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Casper: Recreation

Casper: Recreation

Sightseeing

A sightseeing tour of Casper would start where the town startedat the convergence of the multiple travel routes to the West. The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center accurately portrays the experiences of emigrants who traversed the Oregon, California, Mormon, Bridger, Bozeman, and Pony Express Trails. The museum has incorporated the history of Wyoming's native peoples in displays that include a simulated crossing of the North Platte River in a replica Conestoga wagon. An award-winning audiovisual feature recreates the days of early Casper in a way that brings pioneer existence alive for modern visitors.

The natural segue is to next visit the Fort Caspar Museum and Historical Site, located along the historical trail system. The buildings of the original fort have been reconstructed, with structures including the 1859 Guinard bridge and the 1847 Mormon ferry utilized in crossings of the North Platte. Exhibits range from prehistoric natural history items to recent regional development in central Wyoming.

While in the vicinity, visitors can enjoy a leisurely ramble along the Platte River Parkway, an 11-mile paved path that connects residential neighborhoods to natural areas. The Platte River Commons in downtown Casper continues along the riverbank; within the downtown area, the Art for the Streets program has sprinkled the historic area with 31 sculptures. "Painted Past" Living History Tours through the downtown area highlight myths, legends and true stories of Casper's checkered past.

The Mormon Handcart Visitors' Center commemorates the hardships and survival of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints traveling as part of the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies in 1856. As the group traveled westward, it encountered a raging blizzard that forced the company to hole up in a local cove for four days. During the ensuing wait for rescuers, many members of the group died from starvation or exposure. Visitors to the site today can pull a handcart to the cove or can participate in guided camping treks.

Arts and Culture

The Nicolaysen Art Museum and Discovery Center contains one large and six small galleries exhibiting art from or about the Rocky Mountain Region. Exhibitors at "the Nic" often include contemporary living artists from the area. The Discovery Center allows visitors to create their own art in a self-guided studio containing interactive exhibits, and the Wyoming Science Adventure Center generates interest in sciences through fun, interactive displays. Workshops and educational programs are offered throughout the year as well, with a special emphasis on quilting.

The West Wind Gallery is operated by the Casper Artists' Guild, the members of which show and sell their works under the gallery's roof. The gallery occasionally hosts artists from out of state and also offers classes.

The Tate Geological Museum is located on the grounds of Casper College and is home to a collection of more than 3,000 fossil and mineral specimens. The museum offers a Saturday Club experience for local youth in which they study local geology and animal fossils. Adults can take part in paleontology and geology fieldwork expeditions coordinated through the museum, with visits to Wind River Reservation, and the Morrison and Lance Formation sites. Casper College also houses the Werner Wildlife Museum featuring more than 285 birds and 100 other various species.

The formative history of Casper is further represented at the Salt Creek Museum in the city of Midwest, where books, memorabilia and reminiscences reflect on more than 100 years of oil field action in the area. The Wyoming Veteran's Memorial Museum at the airport is located in the building where bombing crews trained during World War II.

The Wyoming Symphony Orchestra performs "The Nut-cracker" seasonally in conjunction with the Western Ballet Theater, which involves local dancers for that event. Five more performances per season round out the orchestra's schedule at the John F. Welsh Auditorium.

Young musicians from 4th graders to 21 year olds participate in The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps, regardless of musical experience. The Troopers travel around the U.S. throughout the summer, performing and competing in drum and bugle corps contests. Further musical offerings are provided through the Casper Chamber Music Society, the Casper Children's Chorale, Casper Civic Chorale, Casper Fiddle Club, Casper Municipal Band, Choral Arts Ensemble, Metropolitan Brass Quintet, Oil City Slickers, and ARTCORE.

Productions ranging from the classical to the contemporary are performed by the players of Stage III, an all-volunteer community theater located in historic downtown Casper. The theater department at Casper College presents similarly varied fare to audiences in the Gertrude Krampert Theatre. A musical and three plays are presented each academic year, while the summer season offerings are often musicals or comedies.

Arts and Culture Information: Casper Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 330 South Center Street, Suite 420, Casper, WY 82601; telephone (307)234-5362; toll free (800)852-1889; email visitors@casperwyoming.info

Festivals and Holidays

The year kicks off in January with the Windy City Quilt Festival. Casper residents fire up for the Cowboy State Games in February, an Olympic-style event composed of a mix of indoor and outdoor competitive sports. The Games run for five weekends during the month. Casper sees a local version of March Madness with the 1A and 2A State Basketball Tournament being held at the Casper Events Center early in the month. March is also time for the Super Flea Market at the Fairgrounds. The spring winds of April support the Central Wyoming Kite Flyers Fun Fly at the Soccer Complex, and Casper College hosts its rodeo. Temperate May weather ushers in a flock of activities such as the high school rodeo, the Kid's Fishing Derby, a dog show, and a car exhibition. The festivities continue in June with the Casper Antique Show early in the month and the Governor's Cup Sailboat Regatta at Alcova Lake a few weeks later.

The Fourth of July blasts off with a Fireworks Festival and a Cavalry baseball game, followed by the Rocky Mountain Regional Dance Festival, the Whitewater kayak rodeo, and the Beartrap Music Festival at the end of July. The Kiwanis Club hosts a golf tournament at the end of August, and cooler fall temperatures in September are perfect for the Platte River Fall Festival and Great Duck Derby. In mid-October, Casper hosts the local Special Olympics events. The holiday months of November and December respectively see the advent of the Meals on Wheels Craft Fair and the Tate Museum Holiday Open House.

Sports for the Spectator

Casper grew up around the livestock industry, so it's no surprise that rodeo is the major spectator sport. Casper hosts two large rodeo events: the College National Finals Rodeo and the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo. The College National Finals Rodeo takes place in mid-June each year and features the top rodeo event qualifiers from colleges and universities from across the U.S. Events include barrel racing, calf roping, and bull riding to just name a few. The Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo is held in mid-July, with Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association competitions in roping, bareback riding, saddle bronc and bull riding events among others.

During the summer months, baseball fans can see tomorrow's stars playing for the Casper Rockies, the minor league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The team plays at Mike Lansing Field. In the spring, sports are still staying indoors with the Wyoming Cavalry football team, a member of the National Indoor Football League. Formed in 2001, the Cavalry finished the inaugural season second in the nation and have a rowdy, faithful following. The Wyoming Golden Eagles round out the spectating season with All American Professional Basketball League competition.

Sports for the Participant

Afficionados of the Wild West will relish the opportunity to participate in historic wagon train trips arranged through local companies. A similar desire to experience pioneer Casper could spur a visit to a working cattle and guest ranch located about 65 miles southwest of the city.

For folks who prefer to provide their own locomotion, the Casper Marathon takes place in early June, with marathon, half-marathon, and marathon relay options. The course is described as flat with few hills, and runners are invited to "come run with the herd."

A slightly less strenuous workout can be found at the Casper Municipal Golf Course, an 18-hole course with a practice range, putting and chipping greens, and a 19th Hole Restaurant and Lounge. The course is open from April 1st to November 1st each year.

The North Platte River offers ample outdoor recreation opportunities, such as kayaking through the Parkway Whitewater Park. This man-made whitewater facility runs for half a mile over structures that create turbulent water for kayak maneuvers. Canoes and rafts can also navigate through the Whitewater Park or pursue a more relaxed pace on other stretches of the North Platte. Fly fishing along the river can yield large brown and rainbow trout.

Birding excursions at the Audubon Center, Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park, and Jackson Canyon may produce sightings of bald and golden eagles, hummingbirds, bluebirds, hawks, sandpipers, wild turkeys, and grosbeaks. Birding field trips are offered almost every weekend of the year through the Murie Audubon Society.

Casper Mountain is the scene of outdoor adventure year-round, with alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing in the winter and hiking during the spring, summer and fall seasons. Casper is within an easy day's drive of Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Devil's Tower Monument, all of which offer a range of trails in addition to campsites. Serious rock climbers can head east a few hours to Vedauwoo in southeast Wyoming; this startling and impressive collection of rock formations has something for everyone, from the scrambler to the multi-pitch climber.

Shopping and Dining

Casper's historic downtown area contains a mix of antique shops and other retailers, including the largest western merchandise store in Wyoming. The Eastridge Mall is the site of a number of national franchise stores combined with shops owned locally. Fast food outlets, grocery stores, and home supply stores are located nearby. Based near the foothills of Casper Mountain, the Sunrise Shopping Center is anchored by a restaurant and a bowling alley at one end and a gym at the other. The Hilltop Shopping Center focuses on local businesses, while the Beverly Plaza Shopping Center is home to national franchises. Other shopping areas include Plaza East, Millview Center, and CY Avenue/Highway 220 Shopping Strip.

Traditional American cuisine rules in Casper, with at least 36 restaurants offering downhome and family-style cooking. Approximately eight Mexican eateries meet the needs of spice-craving palates, while another eight establishments serve up varieties of Asian fare. As might be expected in cattle country, steakhouses are popular as well. A handful of fine dining, Italian, seafood, and barbecue restaurants flesh out the dining options in Casper. Basic and gourmet coffees are available at the six java houses in town.

Visitor Information: Casper Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 992 N. Poplar St., Casper, WY 82601; telephone (307)234-5362; toll-free (800)852-1889; fax (307)261-9928; email visitors@casperwyoming.info

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Casper: Economy

Casper: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

In 2004, Forbes magazine named Casper one of the nation's "Top 25 Best Small Places for Business" based on the comparatively low costs of operating in the Casper area. The city's central location and proximity to a wealth of natural resources has attracted mining and petroleum exploration industries to the area.

Casper also grew up as a cattle and sheep ranching town, and remains as such today. Businesses related to the care and feeding of livestock have maintained a hold on the economy in Casper and the surrounding Natrona County area.

The medical industry is healthy, as Casper serves as the site for a Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic in addition to the Wyoming Medical Center. The tourism trade is growing as well, grounded in local Wild West history, rodeos, and proximity to natural wonders such as Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone.

Items and goods produced: oil, natural gas, coal, gravel, fire equipment, agricultural products

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The lack of a local income tax and a low municipal sales tax rate are the main business incentives employed by the City of Casper. The Foreign Trade Zone at Natrona County International Airport provides further encouragement for importers to frequent Casper, as international goods can be warehoused at the airport without undergoing full U.S. Customs scrutiny.

State programs

Wyoming's primary business incentive is a non-existent corporate income tax rate, coupled with relatively minimal sales tax rates. The state also does not tax intangibles or inventory and has kept property taxes low.

Job training programs

The Casper Workforce Center is part of a statewide network of workforce development resources, including services for businesses, job seekers and employment data researchers. Expanding businesses can tap into the Business Training Grant program for new positions, which subsidizes tuition, registration, travel, continuing education and wages associated with newly-created positions in growing companies. Large and small business owners can take advantage of the Wyoming Job Network to search online for prospective employees; the Workforce Center additionally operates an Alien Labor Certification program, which allows employers to utilize immigrant labor for positions that are difficult to fill with U.S. citizens. On the other side of immigrant labor issues, the Workforce Center offers a Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker program, with bilingual staffers encouraging economic self-sufficiency among migrant workers through job training and employment matching services.

Job seekers can avail themselves of several programs organized under the Workforce Investment Act passed in 1998. The intent of the act was to create a seamless continuum of employment, education, and training programs to support business with a skilled workforce. Programs supported by the act include Title II Adult Basic Education, Title IV Vocational Rehabilitation programs, dislocated worker programs, youth tutoring, alternative secondary school services, youth summer employment programs, youth internships, and job shadowing. The Workforce Center offers specialized programs for older workers and workers who identify themselves as having disabilities.

Development Projects

The proposed McMurry Business Park planned along the extension of 2nd Street in Casper is likely to be a $25 million investment property zoned for commercial use. Covering 500 acres, the project will involve access road improvements and major utility installations.

Not to be outdone, the Natrona County International Airport Business Park has undergone a sizable expansion during the last few years, including up to 18,000 square feet of available office space, approximately 135 buildings that can accommodate businesses that range from manufacturing to retail to aviation, and an adjacent acreage that has been designated for future development.

The Downtown Casper Reconstruction and Improvement Project is designed to revitalize an aged and deteriorating area in an effort to make it more inviting to tourists and businesses. A one-cent sales tax is providing the funding, with construction beginning in spring 2005 and expected to end in fall 2006.

Commercial Shipping

The largest airport in Wyoming, the Natrona County International Airport, is located in Casper and encompasses Foreign Trade Zone #157, which allows imported goods to remain onsite without undergoing full U.S. Customs processing. Four regional carriers offer business class travel; both Sky West and Northwest Airlines also offer cargo transportation services. The airport is additionally home to the air cargo facilities of UPS, FedEx and DHL package delivery services.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway passes through Casper, with routes to the West Coast, the Southwest, the Midwest, and other points west of the Mississippi River. Freight services offered include agricultural, mineral, industrial, and consumer goods. Freight forwarding and direct connections with dock spurs are available to shippers.

Casper's central location makes it a highway hub, with Interstate 25, U.S. Highways 20 and 87, and state highways 220, 254 and 20 all meeting within its city limits. Casper is served by approximately 48 over-the-road trucking companies and has access to package delivery services such as UPS, FedEx and DH.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

While it's expected that Wyoming will remain identified with production of natural gas and coal, a slight decline in total mining jobs is anticipated. Most employment growth is expected to occur in non-goods producing sectors, including service and retail trade. The State of Wyoming predicts that the aging of the baby boomer generation will result in possible labor shortages as that group retires. An aging population will also increase demand for health care and social services, creating a potential spike in those professions.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Casper metropolitan statistical area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 35,800

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 3,000

construction: 2,400

manufacturing: 1,500

trade, transportation and utilities: 8,200

information: 500

financial activities: 1,800

professional and business services: 2,800

educational and health services: 4,500

leisure and hospitality: 3,400

other services: 1,700

government: 5,500

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $16.88

Unemployment rate: 4.2 (January 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees (2004)
Natrona County School District #1 1,427
Wyoming Medical Center 921
The Industrial Company 600
Key Energy 558
City of Casper 505
Casper College 343
OfficeMax 339
Wyoming Machinery Company 315
Natrona County Government 278
McMurry Ready Mix 225
True Companies 201

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Casper area.

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

State income tax rate: None

State sales tax rate: 4%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1%

Property tax rate: assessed at 9.5% of market value

Economic Information: Casper Area Economic Development Alliance, 300 South Wolcott Suite 300, Casper, WY 82601; telephone (307)577-7011; toll-free (800)634-5012

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Casper: History

Casper: History

Back to the Source

Before there were people, there was the riverthe North Platte River begins its meandering journey in the mountains near Casper, running east across the Great Plains to merge with its sister river, the South Platte, to become simply the Platte River. Water, mountains, and plains were a lure from the beginning; evidence of human occupation dates back more than 12,000 years with the Clovis peoples, followed by the Folsom and the Eden Valley peoples. A mix of hunting and gathering tribes occupied the area until approximately 500 A.D., eventually morphing into Native American tribes more familiar in today's world.

The original residents of Wyoming were nomadic Plains Indians, including tribes as disparate as the Arapaho, Sioux, Cheyenne, Crow, Lakota, Blackfeet, Kiowa, Nez Perce, and Shoshone. The tribes relied on the land and the roaming buffalo herds for sustenance; when European explorers and hunters began a wholesale slaughter of the buffalo, coinciding with an interest in herding native peoples to a containment area in Oklahoma, armed conflicts escalated in the clash of cultures and interests. In 1812, fur trappers had followed beaver and buffalo populations to the northern Rockies. The Oregon Trail had been scouted out in 1823, and its ever-deepening ruts reflected the entrenched U.S. belief in its manifest destiny to expand westward.

The Western Civil War

By 1847, a network of travel routes converged at a spot just west of present-day Casper; here the Emigrant Trail crossed from the south side to the north side of the North Platte River. When the first Mormon wagon train passed through this area on its way to what would become Utah, Brigham Young arranged for a ferry to be set up for the use of future travelers. The Mormon Ferry soon faced competition as more emigrants passed that way and decided to cash in on a good idea. One entrepreneurial French-Canadian trader named John Baptiste Richard decided to build a bridge across the North Platte and charge a toll for crossing it. The area was now not just a way-station but an encampment.

Local residents established a trading post along the Emigrant Trail in 1859, taking advantage of the growing stream of wagon trains. As the local population grew along with the number of emigrants, friction developed with local tribes of Lakota, Arapaho, and Cheyenne Indians. As a result, the trading post was transformed into a fort by the military, and two pitched battles between the army and the native tribes took place in 1865. In the first conflict, Lieutenant Caspar Collins was killed while attempting to rescue another soldier. Lt. Collins' father already had a fort named after him in Colorado, so the military named the Wyoming fort "Casper" in his honor, inadvertently using a misspelling that had been transmitted by telegraph. The seeds of present-day Casper had been planted.

Black Gold, Texas Tea

Casper in 1888 was a true Wild West town; a railroad had been built through the town in an effort to ease travel to riches of gold in California and fertile land in Oregon. Isolation and lawlessness attracted a rough crowd of renegades and outlaws, and the original township developed a main street lined with saloons on one side. By necessity, the first public building in Casper was a jail. Lynchings were not an uncommon occurrence.

Oil was struck in nearby Salt Creek Field in 1889, an event that has come to define Casper as the "oil capital of the Rockies." The city was flooded with an influx of claim jumpers looking to capitalize on the promised wealth. In 1895, the first oil refinery was constructed. Oil workers known as "roughnecks" followed, along with gamblers, prostitutes and corrupt businessmen. Cattlemen went to war against the sheepmen. The local law struggled to keep up with the shenanigans of the populace, passing laws to prevent women from walking on the saloon side of Main Street and to make illegal the discharge of firearms within city limits.

Local municipal leaders were set on Casper becoming the state capital and a centerpiece of the West. As the economy continued to thrive, construction was begun on some of the tallest buildings in Wyoming during the early 20th century. But, a city that lives on oil can die on oil.

Nearly a Ghost Town

Few communities escaped the repercussions of the Great Depression, and Casper was not an exception. In 1929, the city's population diminished by 50 percent; the struggle continued until World War II spurred renewed demand for oil and gas supplies.

The city has experienced cycles of boom and bust beginning in the 1960s, riding the wave of oil and gas prices. Today, Casper is profiting from U.S. conflicts with oil-producing nations and has additionally seen the growth of more consistent industries in the areas of health care, social services and tourism. Figurative fisticuffs have taken the place of literal gunfights as the oil industry negotiates its place in a city that is increasingly conscious of its finite and infinitely beautiful natural resources.

Historical Information: Wyoming State Historical Society, 1829 North Piney Creek Road, Casper, WY 82604-1721

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Casper: Education and Research

Casper: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Natrona County School District serves students not just in Casper but also the communities of Midwest, Edgerton, Mills, Evansville, Bar Nunn, Alcova, Mountain View, and Powder River. The school district emphasizes site-based decision making in schools of choice, a system that allows parents to enroll students in any school without regard to location. Ideally, this encourages a cooperative approach between school administration, parents, and students in targeting an educational environment that best fits the needs of the individual.

The district operates a K-12 substance abuse program that has been recognized at the national level, along with specialized services for English language learners. Since 2001, the school district has offered an after-school program and community learning center at two elementary schools, with stated goals of retention, improved academic performance, life-long learning, and a safe drug-free environment. Out-reach is also conducted for students who are homebound and those who are homeless.

The Natrona County School District created a planetarium in 1966, which over the years has brought the stars and planets to more than 500,000 students. The Casper Planetarium also presents programs for the public throughout the year, including the This Month's Sky series.

The following is a summary of data regarding Natrona County School District as of the 20042005 school year.

Total enrollment: 11,532

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 27

junior high schools: 7

high schools: 4

rural schools: 4

Student teacher ratio: junior high, 16.3:1; high school, 17.6:1

Teacher salaries

average: $42,286

Funding per pupil: $6,911

Public Schools Information: Natrona County School District, 970 N. Glenn Rd., Casper, WY 82601; telephone (307)577-0200

Colleges and Universities

Perched in the foothills of Casper Mountain, higher education takes on a literal meaning at Casper College. One of the largest community colleges, Casper College offers students a choice of 50 academic majors and more than 30 technical and career programs. The college enrolls a total of 3,800 students in small, personal classes in Business, Health Sciences, Trades and Technology, and Life Sciences programs, among others. The college also provides free Adult Basic Education and General Educational Development (GED) assistance in the Werner Technical Center.

The University of Wyoming in nearby Laramie maintains an outreach school in conjunction with the Casper College; the University of Wyoming/Casper College Center offers 14 baccalaureate degrees, 13 master's programs and a variety of certification programs. Coursework is completed onsite, via teleconferencing or through web-based instruction, with internships and educational travel experiences offered in various degree programs.

At the Natrona County International Airport, the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting training program offers classroom and hands-on experience with firefighting techniques unique to aeronautical equipment. Small classes ensure individual attention as students learn to deal with hazardous materials, ventilation issues, fire behavior, and search and rescue procedures.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Natrona County Library's main branch is located in the heart of Casper with branch libraries maintained in the communities of Edgerton and Mills. The library offers access to 204,922 books, 4,312 audio materials and 4,264 video materials, supplemented by 352 serial subscriptions and online research resources. Children's programs include a Reader's Advisory program that recommends books tailored to particular ages and interests; outreach programs to schools and community groups; educational games and reference programs; Storytime; a summer reading program; and Dial-a-Story with a new story available by phone every week.

The Goodstein Foundation Library at Casper College contains a collection of 118,000 volumes catering to the needs of faculty and students at the college. The library subscribes to more than 500 periodicals, with access to more than 20,000 full-text periodicals available online. The library is also home to a Western history collection, with materials focused on Casper and Natrona County.

Public Library Information: Natrona County Public Library (Main Branch), 307 East Second Street, Casper, WY 82601; telephone (307)237-4935

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Casper: Population Profile

Casper: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents (CMSA)

1980: 71,856

1990: 61,226

2000: 66,533

Percent change, 19902000: 8.6%

U.S. rank in 2000: 275th

City Residents

1980: 51,016

1990: 46,742

2000: 49,644

2003 estimate: 50,632

Percent change, 19902000: 6.2%

U.S. rank in 1990: 559th (2nd in state)

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported (2nd in state)

Density: 2,073.2 people per square mile

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 46,680

Black or African American: 428

American Indian and Alaskan Native: 495

Asian: 425

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 10

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 2,656

Other: 1,011

Percent of residents born in state: 46.4% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 3,264

Population 5 to 9 years old: 3,458

Population 10 to 14 years old: 3,758

Population 15 to 19 years old: 4,122

Population 20 to 24 years old: 3,455

Population 25 to 34 years old: 6,125

Population 35 to 44 years old: 7,649

Population 45 to 54 years old: 7,016

Population 55 to 59 years old: 2,211

Population 60 to 64 years old: 1,852

Population 65 to 74 years old: 3,606

Population 75 to 84 years old: 2,402

Population 85 years and over: 746

Median age: 36.1

Births

Total number: 897 (2002; Natrona County)

Deaths

Total number: 616 (2002; Natrona County)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $19,409

Median household income: $36,567

Total households: 20,343

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 1,761

$10,000 to $14,999: 1,689

$15,000 to $24,999: 3,101

$25,000 to $34,999: 3,185

$35,000 to $49,999: 3,680

$50,000 to $74,999: 3,948

$75,000 to $99,999: 1,772

$100,000 to $149,999: 866

$150,000 to $199,999: 196

$200,000 or more: 238

Percent of families below poverty level: 8.5% (53.5% of which were female householder families with children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 2,725

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Casper: Communications

Casper: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Casper's daily paper is the Casper Star Tribune, delivered mornings and providing comprehensive coverage of international, national, regional, and local news stories. A special insert on Saturdays conveys community events and special features. Billed as "Casper's community newspaper," the Casper Journal is focused on local news, sports, and community events. The Wyoming Business Report is an affiliate of two similar periodicals published along the Front Range in Colorado. The bi-monthly paper is circulated to 10,000 readers, providing coverage of banking, technology, energy, investing, and agribusiness issues.

Television and Radio

Two network television affiliates are located in CasperCBS and ABCbut the community has relays for transmissions of public television and other network stations. Casper's FM radio selection runs the gamut from classic rock to country to top 40 formats. Talk radio, news, oldies and Christian music are available on AM radio.

Casper Online

Casper Area Chamber of Commerce. Available www.casperwyoming.org/index.html

Casper Star Tribune. Available www.casperstartribune.net

Casper Wyoming Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.casperwyoming.info

City of Casper. Available www.casperwy.gov

Natrona County Government. Available www.newedc.net/natrona/index.htm

Natrona County School District. Available www.ncsdweb.ncsd.k12.wy.us/index.html

Wyoming State Historical Society. Available wyshs.org

Selected Bibliography

Casper Chronicles Casper, WY: Casper Zonta Club (1964)

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Casper

Casper

Casper: Introduction
Casper: Geography and Climate
Casper: History
Casper: Population Profile
Casper: Municipal Government
Casper: Economy
Casper: Education and Research
Casper: Health Care
Casper: Recreation
Casper: Convention Facilities
Casper: Transportation
Casper: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1888 (incorporated in 1889)

Head Official: Guy V. Padgett, III (since 2005)

City Population

1980: 51,016

1990: 46,742

2000: 49,644

2003 estimate: 50,632

Percent change, 1990-2000: 6.2%

U.S. rank in 1990: 559th (2nd in state)

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported (2nd in state)

Metropolitan Area Population (PMSA)

1980: 71,856

1990: 61,226

2000: 66,533

Percent change, 1990-2000: 8.6%

U.S. rank in 2000: 275th

Area: 23.9 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 5,140 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 45.2° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 14.75 inches rainfall; 77 inches snowfall

Major Economic Sectors: mining, education, health services, social services, retail trade, tourism

Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (January 2005)

Per Capita Income: $19,409 (1999)

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 2,725

Major Colleges and Universities: Casper College, University of Wyoming outreach program

Daily Newspaper: Casper Star Tribune

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Casper: Health Care

Casper: Health Care

The Wyoming Medical Center in Casper serves the Natrona County area and also draws patients from rural communities of greater distances. The state's largest medical facility is licensed for 206 beds after undergoing a significant expansion in 2001, which added a new emergency department and trauma center. The facility houses two Centers of Excellence, the Heart Center of Wyoming and the Wyoming Neuroscience and Spine Center. In addition to those specialties, the Wyoming Medical Center provides a range of services such as urology, magnetic resonance imaging, inpatient rehabilitation, Flight for Life, urology, cancer treatment, and pediatrics.

The main campus of the Wyoming Behavioral Institute is located in Casper, with substance abuse and mental health services for adults, adolescents, and children. The facility offers initial assessment, intensive inpatient treatment, detoxification programs, and outpatient therapy.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Casper Clinic serves as an outreach center connecting military veterans to health care and counseling services, including making arrangements for bus travel to V.A. hospitals in Cheyenne or Sheridan. A number of other specialty clinics operate in Casper, addressing medical concerns around dermatology, allergies, and women's health care.

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Casper

Casper, city (1990 pop. 46,742), alt. 5,123 ft (1,561 m), seat of Natrona co., E central Wyo., on the North Platte River; inc. 1889. It is a rail, distribution, processing, and trade center in a farming, ranching, and mineral-rich area. An oil boomtown since the first well was tapped in 1890, it has many oil-affiliated industries. There is open-pit uranium mining nearby, and gas and coal production. The city has wool and livestock markets, meatpacking plants, varied manufacturing, and a growing tourist industry. At this fording place on the Oregon Trail the Mormons in 1847 established a ferry, which was in the 1850s superseded by Platte Bridge. The city was founded (1888) with the coming of the railroad and expanded with the discovery of oil at Salt Creek, followed by the Teapot Dome and Big Muddy finds. In 1948 wells in the Lost Soldier field of Sweetwater co. brought another boom. Nearby are the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds; the restored Old Fort Caspar Museum (a clerk's error accounts for the later spelling of the name); and Casper Mt. (c.8,000 ft/2,440 m high). Tourist attractions in the surrounding area include Hell's Half Acre, a spectacular eroded area; Independence Rock; and a petrified forest.

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Casper: Convention Facilities

Casper: Convention Facilities

The Casper Events Center was constructed on a hill at the north end of the city and its massive maroon roof is visible from practically all points in Casper. The arena is shaped like a horseshoe, with a 28,200 square foot main floor that can hold up to 154 exhibition booths. Concourse exhibit space encompasses 7,900 square feet, while meeting rooms add another 6,204 square feet of usable space. Sound and lighting systems can be configured for sporting events, concerts, trade shows and banquets.

The Central Wyoming Fairgrounds can accommodate trade shows, conferences, receptions, rodeos, and RV parking. A multi-purpose sports facility opened in 2000 and covers 76,875 square feet, while the Grandstand and Arena have seating capacity for 5,200.

Several local hotels offer meeting, convention, and conference space, including the Holiday Inn on the River, the Parkway Plaza Hotel & Convention Centre, and the Ramkota Hotel Casper.

Convention Information: Casper Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 992 N. Poplar St., Casper, WY 82601; telephone (307)234-5362; toll-free (800)852-1889; fax (307)261-9928; email visitors@casperwyoming.info

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Casper: Transportation

Casper: Transportation

Approaching the City

Natrona County International Airport (NCIA) is Wyoming's largest airport and is located at the geographic center of the state. Four regional carriers provide service through NCIA, including Delta, Sky West, United, and Northwest Airlines.

Casper's central location makes it a highway hub, with Interstate 25, U.S. Highways 20 and 87, and state highways 220, 254, and 20 all meeting within its city limits. Casper is served by the Greyhound bus company, which maintains a station in the Parkway Plaza Hotel.

Traveling in the City

While Casper is fitted to the meandering contours of the North Platte River, the streets are laid out on a straightforward north-south, east-west grid pattern. Numbered streets run east and west, while name streets run north and south for the most part, making navigation simpler.

In April of 2005, Casper inaugurated its new fixed route transit system, known as " The Bus." With 4 routes and 65 stops, The Bus will offer reduced fares to elderly and disabled patrons.

The 11-mile Platte River Parkway provides a safe and fast route for bike commuters to ride into downtown Casper.

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Casper: Geography and Climate

Casper: Geography and Climate

At almost a mile above sea level, Casper rests at the foot of Casper Mountain and follows the contours of the North Platte River. With the Laramie Mountain Range of the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Wyoming plains to the east, Casper has been uniquely situated between natural resources for energy and outdoor adventure exploration on the one hand and agricultural endeavors on the other.

Casper sits within the area characterized by the National Weather Service as the "comfort zone," with year-round low humidity moderating the cold of winter and the heat of summer. Casper averages 275 days of sunshine every year and experiences an average wind speed of 12.9 miles per hour. The city's location and climate make it a jumping-off point for outdoor adventures.

Area: 23.9 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 5,140 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 22.4° F; July, 70.8° F; annual average, 45.2° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 14.75 inches rainfall; 77 inches snowfall

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Casper: Municipal Government

Casper: Municipal Government

The City of Casper operates under a Council-Manager form of government; in staggered elections, the city's three wards each elect three representatives from the citizenry residing in that ward. All legislative authority resides within the nine-member council. The council in turn appoints a mayor and a vice president from among its own ranks; each of these officials serves for one year. A manager is hired by the city to coordinate municipal business and respond to citizen concerns.

Head Official: Guy V. Padgett, III (since 2005; current term expires December 2006)

Total Number of City Employees: 505 (2005)

City Information: City of Casper, 200 N. David, Casper, WY 82601; telephone (307)235-8400

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Casper: Introduction

Casper: Introduction

In the days of the Wild West and Manifest Destiny, all roads led to Casperthe city was sited at the nexus of a number of important trails of the time, including the Oregon Trail, the Pony Express route, the Mormon Trail, the Bozeman Trail, the California Trail, and the Bridger Trail. Today the nexus is more that of the past as represented by traditional agriculture coupled with the future of energy and conservation. Casper is the geographic heart of Wyoming and keeps the economy pulsing with oil and gas exploration, thriving livestock ranches, and a burgeoning tourist industry.

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