DescriptionThunder Basin National Grassland is in Campbell, Converse, Crook, Niobrara and Weston counties. Covering 1,800,339 acres, the national grassland was once a dust bowl. Settlers from the East, familiar only with the homesteading methods for a humid climate, met with disaster when they tried to establish farms in Wyoming's semiarid plains. Poor soil and recurrent droughts foiled attempts to cultivate the land, which soon deteriorated into dust bowls.
The grassland serves as an example of the regenerative use of land deemed unsuitable for cultivation. Sheep and cattle graze on the grassland's vast acreage, which also supports one of the world's largest herds of pronghorns. The Bozeman and Texas trails traverse a portion of the grassland.
The grassland lies within the Powder River Basin and contains a wealth of natural resources for energy development, including oil, gas and coal. The Black Thunder Mine, 9 miles from SR 59 on east SR 450, is one of the largest coal mines in the country. It operates on the grassland under a special state permit with forest service consent and produces more than 30 million tons of coal per year. For further information phone (307) 358-4690.