History of the North Platte River

Pioneers travelling west on the Oregon Trail followed the North Platte River valley.  Wagon ruts are still visible today around Casper.  Fort Caspar was constructed at a major river crossing on the Oregon, Mormon, Pioneer, California, Pony Express, and transcontinental telegraph corridor.

Casper was founded in 1888 with the arrival of the tracks of the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad.  Water being essential for survival in the arid west, the North Platte River was vital to the development of Casper.  Unfortunately, the river was not always cared for by residents and businesses.  Many used the river as a way to dispose of garbage and other wastes.

The 1948 US Public Health Service Report declared that the North Platte River From Casper to the Nebraska state line is "so grossly polluted with human and refinery wastes that it is doubtful if recovery can ever be obtained."  Something clearly had to be done.


1958  Refineries are no longer dumping their waste

1959  Casper's sewage plant begins primary treatment of sewage

1977  Casper's sewage plant begins secondary treatment of sewage

1981  Master planning for river parkway/trails system begins

1997  Pollution seep into river from landfill discovered

2000  Casper Area Comprehensive Land Use Plan says "The North Platte River will emerge as a key to Casper's identity" setting the tone for the importance of the river to Casper.

2003  Phase II Stormwater regulations in effect (non-point source water pollution)

2005  Amoco property remediation complete

2007  The Two Fly Foundation approaches the City of Casper regarding a litter cleanup of the river and its banks.

2011  The City of Casper creates a Platte River Revival river restoration Master Plan

2016 Construction on Phase I and II in the Morad Park area