Snowest Magazine has ranked the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail the fifth best trail in the West. Wyoming State Trails Program’s Ron McKinney says the reason the Continental Divide Trail is so popular is that it offers 490 miles of very diverse mountain riding. The trail starts at South Pass and ends at West Yellowstone.
The forced closures of Wyoming’s national parks have frustrated tourists and slowed business in gateway communities, but tourism offices in the state are working to draw visitors to other locales that aren’t as strongly affected by the shutdown.
The Albany County Tourism Board has released a series of web graphics to encourage people to visit the region.
Spokeswoman Brittany Richards says they have spread virally over social media. One poster reads “The Tetons may be closed, but the Snowy Range is wide, wide open.”
HOST INTRO: As the government shutdown continues, the impacts are evident in Teton County where the economy is closely tied to federal lands and federal workers. Rebecca Huntington has more from Jackson.
REBECCA HUNTINGTON: Foreign visitors inspect a three-D model of Jackson Hole and use the public restrooms at the Home Ranch welcome center, located on the main highway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. This is where the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce has set up a temporary table to help tourists locked out of national parks by the government shutdown.
This year the Wyoming Office of Tourism expects to meet or exceed last summer’s record-setting visitation numbers.
Diane Shober, the state travel and tourism director, says her data comes from national park visitation numbers, and from how many people stop at welcome centers along the state's boundaries. She says the number of visitors to the new welcome center south of Cheyenne has been up 80 percent some weeks from last year. “I am really optimistic that we're going to have an equally good summer in 2013 as we did in 2012,” she says.
Once again, the annual Rodeo event Jubilee Days has come to Laramie and merchants hope it will bring a surge in tourism. Laramie Chamber of Commerce Vice President Josie Davies says that Jubilee Days brings a diversity of tourists to for the week’s events that includes a rodeo, a carnival, and downtown events. Those events do lead to some street closures. Davies says that while some are concerned, she says that all businesses benefit from Jubilee Days.
This summer, the State of Wyoming and the City of Casper will sponsor a four-day adventure race, in which participants will hike, bike, and paddle more than 300 miles across the state. At the Governor’s Tourism Conference this week, Governor Matt Mead said the event will draw visitors from across North America and show off the state’s tourist attractions.Rev 3 Adventure, an event and race production company, will organize the Cowboy Tough Adventure Weekend.Company spokesman Michael Spiller described the race as a giant scavenger hunt, inspired by Wyoming attractions and history.
A new report from the Outdoor Industry Association quantifies the economic benefits of outdoor recreation in all fifty states. The study looked at direct spending, jobs, salaries and tax revenue.
Spokesperson Avery Stonich says the data demonstrates the value of outdoor recreation beyond the obvious – natural beauty and fun.
“Wyoming has a lot of really great recreation opportunities,” says Stonich, “this produces consumer spending to the tune of four and a half billion dollars every year that’s going directly into the state economy.”
A new report released by the State Tourism Office shows that tourism in Wyoming generated $128 million in tax revenues in 2012. That’s a 7.6% increase over taxes generated by tourism in 2011.
The number of visitors to the state also grew by 4% from 8.34 million in 2011 to 8.67 million in 2012.
Diane Shober, Director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism, says that this higher tax revenue might be coming from more focused marketing techniques and increased cooperation between state, local, and private tourism groups.
A company is bringing what they are calling The Epic Adventure Race to the state of Wyoming. Plans are to have the race begin in one portion of the state each year and end up in Casper.
It will involve Mountain Biking, paddling and trail running. Michael Spiller of the Company Rev 3 says it will feature some of the top adventure racers in the World and will showcase some of Wyoming’s famous and historic landscape.