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National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Release Date: 01/25/10
Contacts: Lesley A. Collins 307-261-7603    

NHTIC Announces Program about Weather on the Historic Pioneer Trails

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (NHTIC) is presenting a program about the weather encountered by settlers along the historic pioneer trails.

Chris Jones, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton, will present a program entitled, “Weather Along the Trail:  The Constant Companion,” at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center on Feb. 6, at 11:00 a.m. The one-hour program is free and open to the public.
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This one-hour program, free and open to the public, will be held on Feb. 6 at 11 am in the NHTIC theatre. Meteorologist Chris Jones of the National Weather Service in Riverton is presenting the program. 

Wind, thunderstorms, and an arid landscape were constant companions of the Oregon Trail traveler. Settlers heading west along the trail quickly found out just how different the climate and day-to-day weather was from their homes in the east and abroad.

Forty or more inches of rain in a year may have been common to a settler in the 1840s. Starting west, however, the arid plains and deserts gave way to an environment where only eight to ten inches of precipitation fell in a year. Settlers were confounded by shrinking wooden wheels, dust covered faces, and trickling streams by the time they reached Wyoming.

As part of the presentation, Jones will use historical records and diaries in an attempt to reconstruct the weather pattern associated with the ill-fated Willie and Martin handcart companies of October 1856. “The multimedia presentation is designed to give the audience the feeling that they are part of this great and sometimes tragic American adventure,” Jones said.

For more information about the program, contact Jason Vlcan at the NHTIC, 307-261-7780.

The NHTIC is a public-private partnership between the BLM and the National Historic Trails Center Foundation. The facility is located at 1501 N. Poplar Street, Casper, Wyo. The Center is currently operating on winter hours, and is open from Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is closed on Sunday through Monday.

The BLM manages more land - 253 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

National Historic Trails Interpretive Center   1501 North Poplar Street      Casper, WY 82601  

Last updated: 01-25-2010