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Senate celebrates Lander Trail’s 150th anniversary

Enzi introduced resolution honoring the West’s first trail

September 19, 2008

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate paid tribute to an important piece of Wyoming history Thursday by passing a resolution by U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., to honor the 150th anniversary of the Lander Trail.

“The Lander Trail was an important part of expansion into the American West during the 1800s when people took up the challenge to ‘go west’ and settle new territory. It provided an improved route off of the Oregon Trail for 13,000 emigrants who headed West to California and Oregon in search of a new life on the frontier,” Enzi said.  “I am pleased the Senate took time today to pay homage to this piece of United States history and recognize the essential role the Lander Trail played in settling Wyoming and the American West.”

The Senate passed S. Res. 623, which was also cosponsored by Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., unanimously during Thursday’s session. 

The 256-mile Lander Trail, which stretches from South Pass, Wyo., to Fort Hall, Idaho, was the first federally funded trail built in the Western United States.  It was constructed by Frederick W. Lander in 1858, and for many years, the trail served as a cut-off from the Oregon Trail for emigrants headed to California or Oregon.  Taking the Lander Trail could cut seven days off travelers’ journeys. 

Today, the Lander Trail is preserved through the efforts of the Lander Trail Foundation, whose members worked with Senator Enzi on the Senate resolution.  The Lander Trail is part of the National Historic Trails system and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information, contact the Lander Trail Foundation at (307) 883-2174.

The text of the resolution is included below:

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the importance of the role of the Lander Trail in the settlement of the American West on the 150th anniversary of the Lander Trail.

Whereas Frederick W. Lander first surveyed and supervised construction of the Lander Trail in 1858 to provide emigrants with a travelable link between the Oregon and California Trails;

Whereas 13,000 emigrants traveled on the Lander Trail during the settlement of the Western United States;

Whereas the Lander Trail was the first Federal road west of the Mississippi River;

Whereas travelers in the American West used the Lander Trail for 54 years until 1912; and

Whereas people can still experience the Lander Trail in the same setting that Frederick W. Lander first began construction in 1858: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate honors the important role of the Lander Trail in the settlement of the Western United States on the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Lander Trail.