(Cheyenne, WY) – Governor Mark Gordon announced that up to $ 6.5 million of the remaining CARES Act funds will be used to fund capacity expansion at Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites. This will expand the opportunities for people to spend time outdoors, boost tourism, and address the overcrowding caused by COVID-19.
The funds will be used to provide 18% more room for visitors and travelers, reflecting a significant increase in demand in Wyoming State Parks in 2020. Part of the funds will also be used to expand the day-care facilities, such as additional day-use areas, picnic shelters and parking spaces.
State parks saw visitor numbers grow by 36% in 2020, resulting in more than 1.4 million additional visitors to state parks and exceeding capacity limits at most locations.
“Expanding outdoor recreation will benefit the state and provide an immediate return on investment,” said Governor Gordon. “The public appreciated the fact that our parks stayed open for the past year and were a healthy option to relieve the stress of the pandemic. Strengthening our state park system is also important to Wyoming’s long-term economic health. “
Wyoming State Parks has an annual economic impact of approximately $ 1.5 billion, according to the University of Wyoming Preliminary Draft Economic Impact Study.
Last year’s increase in visitors is expected to continue into 2021 due to the reservations for campsites this season. State Park Director Darin Westby stressed that the additional campsites and daytime facilities will be quickly added to the system to provide additional options for visitors this summer. These facilities may be temporary at first but will continue to improve as additional funds become available.
“We have a great team and they are excited and working very hard to offer these additional campsites that are designed to bring people outdoors and relax, to fulfill the agency’s mission of impacting communities and life to improve, ”said Westby.
“As Wyoming continues to be a top outdoor tourist destination, we’re seeing campsites, accommodations, and other amenities almost fully 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 providing a memorable outdoor adventure for visitors and residents alike.”
For more information on Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites, visit here.