The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Albany County, Wyoming
Albany County is a county in the U. S. state of Wyoming. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 36,299, its county seat is the site of the University of Wyoming. Its south border lies on the northern Colorado state line. Albany County comprises WY Micropolitan Statistical Area. Albany County was organized in 1868 of territory annexed from Laramie County in Dakota Territory, which at the time had jurisdiction over part of modern-day Wyoming, it became a county in Wyoming Territory when that territory's government was formally organized on May 19, 1869. Charles D. Bradley, a member of the legislature of the Dakota Territory named the county for Albany, New York, the capital of his native state. In 1875, the Wyoming Territorial legislature authorized portions of Albany County to be annexed to create Crook and Johnson counties, in 1888 land was taken from Albany County for the creation of Converse County. Further adjustments were made to the county's boundary in 1911 and 1955. According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,309 square miles, of which 4,274 square miles is land and 35 square miles is water.
At the 2000 United States Census, there were 32,014 people, 13,269 households and 7,006 families in the county. The population density was 8 per square mile. There were 15,215 housing units at an average density of 4 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 91.32% White, 1.11% Black or African American, 0.95% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.65% from other races, 2.22% from two or more races. 7.49% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 24.4 % were of 11.1 % English, 10.2 % Irish and 6.1 % American ancestry. There were 13,269 households of which 23.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 47.2% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84. The county population contained 18.4% of the population under the age of 18, 28.2% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, 8.3% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 106.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.4 males. The median household income was $28,790 and the median family income was $44,334. Males had a median income of $31,087 compared with $22,061 for females; the per capita income for the county was $16,706. About 10.8% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under the age of 18 and 8.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line. As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 36,299 people, 15,691 households, 7,430 families in the county; the population density was 8.5 inhabitants per square mile. There were 17,939 housing units at an average density of 4.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 90.1% white, 2.8% Asian, 1.2% black or African American, 0.7% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 2.4% from other races, 2.7% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 8.8% of the population.
In terms of ancestry, 31.2% were German, 15.3% were Irish, 12.5% were English, 4.4% were American. Of the 15,691 households, 21.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 52.6% were non-families, 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.84. The median age was 26.8 years. The median income for a household in the county was $42,890 and the median income for a family was $70,054. Males had a median income of $43,484 versus $33,512 for females; the per capita income for the county was $25,622. About 7.2% of families and 21.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over. Laramie Rock River Owing to the presence of a substantial student body at the University of Wyoming, Albany County voters have selected the Democratic Party candidate in national elections more than the state as a whole.
Since 1892 the county has selected the Republican Party candidate in 63% of national elections. National Register of Historic Places listings in Albany County, Wyoming
Medicine Bow – Routt National Forest
Medicine Bow – Routt National Forest is the official title to a U. S. Forest Service managed area extending over 2,222,313 acres in the states of Wyoming and Colorado, United States. What were once three separate areas, Medicine Bow National Forest, Routt National Forest and Thunder Basin National Grassland were administratively combined in 1995 due to similarity of the resources, proximity to each other and for administrative purposes; the Medicine Bow National Forest section is located in southeastern Wyoming and was created as a forest reserve in 1902. Named after the Native American powwows in which numerous tribes would congregate here in search of mountain mahogany, an excellent wood for the manufacturing of bows, to perform rituals hoped to cure diseases and thus make "good medicine". Areas of interest include the Snowy Range where the highest peak is Medicine Bow Peak at 12,013 feet and is visible from Snowy Range Pass, 10,847 ft, on Wyoming highway 130; the Encampment River, Huston Park, Savage Run and Platte River Wildernesses are all located within the Medicine Bow portion of the National Forest.
Vedauwoo is located north of Interstate 80 and consists of numerous rock outcroppings popular with rock climbers. In descending order of land area the forest is located in Carbon, Converse and Platte counties. There are local ranger district offices located in Laramie and Douglas. Routt National Forest lands are located in northwestern Colorado; the Steamboat Ski Resort is located on Mount Werner. The forest is named after the first Governor of Colorado, it was established in 1905 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The forest encompasses 1,126,346 acres; the Continental Divide splits the forest in half, with the east part drained by the North Platte River and the west drained by the Yampa River. Routt National Forest contains seven wilderness areas or within it. Within Routt are the Mount Zirkel and the Sarvis Creek Wildernesses. Lying within neighboring forests but extending into Routt are the Flat Tops, Never Summer, Platte River, Rawah Wildernesses. In descending order of land area the forest is located in Routt, Rio Blanco, Grand and Garfield counties.
There are local ranger district offices located in Steamboat Springs and Yampa. Thunder Basin National Grassland is located in northeastern Wyoming and consists of lands leased to cattle interests. In descending order of land area the grassland is located in Weston, Campbell and Crook counties. There are local ranger district offices located in Douglas; the forest headquarters is in Wyoming. Bankey, V. S. J. Soulliere, M. I. Toth, eds.. Mineral resource potential and geology of the Routt National Forest and the Middle Park Ranger District of the Arapaho National Forest, Colorado. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Department of the Interior, U. S. Geological Survey. Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is a principal agency of the U. S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy; the Census Bureau is part of the U. S. Department of Commerce and its director is appointed by the President of the United States; the Census Bureau's primary mission is conducting the U. S. Census every ten years, which allocates the seats of the U. S. House of Representatives to the states based on their population; the Bureau's various censuses and surveys help allocate over $400 billion in federal funds every year and it helps states, local communities, businesses make informed decisions. The information provided by the census informs decisions on where to build and maintain schools, transportation infrastructure, police and fire departments. In addition to the decennial census, the Census Bureau continually conducts dozens of other censuses and surveys, including the American Community Survey, the U. S. Economic Census, the Current Population Survey.
Furthermore and foreign trade indicators released by the federal government contain data produced by the Census Bureau. Article One of the United States Constitution directs the population be enumerated at least once every ten years and the resulting counts used to set the number of members from each state in the House of Representatives and, by extension, in the Electoral College; the Census Bureau now conducts a full population count every 10 years in years ending with a zero and uses the term "decennial" to describe the operation. Between censuses, the Census Bureau makes population projections. In addition, Census data directly affects how more than $400 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education and more; the Census Bureau is mandated with fulfilling these obligations: the collecting of statistics about the nation, its people, economy. The Census Bureau's legal authority is codified in Title 13 of the United States Code.
The Census Bureau conducts surveys on behalf of various federal government and local government agencies on topics such as employment, health, consumer expenditures, housing. Within the bureau, these are known as "demographic surveys" and are conducted perpetually between and during decennial population counts; the Census Bureau conducts economic surveys of manufacturing, retail and other establishments and of domestic governments. Between 1790 and 1840, the census was taken by marshals of the judicial districts; the Census Act of 1840 established a central office. Several acts followed that revised and authorized new censuses at the 10-year intervals. In 1902, the temporary Census Office was moved under the Department of Interior, in 1903 it was renamed the Census Bureau under the new Department of Commerce and Labor; the department was intended to consolidate overlapping statistical agencies, but Census Bureau officials were hindered by their subordinate role in the department. An act in 1920 changed the date and authorized manufacturing censuses every two years and agriculture censuses every 10 years.
In 1929, a bill was passed mandating the House of Representatives be reapportioned based on the results of the 1930 Census. In 1954, various acts were codified into Title 13 of the US Code. By law, the Census Bureau must count everyone and submit state population totals to the U. S. President by December 31 of any year ending in a zero. States within the Union receive the results in the spring of the following year; the United States Census Bureau defines four statistical regions, with nine divisions. The Census Bureau regions are "widely used...for data collection and analysis". The Census Bureau definition is pervasive. Regional divisions used by the United States Census Bureau: Region 1: Northeast Division 1: New England Division 2: Mid-Atlantic Region 2: Midwest Division 3: East North Central Division 4: West North Central Region 3: South Division 5: South Atlantic Division 6: East South Central Division 7: West South Central Region 4: West Division 8: Mountain Division 9: Pacific Many federal, state and tribal governments use census data to: Decide the location of new housing and public facilities, Examine the demographic characteristics of communities and the US, Plan transportation systems and roadways, Determine quotas and creation of police and fire precincts, Create localized areas for elections, utilities, etc.
Gathers population information every 10 years The United States Census Bureau is committed to confidentiality, guarantees non-disclosure of any addresses or personal information related to individuals or establishments. Title 13 of the U. S. Code establishes penalties for the disclosure of this information. All Census employees must sign an affidavit of non-disclosure prior to employment; the Bureau cannot share responses, addresses or personal information with anyone including United States or foreign government
Wind River Indian Reservation
The Wind River Indian Reservation is located in the central-western portion of the U. S. state of Wyoming, where Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Native American tribes live. Stretching 60 miles east to west and 50 miles north to south, the Indian reservation is located in the Wind River Basin and includes portions of the Wind River Mountain Range, Owl Creek Mountains, the Absaroka Mountains; the total land area is ~2.2 million acres, the land and water area is 3,532.010 sq mi. The Wind River Indian Reservation is the seventh-largest Indian reservation in the United States by area, the fifth-largest American Indian reservation by population; the reservation constitutes just over one-third of Fremont County and over one-fifth of Hot Springs County. The 2000 census reported the population of Fremont County as 40,237 inhabitants. According to the 2010 census, only 26,490 people now live on the Reservation, with about 15,000 of the residents being non-Indians on ceded lands and the town of Riverton.
Tribal headquarters are located at Fort Washakie. The Shoshone Rose Casino and the Wind River Hotel and Casino, Little Wind Casino, 789 Smoke Shop & Casino are the only casinos in Wyoming; the Shoshone have the longest prehistory in the area. Archaeologists have found evidence that unique aspects of the Tukudika Mountain Shoshone or Sheepeater material culture such as soapstone bowls were in use in this region from the early 1800s going back 1,000 to 3,000 years or more. People descended from the Mountain Shoshone band continue to live on the Wind River Indian Reservation; the Dinwoody petroglyph style is indigenous to central Wyoming including the Wind River Basin and Bighorn Basin. Scholars believe that the Dinwoody petroglyphs most represent the work of ancestral Tukudika or Mountain Shoshone Sheepeaters; this is because some of the figures at Torrey Lake Petroglyph District and Legend Rock correspond to characters in Shoshone folklore, such as Pa waip, a water spirit woman. Today's Wind River Indian Reservation is located at the historical boundary region between the Great Basin culture of the Shoshone and the Great Plains tribal cultures.
In recent centuries, the area was used for raiding. After 1800, the historical record notes the presence of the Shoshone, as well as the Crow and Arapaho, Blackfeet and Lakota in the Wind River Basin; these latter tribes came to the area due to geopolitical forces, as well as for food resources: Trapper records after 1800 describe huge herds of tens of thousands of stampeding bison in the Wind River Basin, raising massive clouds of dust on the horizon. The Shoshone controlled much of what is now western Wyoming in 1700s; this is because they were the first of the northern tribes to secure the horse from the Spanish and traders in the southwest. This dominance declined as other tribes like the Blackfeet acquired the horse and staged counter-raids. In the 1820s, the Shoshone started to regain power by trading for firearms in the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous Fur Trade in the Green River Basin, just over the Wind River Range from today's Wind River Indian Reservation; the Shoshones could once again project their power east from the Snake River and Green River Valley to hunt buffalo on the plains.
They needed to hunt farther east, because the fur trade started to wipe out bison in the Green River Basin. In the 1830s and 1840s they are recorded as raiding in the Platte River, Powder River Basin, the Laramie Plains; the Shoshone used the Wind River Basin as winter range or as a route to hunting grounds in the Sweetwater, Bighorn Basin, Bighorn Mountains, or Powder River Basin. Coming from the other direction, the post-1600s westward migration of Siouan and Algonquian-speaking brought new people onto the plains and traditional Shoshone territory of middle Rocky Mountains; the earliest of these midwestern, Missouri River, Great Lakes tribes to migrate to the Great Plains include the Crow and Arapaho. These tribes were located on the Great Plains farther north and east of the Wind River area; the powerful and numerous Lakota were the last to push west in response to American expansion, bumping up against the earlier-migrating tribes, moving farther west into the Rocky Mountains. By the mid-1800s, all of these tribes would make incursions into the now-contested Wind River valley.
Shoshone place names include dozens of names in the Bighorn Basin, demonstrating a detailed knowledge of lands further east than the Wind River Basin as part of traditional Shoshone territory. The Arapaho were familiar with the Wind River Basin, referring to Wind River/Bighorn River as Hotee Niicie, meaning "mountain sheep river", in reference to the numerous herds of the species in the area. By the middle 1800s the Crow were dominant in the Wind River Valley and Absaroka Range, using the area as winter range, fighting with Shoshones who came into the area. Crow Chief Arapooish mentioned the Wind River Valley as a preferred wintering ground with salt bush and cottonwood bark for horse forage in a speech recorded in the 1830s and published in Washington Irving's Adventures of Captain Bonneville. Meanwhile and his people avoided the Wind River Valley in the 1850s, preferring to hunt away from the emigrant trails and the Crow in places like Henry's Fork and Yellowstone; the Crow dominance in the Wind River Valley, though secured as official Crow Territory under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 ended when Chief Washakie defeated a Crow chief in one-on-one fight at Crowheart Butte, sometime in the late 1850s or early 1860s.
Washakie opted to challenge the Crow because the emigrant trails and
U.S. Route 20
U. S. Highway 20 is an east–west United States highway that stretches from the Pacific Northwest all the way to New England; the "0" in its route number indicates. Spanning 3,365 miles, it is the longest road in the United States, from Newport, Oregon to Boston, the route is parallel to that of the newer Interstate 90, in turn the longest Interstate Highway in the U. S. There is a discontinuity in the official designation of US 20 through Yellowstone National Park, with unnumbered roads used to traverse the park, it and US 30 break the general U. S. Route numbering rules in Oregon, since US 30 starts north of US 20 and runs parallel to the north throughout the state; the two run continue in the correct positioning near Caldwell, Idaho. This is. US 20 ended at the eastern entrance of Yellowstone Park; the highway's eastern terminus is in Boston, Massachusetts, at Kenmore Square, where it meets Route 2. Its western terminus is in Newport, Oregon, at an intersection with US 101, within a mile of the Pacific Ocean.
The highway passes through the following states: US 20 begins at an intersection with US 101 in Newport and runs eastward towards Idaho. On the way it goes over the Central Oregon Coast Range, through several Willamette Valley cities including Corvallis and Albany, climbs the Cascade Mountains over Santiam Pass, goes through Bend, traverses the Oregon High Desert passing through Burns, it overlaps with US 26 in Vale, the two roads continue concurrently to the Idaho border. US 20 crosses into Idaho from Oregon northwest of Parma, it joins US 95 through Parma. US 20/US 26 leaves US 95 southeast of Parma and runs to Caldwell where US 20/US 26 joins with I-84 and US 30 for a short time; these four highways parallel each other to Boise where US 20/US 26 runs through downtown before joining with I-84 and US 30 again to Mountain Home, where it departs at exit 95 to head east, past Rattlesnake Station, Anderson Ranch Dam road, cresting at Cat Creek summit at 5,527 feet above mean sea level. It continues into and across Camas County through Fairfield to Timmerman Junction, the intersection in Blaine County with State Highway 75, the route to Sun Valley, Galena Summit, Stanley.
US 20 continues east through Picabo and Carey, joined with US 26 and US 93, to Craters of the Moon and Arco, where US 93 splits off and turns north-northwest to climb the Big Lost River valley. US 20/US 26 continues on through the Idaho National Laboratory, where the highways split just west of Atomic City. US 20 climbs through the communities of St. Anthony and Island Park, crosses the Continental Divide at Targhee Pass at 7,072 feet, entering Montana west of West Yellowstone. In the state of Montana, US 20 runs for less than 10 miles, it runs from the Idaho state line to West Yellowstone, the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park. US 20 is known as the Targhee Pass Highway in Montana. In the state of Wyoming, the eastern segment of US 20 starts at the eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park along with the western termini of US 14 and US 16; these three routes run east to Greybull, where US 14 continues US 16/US 20 turns south. US 20 joins US 26 in Shoshoni. In Casper it joins I-25 and US 87.
These four routes stay combined to Orin. At its intersection with I-25, US 18 begins. US 18 and US 20 are concurrent from Orin to Lusk. US 18 separates US 20 runs east into Nebraska. In the state of Nebraska, US 20 runs from west of Harrison to South Sioux City on the Missouri River. Portions overlap US 385, US 83, US 183, US 275, I-129, US 75. US 20 enters Iowa at Sioux City via the Missouri River crossing with I-129 and US 75. After skirting the southeast side of Sioux City as a freeway with US 75, US 20 continues east as an expressway to Moville. From Moville through north of Early at the junction with U. S. Route 71 and Iowa Highway 471, US 20 was reconstructed from a rural two-lane highway to a four-lane road; this segment re-opened October 19, 2018 and made it so that US 20 is a continuous four-lane highway during its entire time in Iowa. Passing north of Early and Sac City, where it has another interchange with the realigned U. S. Route 71 passing to the south of Fort Dodge and Webster City before intersecting I-35 near Williams.
A new segment of freeway between US 65 south of Iowa Falls and Iowa Highway 14 opened in 2003 creating a continuous four-lane route from Moorland to Dubuque. The new segment shaved 16 miles off US 20's length in Iowa. In the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area, the segment of US 20 overlapped by the Avenue of the Saints, designated as Iowa Highway 27. US 20 passes Independence and Dyersville before reaching Dubuque. At Dubuque, US 20 crosses into Illinois over the Julien Dubuque Bridge. In the state of Illinois, US 20 begins in East Dubuque, following southeastward along the Mississippi River, continues into the hilly Driftless Area of northwest Illinois through Galena and Elizabeth; the highway transitions eastward from the Driftless Area to the Interior Plains near Stockton. The road continues as a bypass north of Freeport, runs as a freeway along the southern fringe of Rockford. From Rockford to Chicago, Illinois, US 20 is a mixture of four-lan
The Platte River is a major river in the state of Nebraska and is about 310 mi long. Measured to its farthest source via its tributary the North Platte River, it flows for over 1,050 miles; the Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which itself is a tributary of the Mississippi River which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The Platte over most of its length is a muddy, shallow, meandering stream with a swampy bottom and many islands—a braided stream; these characteristics made it too difficult for canoe travel, it was never used as a major navigation route by European-American trappers or explorers. The Platte is one of the most significant tributary systems in the watershed of the Missouri, draining a large portion of the central Great Plains in Nebraska and the eastern Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming; the river valley played an important role in the westward expansion of the United States, providing the route for several major emigrant trails, including the Oregon, California and Bozeman trails.
The first Europeans to see the Platte were French explorers and fur trappers about 1714. This expression is close to the French words "rivière plate", the probable origin of the name Platte River; the Platte River is formed in western Nebraska east of the city of North Platte, Nebraska by the confluence of the North Platte and the South Platte Rivers, which both arise from snowmelt in the eastern Rockies east of the Continental Divide. In central north Colorado is the North Park valley, ringed by mountains of 12,000 feet height; the head of the North Platte River is all of Jackson County. The nearest Colorado town is the county seat; the rugged Rocky Mountains Continental Divide surrounding Jackson County have at least twelve peaks over 11,000 feet in height. From Jackson County, the North Platte flows north about 200 miles out of the Routt National Forest and North Park near what is now Walden to Casper, Wyoming. Shortly after passing Casper, the North Platte turns to the east-southeast and flows about 350 miles to the city of North Platte, Nebraska.
In Colorado and Wyoming, the North Platte is narrower and much swifter flowing than it is in Nebraska, where it becomes a slow flowing, shallow braided stream. The North Platte River has been dammed about eight times for water storage and irrigation purposes in Wyoming and Nebraska as it flows to its confluence with the South Platte River; the upper reaches of the river in the Rockies in Colorado and Wyoming are popular for recreation rafting and lure and fly fishing for rainbow, cutthroat trout and other sport fish. In western Nebraska, the banks and riverbed of the North Platte provide a green oasis amid an otherwise semi-arid region of North America. Today, by the time the North Platte reaches Paxton, Nebraska it is much smaller due to the extensive water taken from it for irrigation; the North Platte River was up to a mile wide in many places, as evinced by the old streambed and historic written records. The South Platte River drainage includes about 28,000 square miles in the north east corner of Colorado, parts of southeastern Wyoming in the vicinity of the city of Cheyenne and a small part of the southwest corner of Nebraska.
The South Platte drains a large part of the Front Range mountains east of the continental divide. The part of the river labeled the South Platte is formed in Park County, located southwest of Denver, in the South Park grassland basin and mountains east of the continental divide, it is formed by the confluence of the South Fork South Platte River and Middle Fork South Platte River 15 miles southeast of Fairplay, Colorado. After the South and Middle fork join, the South Platte flows east-southeast till it exits Elevenmile Reservoir. From Greeley, the South Platte turns east and flows about 200 miles to its confluence with the North Platte River near the city of North Platte, Nebraska; the South Platte River has been dammed about 20 times for water storage, drinking water and irrigation purposes in Colorado as it flows to its confluence with the North Platte River. The total number of dams in the South Platte drainage may exceed 1,000 as nearly all major streams have at least one dam on them; the South Platte River serves as the principal source of water for arid eastern Colorado.
The South Platte River valley provided a major emigration path to Denver. The wagon trails followed the south side of the Platte/North Platte River. Wagon trains were ferried or waded in low water years across the swampy-bottomed South Platte River in several places to stay on the south side of the North Platte River where the trails were located. Miners who went on to Denver followed the South Platte River trail into Colorado. After the North Platte and the South Platte rivers join to form the Platte River, over most of its length it is a muddy, shallow, meandering stream with a swampy bottom and many islands—a braided stream, its muddy water, many shallow channels and islands and ever-changing mud bars made it too difficult for canoe travel. The Platte flows in a large arc, east-southeast to near Fort Kearny and east-northeast, across Nebraska south of Grand I