Governor Gordon Aims to Expand Outdoor Opportunities and Address Overcrowding at Wyoming State Parks

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced Thursday that up to $6.5 million of remaining CARES Act funds will be used to fund capacity expansion at Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites. The move will expand opportunities for people to spend time outside in the state, boost tourism and address overcrowding caused by COVID-19.

According to a media release issued by the Governor’s Office,  the funds will be utilized to provide 18 percent more overnight camping capacity to visitors and the traveling public, reflecting a significant increase in demand Wyoming State Parks saw in 2020. A portion of the funds will also be used to expand day-use amenities such as additional day use areas, picnic shelters, and parking. State Parks saw a 36 percent increase in visitation in 2020, which translated to more than 1.4 million additional visitors to state parks, exceeding capacity limits at most sites. 

Gordon said expanding outdoor recreation opportunities will benefit the state, and will provide an immediate return on investment and the public appreciated the fact that state parks remained open last year, providing a healthy option to relieve the stress of the pandemic. Gordon added that strengthening our state park system is important to Wyoming’s long-term economic health as well.

According to a preliminary draft of an economic impact study by the University of Wyoming, Wyoming State Parks produce an annual economic impact of approximately $1.5 billion. The increase in visitation seen last year is expected to continue this year based on this season’s campsite reservation bookings.

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