Trees, in Wyoming?

While it may be tough to believe, there are in fact trees and forests in Wyoming. The state offers more than just range land and barren plains. When making a trip into the mountains, the trees are as abundant as the wildflowers and the forests are just as beautiful.

My mountains are the Big Horn Mountains and the Laramie Mountain Range. All of my time so far as been spent on Muddy Mountain, because many of the other forests are still cloaked with snow. In my short two weeks in Casper, Wyoming, I have already begun to cruise timber, mark trees, and prepare for a summer of forest management. I can now visually estimate a tree’s diameter at breast height to see if its good for a post or pole (2-6 inches) or timber (8+ inches). Every different piece of the forest has a use, and must be properly managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

And the Bureau has quite the task. Because the BLM manages public lands of the United States, a proper forest management plan is not always straightforward. They must balance recreation needs (hiking, biking, photography) with supplying goods to the public (hunting, wood products, range lands) while still preserving the natural ecosystems (animal habitat, ecosystem services, and health of a forest). With so many diverse goals, an interdisciplinary mindset is critical. I have had the opportunity to work with wildlife biologists, archaeologists, range specialists, as well as my forester mentor.

The first two weeks has been a wonderful crash course into what the entire summer will look like (hint, no two days will be the same!). I’m eager and excited for what new opportunities await me each day, and am incredibly appreciative for the chance to be a CLM Intern in 2018.

Here’s a glimpse of my office!

Forestry Intern

Casper Field Office

Bureau of Land Management

Buffalo, WY

Two weeks in and I am officially feeling settled in Buffalo, WY! I am working at the BLM office under the Outdoor Recreation Planner, and having a blast thus far. Though I do have a few main projects that I am working on, it seems as though every day will be different and keep me on my toes (which I really enjoy).

On my first field day, we hiked out to a Wilderness Study Area to determine the (relatively) easiest path that we might be able to create a trail for public access. Low and behold, we bushwhacked ~5 miles through sagebrush and Juniper, up and down many steep ridgelines, to only make it half way to the WSA! After giving in to defeat and dehydration we had to turn around, and only once we made it back to the car I realized I had gained a new found love for the rolling hills of the Wyoming prairie.

My second field day we got to meet with ranchers to discuss a questions, concerns, and ideas for our management plan for a recreation area that is adjacent to where they run their cattle. This was an incredible experience as I got to be a part of a collaborative conversation with a diverse range of stakeholders, values, and viewpoints on how to work together towards a few common goals.

Since then, I have got to help coordinate a volunteer day for local high school kids, hike into and clean up remote camp sites, and be a part of an interdisciplinary team working on Environmental Assessment. I even got to go out with an Archeologist  one day, in which we found a 6,000 year old projectile point!  

When driving into this area, I was enamored by the Utah-esque red sandstone cliffs that give a beautiful contrast to the deep green pine forests. While being awestruck by the scenery beyond, it is easy to almost miss the ~1,000 foot deep canyon with towering white limestone cliffs that seems to appear out of nowhere. 

All in all, it has been a fun and exciting start for the first couple weeks that has only made me fall more in love with Wyoming. To boot, Buffalo is a friendly small town where all our neighbors made sure to make us feel right at home by baking us a pie and cookies for a house-warming gift. Not to mention, you are right at the base of the snow-capped Bighorn Mountains, which beg for your attention every day with the view right from town.

I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the summer and all the adventures that are in store.


Ryan DeAngelis

Buffalo, WY


Roaming in Wyoming

Hi friends!

One Friday afternoon, about a month ago, I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture. That same day, I began my 23 hour journey by car to Buffalo, Wyoming. I’ve been out west a few times for short term trips. However, this has been my first experience in Wyoming and my first time living in a town with a population of less than 5,000. The past few months have provided lots of opportunities for growth and situations to adjust to. I’m so thankful for the new experiences, people, job, and scenery. I’ve been able to visit 2 national parks already (Buffalo is within driving distance of several) and witness some breathtaking scenery.

Building new friendships with people who have similar interests has been very rewarding to me. The mountains, wildlife, and vast prairies of Wyoming has shown me how different the ecosystem here is from what I am used to. I’ve been challenged to learn about range plants, animals, GIS, and a variety of other useful skills. I miss my home and friends in Kentucky, but I realize why I need to be here- for growth and the opportunity to explore. After 4 weeks it has been reinforced how much I love my state, as absence makes the heart grow fonder. I may not be in Buffalo for long, but it has already left a mark that has changed me for the better.


-Savannah McGuire

Range Intern

Bureau of Land Management- Buffalo Field Office

Buffalo, Wyoming



One of our range sites in Kaycee, Wyoming (Red Rock Wall)

Someone kindly donated rhubard from their garden to the office

Wildflowers picked in Buffalo

Making new friends at CPR Training day

New and Old

Two weeks into my second summer with the Casper BLM, I am struck by the simultaneous newness and familiarity of it all. Driving for hours over highly-eroded dirt roads or hiking through public lands that haven’t been inventoried since I was four years old, I am reminded of the thrill of living and working in a place with so much uninhabited land.

A year and three weeks ago, I left behind 22 years of big city life and arrived in Casper, Wyoming — where for the first time, I could walk into a coffee shop and be the only one there.

One of the things I’ve learned about working somewhere like Casper is that the abundance of open land makes the work diverse. As a hydrology technician, I do so much more than look at water. The first two weeks of this summer have consisted of a lot of planning, some map making, exploring new areas, 15+ hours of driving, a lot of mud, a Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) workshop, processing water samples, and a family of mice found in a cardboard box of sample bottles.

When every day is an adventure, the unexpected becomes the norm.

Everything isn’t always clearcut. It’s important to be flexible because plans will change. A rancher will call with a leaky pipe that needs to be fixed immediately. A 50-year rain event will render bentonite roads untravelable for days. What appears to be a 40-minute drive on a map will take an hour and a half on sketchy dirt roads. Occasionally, an afternoon hail storm will leave you fishtailing back to the office. Planning and organization can only get you so far.

It’s interesting knowing what I know from last summer and seeing new interns experience Wyoming country and all of its challenges for the first time. It’s easy to forget that I was once that person who gawked at every pronghorn and had never navigated using ownership layers. Two hours seemed like a long drive to me. I hadn’t experienced wet bentonite and barely even recognized the rocky dirt on the side of the mountain as a road my first week in the field.

These Wyoming country quirks seem so second nature to me now. Township, cattle guard, and allotment are everyday words in my vocabulary. And yet, there’s still a particular wonder about exploring new parts of Wyoming, watching baby pronghorn frolic through the fields, driving for hours without seeing another vehicle. I’ve learned a lot in the past year, but I still have a lot to learn. I look forward to all the new adventures this summer brings and all the old memories it reawakens.

High Desert Herps

The first two weeks of my internship with the Bureau of Land Management’s Rawlins Field Office have held intrigue and excitement via a vast collection of ecosystems comprised of spectacular faunal diversity amongst an awe-inspiring landscape. With spring’s arrival shortly before my own, I have caught the biologists and associated staff’s entrance into their field season as their new projects have begun firing on all cylinders.  With a goal of surveying the herpetofauna located within the boundaries of the RFO, BLM biologists utilize an array of strategies and methods including but not limited to: dip-netting, seining, drift fencing (with associated funnel traps), pit fall traps and point-transect observations.

The High Desert of Wyoming may not be well-advertised as a home for amphibians but present in this habitat are several. Dip netting in the first week of the internship resulted in the catch and observation of Western tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) larvae.  Following such we had dialogue regarding the individual’s life cycle and the possibility that we were observing a neotenic specimen, that is, it had retained its juvenile (larval) characteristics into sexual maturity.  This state, if present, would likely have resulted from environmental pressures associated with less than ideal conditions in the animal’s domain.  In the pictured individual’s case this was a small, isolated detention pool with high turbidity, limited vegetative cover and is a location utilized by grazing cattle for drinking water.  There is presumably, although not definitively, a low level of connectivity between similar bodies of water in this area although other distinct individuals were sampled at this point.

I expect this internship to be an opportunity for continued education and such will allow for perspective gain. Additionally, it will allow for the chance to perform hard sampling on uncommon species in remote regions; the idea of which should be enough to stimulate any scientist or nature enthusiast.  More to come.