Hello from out on the frontier, in the Old West, in Lander, WY. The U.S. Census Bureau actually classifies Wyoming as â€œfrontierâ€ (not even “rural!”)
Frontier means, â€œland outside the region of existing settlements.â€
Um, yep, that pretty much describes where I live and work.
In the early 20th Century, a famous American historian named Frederick Jackson Turner, used to argue that people were changed when they encountered the frontier.
He wrote papers about the frontier, saying, â€œUnlimited free land offers a psychological sense of unlimited opportunity, which in turn had many consequences, such as optimismâ€¦â€
I really like that statement, and like to think it’s true that those of us on the frontier tend to be optimistic.
There are only 500,000 people in all of Wyoming. There are more antelope than people in our state. Our biggest “city” has 50,000 people. My town of Lander, situated in the foothills of the Wind River Range, and home to the National Outdoor Leadership School, is home to fewer than 7,000 people.
In all directions we have huge expansive views of undeveloped, pristine country. In my own Fremont County, there are more than 40 peaks that stand taller than 13,000 feet, and even during peak summer months we have to share our trails with very few other people.
Every weekend is â€“ or could be â€“ a vacation. Will it be Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, the Red Desert, South Pass, Oregon Buttes, the Wind River Range, Sinks Canyon, Devils Tower or Flaming Gorge? It’s all within reach for a weekend getaway. And our evenings tend to be all ours, as well, given it’s a 10-minute walk, or a 2-minute drive to the office for most of us in Lander. There’s no time wasted in a commute that’s for sure.
We in Wyoming get made fun of once in a while because we’re sort of alone out here on the frontier. But I would rather be here than anywhere else in the world.
And because we’re content where we’re at, and must work hard to make it in an isolated and rugged land, we can take the ribbing.