Before Lander became a town, the area had already been the summer hunting grounds for numerous Native American tribes, seen a few rendezvous, and had become a freighting hub. Supplying goods for the miners in the South Pass area and goods for the cavalry and natives at Fort Washakie, the freight wagons rolled year-round. When the Lander townsite was plotted in 1880, the main road remained wide enough that a 20-hitch team could turn around. As more people settled in the area, Lander became an agricultural-based town. It was known throughout the state for its abundance of produce, hay, blooded horses, cattle, and sheep. But it was not all work for the settlers; the Wind River Mountains also beckoned. Lander, located at the edge of the southern half of the Shoshone National Forest, became an outfitting stop for alpinists, scientists, and others seeking adventure. Once word of the vast elk and deer herds and the abundance of trout in those high mountain lakes was out, hunters and fisherman came from all over. It also did not take long for Western adventure writers to highlight that Lander was a good place for tourists who wanted to experience the romance of the west through horseback riding, camping, and mountain adventures.
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