National Historic Trails Interpretive Center

History of the Center & Partnerships

Re-enactment Depicts Kearny's Frontiers Regulars Frontier on Campaign.
The vision of a National Historic Trails Interpretive Center began more than a decade ago with the creation of a trails committee. This group became a private, non-profit entity called the National Historic Trails Center Foundation. In 1992 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) joined the endeavor, with a commitment to pursue $5 million of the $10 million estimated cost for the project. The City of Casper pledged 10 acres of land for the site of the Center. Together, these three entities formed a partnership which continues to this day.

The vision for a Trails Center carried forth into the community, and in 1994, Casper voters passed the Optional One Cent Tax for funds to construct exhibits in the Center. Also that year, the Wyoming State Legislature passed a bill to help fund exhibits in the NHTIC. BLM began the architecture and engineering design process, and plans were completed by 1997.

That same year, Wyoming's Congressional Representative Barbara Cubin and Representative James Hansen of Utah co-sponsored a bill to fund the construction and operation of the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center through the Bureau of Land Management. The bill passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

A Cooperative Agreement between the BLM, the Trails Center Foundation, and the City of Casper was signed, detailing operation and maintenance costs of the facility as well as clarifying responsibilities of each of the three cooperating parties. That cooperative agreement remains in place.

Official groundbreaking for the NHTIC occurred on June 21, 1999, coinciding with the arrival of wagon trains celebrating the sesquicentennial of the California National Historic Trail, one of six historic trails highlighted at the NHTIC.

The NHTIC is a positive example of public-private partnership. This cooperative endeavor began as a dream and became a reality when the facility opened August 9, 2002.

The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (NHTIC) developed under the cooperative eye of three primary partners - the Bureau of Land Management, the National Historic Trails Center Foundation, and the City of Casper. Many other individuals, organizations and businesses contributed to making the dream of a Trails Center in Casper a reality through donation of time, talent, vision, funds and materials.