If you thought the coronavirus would force everything to grind to a halt, think again.
While the pandemic has had some devastating affects on the economy — one survey estimated that one out of every 5 small businesses have closed or will close — some sectors, like tourism, actually saw a boost.
Yes, people adjusted their routines to try to flatten the curve but that didn’t mean they didn’t go out.
Take visitation to Wyoming state parks, for example.
So far this year, Wyoming’s State Parks have recorded 4.9 million visitors, an increase of 1.8 million over last year’s record — 34%.
Leading the way were visits to Boysen State Park in Fremont county. Visitation numbers were 241% over the five-year-average.
Curt Gowdy State Park saw an increase of 231% over the five-year average with highs of 581% in March and 474% in April.
Some visitors to this site will surely grumble and say Wyoming doesn’t need an influx of “greenies” to the State of Wyoming, but the tide is unlikely to stem.
In fact, state officials are predicting much, much, much more.
“Currently outdoor recreation accounts for 4.4% and $1.65 billion to the state’s (gross domestic product). We see no reason we can’t double these numbers in the coming years,” Darin Westby, Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resource Director, said.
Chris Floyd, from the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Office, echoed those thoughts but said Wyoming “needs to do it right and we can do it through proper planning.”
“The key is to get them here, spread them throughout Wyoming, help them spend their dollars, insure they’re being good stewards of the land, and then let them go home,” he said.