13 million in private and public money, the Cheyenne U.P.

Depot once again shines. The lobby has been beautifully restored to its 1929 art deco look and feel. Visitors can find out about local attractions, get a snack or simply sit and relax. The new Cheyenne Depot Museum opened in late 2004 and focuses on capturing the history of Union Pacific in Cheyenne and how the railroad affected the establishment of Cheyenne as a city. It also addresses the critical nature of the track heading west of town in allowing construction of the transcontinental railroad. The museum and depot are open year-round.

Contact: 307-632-3905 The Wyoming Historic Governors Mansion was build in Cheyenne in 1904. As was customary at the time for state residences, the mansion was not built as part of a complex, but as part of an existing neighborhood, emphasizing Wyoming residents' strong belief that a governors place was among the people, rather than apart from them. Among its notable occupants was Nellie Tayloe Ross, the first woman elected head of state anywhere in the world.

Restoration work has been underway throughout 2004 and the mansion is scheduled to reopen to the public this month. A number of special events are planned to commemorate the mansions centennial. Of these, the highlight of the year will be a centennial gala weekend June 10-12. Contact: 307-777-7014, wyoparks. Wyomings wild mountain streams offer exciting whitewater kayaking but sometimes in hard-to-access or remote areas. Two whitewater parks opened recently, one in Casper and a second in Green River.

Each is close to an interstate highway. The North Platte River Parkway whitewater park offers river fun with five man-made structures on the North Platte River near downtown Casper that create a whitewater adventure for rafting, kayaking, and all types of floatation devices. Floatation equipment is available for rent locally.

The Green River White Water Park is located just off Interstate 80 in southern Wyoming and features four great u-drops near Expedition Island for not only the kayak and canoe enthusiast but also for those that just love to play in the water! Contact: 307-577-1206, for North Platte. 307-875-5711, www.grchamber.

com/white_water_park.htm for Green River. What is New with the States Major Icons The Northern Rocky Mountain wolf restoration program went through years of study, planning, and quite a bit of contention before the first 14 wolves were brought from Canada and released in Yellowstone National Park in 1995. Estimates now set the number of gray wolves in Yellowstone at about 169.

Conservationists see the return of the only species known to be missing from the world's first national park for the past half-century as a milestone in ecological restoration. The non-profit Yellowstone Association Institute works with park concessionaire, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, to offer spring and fall wildlife discoveries, marking ten years of wolf recovery. In the spring, they offer the Wolf & Bear Discovery, which looks for wolves and bears on field trips at sunrise and sunset. In the fall, it's elk mating season and trips will see and discuss the dramatic displays of mating bulls.

Wolves are more elusive in the fall, but again sunrise and sunset wildlife watching trips give a good chance of seeing wolvesiin the wild. Other activities include hikes in wolf and elk habitat, along with presentations on the behavior and ecology of both species. Contact: 307-344-5566 Devils Tower, Americas first national monument, has a centennial year coming in 2006. The centennial committee is formed and plans a series of events throughout the summer of next year. President Teddy Roosevelt proclaimed the unique volcanic rock neck and immediate area a national monument in 1906. The tower was brought to the worlds attention most prominently as a landing platform for extraterrestrials in Steven Spielbergs classic sci-fi film, Close Encounters of The Third Kind.

Every summer park staff and area supporters present a cultural program series that includes Native American lore and cowboy songs/poetry. Contact: 307-290-5564, This article is sponsored by: www. .

By: Rajinder Dogra

Las Vegas

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