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Wyoming State Parks

Wyoming State Park Traffic Explodes in 2020; Up By 1.8 Million

in News/Tourism
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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.

Seminoe State Park in Carbon county recorded a jump of 132% over the five-year average and Sinks Canyon Park in Fremont County recorded a 115% boost over the same time period.

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.

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Missile alert facility to become Wyoming’s next tourist attraction

in News/Tourism/military
1302

A missile alert facility that once served as a home to three of America’s most powerful nuclear weapons is soon to become a Wyoming tourist attraction.

Quebec 1, a missile facility built in 1962 about 25 miles north of Cheyenne, will teach visitors about the history of the country’s nuclear weapons system, said Christina Bird of the Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Division.

“We’re going to be open to the public, invite tours, invite school groups in to really learn about the history of missile alert facilities and the Peacekeeper missile system,” she said.

While active, the facility housed Minuteman I, Minuteman III and the multiple-warhead Peacekeeper missiles, along with launch controls and a crew of “missileers,” U.S. Air Force personnel who were in control of the devices.

The site was decommissioned in 2005. Since 2015, Wyoming’s Legislature has worked to put the facility in the hands of the state.

Even though the site is still officially in the hands of the federal government, state officials have worked to restore Quebec 1 to its original condition, complete with launch controls and the living quarters for the missileers who staffed the facility, Bird said.

“When F.E. Warren (Air Force Base) first started this process, this was an empty shell,” she said. “Leaps and bounds have happened in the last few years to bring this all back.

The site is expected to be transferred to the state by the Air Force later this year. Bird said the state will work to put up directional signs to the facility on Interstate 25.

Based on the number of visitors who tour other former missile alert facilities, state officials expect from 40,000 to 80,000 people to visit Quebec 1 every year, Bird said.

“We’re hopeful that we can accommodate as many visitors as want to come in,” she said.

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