Wyoming Arts Council

Guided tours, costumed interpretation and a book signing mark Bozeman Trail anniversary

From a SPCR press release:

This year marks 150 years since the Bozeman Trail was first used for a cattle drive, an event that changed the landscape and way-of-life for those who called it home prior to the euro expansion westward.  To mark this occasion, Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site, one of the forts along the Bozeman Trail, will offer guided tours of newly-documented stone circles near Pilot Hill and along Buffalo Creek (Little Piney Creek) on June 21. Tours will be led by professionals in archeology and ethnobotany.

“The Fort Phil Kearny narrative is about so much more than the fort,” says Superintendent Misty Stoll.  “Recognizing, first and foremost, that this place was already home to so many is the appropriate way to start a conversation on what the site meant in 1866 when the military arrived.”  Earlier this season, the Sheridan/Johnson County Archaeological Society conducted an archaeological survey of stone circles located on Fort Phil Kearny State Historic land.  Fifty-one features were identified, many of them resembling “tipi rings”.  Reddened “fire rock” was observed at many of the rings, evidence of hearths used to heat the dwellings and for cooking.  Not far from the rings is a documented buffalo jump, though it is not known if there is an association of the rings with the buffalo jump. Stoll adds that, as the site moves toward interpreting the stone features, she will continue to build a team of appropriate professionals and tribal representatives to ensure that the features are managed appropriately.  Entrance to this area will be by guided tour only.

On June 21, Stone Circle tours will launch at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.. Buffalo Creek tours will launch at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m..  Both will depart from the Fort Phil Kearny Interpretive Center.   Kris Korfanta will lead the Buffalo Creek Tours and will inform visitors on the importance and origin of plant life found along the Little Piney (Buffalo) Creek.  The day will also include costumed interpretation in the fort area, and an appearance and book signing by Jackie Canterbury and Paul Johnsgard, co-authors of Birds and Birding in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains Region.

Admission to the fort grounds is free that day. Guided tours cost $10 for one tour or $15 for both tours per person for adults 18 and up. This is the first time the public has been offered access to this part of the fort property.

Fort Phil Kearny State History Site is open daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is located at 528 Wagon Box Rd. in Banner, Wyoming.  For more information, call (307) 684-7629 or email the superintendent at misty.stoll@wyo.gov.

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