U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., made an appeal to senators' sense of history and pride in their American heritage to rally support for a proposed historic trails center in Casper.

During the mid-1800s, Casper was the only geographic location in the western United States where the Oregon, Mormon, California and Pony Express trails, as well as many American Indian trails, converged. A fork of the Bozeman Trail and the beginnings of the Bridger Trail also originated in Casper.Legislation creating the Historic Trails Center received unanimous approval from the U.S. House and is now being considered by U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas' Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation.

"The opportunity before us is a novel one," Thomas, R-Wyo., said at the hearing. "This public-private partnership has the potential to create more jobs, establish a new cultural destination for the Casper community and out-of-town visitors, and it will serve to highlight the unique convergence of America's pioneer spirit."

Cubin is seeking $5 million in matching federal funds to help build and operate the center.