Edness K. Wilkins State Park
6 miles east of Casper off I-25, exit 182

From Rock Quarry to Beautiful State Park
Edness K. Wilkins State Park is a serene day-use park where families, nature lovers and those looking for solitude can enjoy the huge old cottonwoods as they cast reflections on the historic North Platte River and lend shade to visitors. A pond, with its sandy beach, is an oasis in the summer months and the North Platte River provides a natural habitat for a variety of wildlife, and for fishing, canoeing and rafting.

The park is named after Edness Kimball Wilkins, twenty-five year Wyoming legislator and area resident who died in 1980 at the age of 84. In 1981 the land was purchased and almost entirely funded with General Fund monies. The purchase price was approximately $380,000 and the total state investment through 1993 was $1.3 million
Edness K. Wilkins State Park, containing 315 acres, was once nothing but a rock quarry. However, since master planning began in 1982, the area has taken on a massive transformation. Initial efforts focused on the installation of a road system and parking areas. Plantings, seeding and pruning improved the vegetation in the area. Barriers, fencing and signage allowed for continued use of designated roads while certain areas returned to their natural state. Like the master potter with a lump of unworked clay, the de- signers. planners and operators combined their energies to provide citizens with one of the most attractive small parks in the Wyoming state park system.

Today a visitor can utilize picnic tables, grills, group shelters, playgrounds and a launch- ing ramp for canoes or rafts. The handicapped accessible fishing pier, the only one like it in the state, has become one of the finest amenities provided to visitors. An additional nearly three miles of handicapped accessible hard-surfaced paths provide visitors with an opportunity to view some of the finest wildlife in the area. Anglers can try their fishing luck in the North Platte River and swimmers can take a refreshing dip at the park swimming area.

This park is a gem for birdwatchers where they can add to their life lists. The park contains several different habitats: it offers a river, a cottonwood grove and open areas. Therefore, many bird varieties are drawn to the park year round.

In a cooperative effort with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, a variety of nesting ponds and wildlife viewing blinds have been developed in conjunction with the Wyoming Wildlife Worth the Watching program. A riparian habitat area for water-type birds has been included.

The local chapter of the National Audubon Society has identified over 50 different kinds of nesting birds and a list of over 200 different species of smaller birds. It is possible to see yellow billed cuckoos, cormorants, bald eagles, golden eagles, sharp shinned hawks and up to 16 species of ducks.

As you walk along the paths through the park, notice the many bird houses placed on trees at strategic heights to attract specific birds. Patient bird watchers may be rewarded with sightings of birds from both the eastern and western areas of the United States.

Courtesy of Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites

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