Lesson 408: Wind River Range

The Wind River Range in western Wyoming is the state’s largest mountain range, nearly one hundred miles from north to south. With dozens of massive peaks, it is also home to the widest country in the lower 48 states. Much of it is protected in wilderness, which we commemorate on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. On arriving, we visit ancient foothill sites where Shoshone Indians left examples of their art, historic locations of Indian battles, and scars of mines and ghost towns before plunging deep into the wilds of the Wind Rivers – on foot.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about human and physical geography around, Wind River Mountain Range, Wyoming.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places, & Environments: F, K

Discussion Prompts

  • David Yetman claims that no other country in the world has laws protecting the wilderness like the United States. What would some of the reasons that other countries do not lawfully protect their wilderness areas? Why is it a distinctively American concept? 
  • There are around a thousand lakes, most of which have fish around the Wind River Range. Which animals around there enjoy that? Would people also be able to enjoy the fish? Justify your answer.
  • In the video, David Yetman talked about what the gold miners and the Soshone people left behind. Which way of living were more aligned with the Wilderness Act of 1964? What is your opinion about it? Why?
  • The pretty flowers around the area seem to have more than just beauty. Which wildflowers and plants in your region are also edible with potential health benefits? Are they used more to sustain people or for health reasons? Justify your answers.

Lesson Activities

  • Imagine that you found people living in the land protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964. What might the people have that it is also not allowed on that land? Show your findings in a drawing/ illustration and/or words.
  • Wyoming is the tenth largest state by area, but it is also the least populous and least densely populated. Create a graph showing the nine other states that are larger in area and their population and a theory why Wyoming is the least populous one.
  • What could bring more fortune seekers to the Wind River Range area since gold mining is no longer a choice? Create a series of social media informercials enticing people to move to the Wind River Mountain Range.
  • Imagine what a day for a resident in the Wind River Range area looks like. Create a diary entry detailing what the resident does to survive: eat, drink, work, and entertainment.


  • densely
  • distinctively
  • glacier
  • habitation
  • populous
  • sustainability
  • tributary
  • undeveloped
  • untrammeled
  • wilderness


Lesson Plan