CARES Act Fund to Help Pay for Capacity Expansions at State Parks and Historic Sites in Wyoming

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CHEYENNE –Governor Mark Gordon has announced that up to $ 6.5 million of the remaining CARES Act funds will be used to fund capacity expansion at state parks and historic sites in Wyoming. This will increase the opportunities for people to spend time out of state, boost tourism, and resolve overcrowding caused by COVID-19.

The funds will be used to provide 18% more overnight camping capacity to visitors and the traveling public, reflecting a significant increase in demand from Wyoming state parks in 2020. A portion of the funds will also be used to expand services. day-use equipment such as additional day-use areas, picnic shelters and parking. State parks saw a 36% increase in visits in 2020, resulting in more than 1.4 million additional visitors to state parks, exceeding capacity limits at most sites .

“Expanding outdoor recreation opportunities will benefit the state and provide an immediate return on investment,” Governor Gordon said. “The public appreciated that our parks remained open last year, providing a healthy option for relieving the stress of the pandemic. Strengthening our state park system is also important to Wyoming’s long-term economic health. “

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Wyoming state parks produce an annual economic impact of about $ 1.5 billion, according to a preliminary draft of an economic impact study from the University of Wyoming. The increase in attendance seen last year is expected to continue in 2021 based on this season’s camping bookings. State Parks Director Darin Westby said additional campgrounds and day-use expansion amenities will be added to the system quickly to provide additional opportunities for visitors this summer. These facilities may initially be temporary, but will continue to be improved as additional funds become available.

“We have an amazing team and they are enthusiastic and working very hard to deliver these additional campsites, developed to bring people out and recreate themselves to help achieve the agency’s mission to impact people. communities and improve lives, ”Westby said.

“As Wyoming continues to be a top outdoor destination for tourists, we are seeing campsites, accommodations and other amenities almost booked for the summer, especially in state parks. “said Diane Shober, executive director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism. “This is a great opportunity to meet the demand for summer travel while continuing to provide visitors and residents with a memorable outdoor adventure. “

For more information on state parks and historic sites in Wyoming, visit https://wyoparks.wyo.gov/index.php



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