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The Backyard

TRAVEL SAFELY. EXPLORE THE BACKYARD. See Wyoming like you've never seen before. And stay up-to-date on local COVID-19 travel restrictions and health and safety recommendations.

FREMONT TOYOTA PRESENTS: THE BACKYARD

The backyard has always been an exciting place to play. When we were little kids, my brother and I would spend hours in the tree fort that my dad built for us out back. We would play cowboys and Indians until someone got poked in the eye with a stick. We would pretend that the ground was made of lava, until someone fell off the roof of the fort and landed on mom’s tomato plants. And, inexplicably, we would collect a dozen or so of the neighborhood cats and shut them in the fort with us until they scratched our faces to ribbons.

Then, as now, the backyard is a wild, untamed realm of endless adventure. The difference? Gone is that tree fort, replaced instead with Bighorn Mountain Country. It goes without saying that the backyard is more exciting than ever before.

The latest project from our team at Sheridan County Travel & Tourism, debuting this summer as a YouTube exclusive streaming series, is simply titled The Backyard. We want to show everyone in our community, and beyond the borders of Wyoming, what makes the great outdoors special, and why the Bighorns are the ultimate playground for those who choose to go outside and play. In this wild time of social distancing, distrust, and disbelief, we believe that the mountains can bring us closer together. There is no place in the world more authentic. And at time when people cannot or will not get on planes, we want to encourage people from across Wyoming and across the nation to set out for the greatest road trip destination in America.

Could I truly, possibly believe that the Bighorn Mountains present the best road tripping in the country? Yeah, I do. And I believe that you will agree with me. Just wait until you see our first two episodes.

NEW EPISODES EACH WEEK.

We intend to present some of our backyard’s most epic hikes, legendary attractions, national historic landmarks, and much more. Along the way, we will kayak pristine rivers, paraglide from perilous peaks, suss out outlaw history, and stargaze at the brightest night skies in America. Yeah, there is a metaphor tucked in there somewhere. We know that the clouds are going to break on 2020.

Each episode will focus on a different adventure. We will backpack into uncharted territory in the Bighorn National Forest, but we will also share some of the most iconic locations in the region, and showcase what makes them so popular or special. We will take a step back into history and experience Ernest Hemingway’s Wyoming, and we will delve deep into centuries of Indian storytelling. We’ll dive headlong into local craft culture, and touch the heart of Sheridan’s creative community.

We hope to inspire you to explore the backyard this year. There has never been a better time to step outside and find yourself lost in someplace new. To lay fresh eyes on the same old same old. To encourage someone to get outside with you and explore. We hope that people will realize that deep down, they have always been a mountain biker, a trail runner, a hiker, a hunter, an angler, or a backpacker. If our stories, and the stories of the people in our community, can help break down the barriers to entry for folks who have never explored the mountains before, we will be thrilled.

STAY SAFE. STAY HEALTHY.

We also know that it has never been more important to know that you will be safe when you travel. While Wyoming is the perfect place for socially-distanced escapes, we will do what we can to keep you informed, and up to date, on any COVID-19 related news and information, travel rules or restrictions, or local health and safety messages. We believe that the road to recovery from this pandemic begins right here in The Backyard, so you can count on us to provide you with information that matters. We hope that you will stay safe, and that our local businesses will continue to benefit by welcoming you to our community.

ENJOY NATURAL PLACES RESPONSIBILITY

Sheridan County Travel & Tourism, the Wyoming Office of Tourism, the US Forest Service, Sheridan County, and all our local communities hope you have a wonderful experience when you explore Wyoming. We want to encourage you to WY Responsibly, and wish to share these great tips. For more information, please visit https://travelwyoming.com/wy-responsibly

Wyoming’s wide-open spaces make for epic camping and hiking. But before you set out, here are a few things to know.

Avoid overcrowding: Outdoor recreation is more popular than ever right now, causing overcrowding in some of Wyoming’s most beautiful areas. So what do you do if you show up to a trail and the parking lot is packed? Instead of joining the crowd, know what other options are around. Be ready to seek different trails and lesser-known experiences. We have dozens of suggestions on our website.

Keep it clean: Almost half of Wyoming’s 98,000 square miles is publicly owned, including many undeveloped areas that have no bathrooms or garbage facilities. It is up to all of us to do our part in keeping these spaces clean. Take all trash with you when you leave, don’t burn glass and metal in your campfire and bury human waste at least 100 feet from water sources.

Be fire aware: Help prevent human-caused fires by following basic best practices. Respect fire bans in place, choose a campsite with a pre-existing fire ring whenever possible and never leave your fire unattended. Make sure you have plenty of water available to put out your fire; you’ll need to completely extinguish it at night and before you leave camp. And remember, there are strict guidelines on fires in the Cloud Peak Wilderness.

Stick to the trails: Ride, hike or drive only on designated trails to help reduce impacts and protect wildlife. Planning to do some off-roading? The state of Wyoming requires a permit to use trails and roads that are part of Wyoming’s State ORV program. You can find more information on trail etiquette in Wyoming here.

Respect Local History: Tread lightly and take only photographs with you when you leave. You will find ancient historic and ceremonial sites, Indian Wars Battle Sites, and many other iconic locations on your travels our here. Sites like the Medicine Wheel are still in use by native peoples; pictograph and rock art sites are extremely fragile, and should not be touched, defaced, or otherwise disturbed. We appreciate all of the wonderful folks who come to Wyoming to explore responsibly.

WILDERNESS REGULATIONS

Note that professional filming is not allowed within the Cloud Peak Wilderness, and therefore, all of the filming for The Backyard takes place outside of the wilderness boundary, in the Bighorn National Forest. Please remember to practice good leave no trace principals, and leave the wilderness, as well as the forest, in the same condition you found it, so that those who come next may experience it the same way you did.

Click here for more information on wilderness regulations via the US Forest Service.

THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS AND SPONSORS.

We have some incredible partners helping us out on this journey. First and foremost, our title sponsor, Fremont Toyota – Fremont has been a major supporter of events and activities in this community for many years, and their team understands that team knows what it means to stand up and offer support when times are tough.

Thank you to the Sheridan County Travel & Tourism Board of Commissioners. Their enthusiastic support, spirit of volunteerism, and their leadership have been integral to the success of this program.

None of this would be possible without the support of the Forest Service, and our great team at the Tongue Ranger District; they have served as an outstanding partner and fantastic resource throughout production. The Bighorn National Forest consists of over 1.1 million acres. Created as a US Forest Reserve in 1897, it is one of the oldest government-protected forest lands in the U.S. The forest is well east of the continental divide and extends from the Montana border for a distance of 80 miles (130 km) along the spine of the Bighorn Mountains, an outlying mountain range separated from the rest of the Rocky Mountains by Bighorn Basin. Elevations range from 5,000 feet along the sagebrush and grass-covered lowlands at the foot of the mountains, to 13,189 feet on top of Cloud Peak, the highest point in the Bighorn Mountains. The forest is named after the Bighorn River, which is partially fed by streams found in the forest. Streams in the range are fed primarily by snowmelt and snowmelt mixed with driving rainfall

Within the forest is the Cloud Peak Wilderness area in which no motorized or mechanical equipment is allowed. The only access into the 189,000-acre wilderness is on foot or horseback. There are 1,500 miles of trails in the forest, along with 32 improved campgrounds, lodges, and three scenic vehicular byways. U.S. Route 14 in Wyoming, also known as the Bighorn Scenic Byway, crosses the middle of the 30-mile wide forest. The Medicine Wheel Passage (U.S. Highway 14A) crosses in the north passing the Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark, while the Cloud Peak Skyway (U.S. Route 16) crosses the highest pass in the forest (Powder River Pass 9,677 ft/ 2,950 m) and is located in the southern section of the forest.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

Find our latest COVID-19 travel resources click here.

For WYLD WEST: The Podcast about the Icons and Outlaws of Sheridan County, click here.

Click here to visit our YouTube channel where you will find exclusive episodes of THE BACKYARD, as well as all of our short films and video projects.

Click through each episode below, and also find photos, stories, maps, guides, and more.

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