Bring on the Tourists

Must Be In Wyoming

With Wyoming coal now suffering at the hands of environmentalists, the downturn in crude oil prices, and natural gas, seemingly in abundance everywhere, Wyoming, once again, is seeing an economic slowdown. We have been through these before the last big one in the 1980s and a smaller one in the 90s. The difference is that this time there may be no natural recovery. 

So now is the time for Wyoming to go to work. Survival without the huge money from the minerals industries. At one time ranching was Wyoming’s lifeblood, no longer. It should, and will stay as part of Wyoming’s economy, but will never be able to put the state on its back and carry it. Farming is iffy in our high country and now with corn prices falling to half what they were two years ago I would suspect we will see less, not more farm products growing in our state.

What can we do?
 First, we cannot spout only gloom and doom. Nor can we simply continue to say we need to promote more businesses to open or move to the state – that should be a given, and always a part of the state's economic strategy.

My two cents worth
I believe that we need to put more money, not less, into parks and park staffs, expand, historical, cultural and physical opportunities in Wyoming’s State Parks. Game and Fish needs to continue to expand stocking, and fishing opportunities and the state needs to look into additional trout fishing areas. The area where I live on the North Platte River, below Guernsey Dam, could be a fantastic fishery, but I don’t see the fisherman there any longer. I not sure why the fishing is no longer as good but with a state park and Fort Laramie nearby it would, and could be a day long stop for tourists. I am sure there are places and situations like this all over the state, and we need to keep working on them.

The View North From Guernsey State Park's Brimmer Point

Visitors spent nearly three and a half billion dollars in our state last year. We saw a five percent growth in that vital industry in 2015. The State Parks and Historic sites and Game and Fish do a terrific job with limited resources. Now might be a good time to spend significantly more in these areas, expand staff and spend money to make money. Keep this high growth industry on the move.  Adding to facilities, expanding opportunities for visitors. The question will undoubtedly be, where do we get the money? Find it? I have long marveled that out of state boaters are not charged to put a boat into Wyoming waters. Out of state camping fees could be slightly raised, as could out of state hunting and fishing licenses. Our lodging tax is also low compared to surrounding areas.

We are going to need to see growth in tourism every year. There needs to be a way to get out of state visitors to spend more days when they visit. I think Wyoming’s office of tourism is on the right track building an awareness of Wyoming and all the historical and recreational opportunities available here. Now may be the time to spend money.

Who Doesn't Want to see a Grizzly? - Just Not Too Close

10 Things we have, in Wyoming that no one else has
1.     Fort Laramie – The most important outpost in the American West
2.     Frontier Days – The greatest rodeo in the world (Real Cowboys)
3.     Unspoiled areas, without roads and wires – unparalleled opportunities for backpacking and wilderness camping
4.     Incredible wildlife – Visitors could see more wildlife driving through than they will be able to see anywhere else
5.     Devils Tower – Legends and Movies
6.     Yellowstone and Grand Teton – Magnificent
7.     Great snow for winter enthusiasts of all kinds
8.     Hunting and fishing as good as it gets in the United States
9.     More Pronghorn than people
10.   So many places to sit, all alone, where nature overtakes the modern world

Lots and Lots of Pronghorn - These Guys are Fast

5 things we do not have in Wyoming
1.     Busy Highways and traffic jams
2.     Huge shopping malls
3.     Air pollution
4.     Urban sprawl
5.     Unobstructed views – sorry too many mountains in the way

I May Have Stretched the Truth Here - Guess We Do Have the Occasional Trafic Jam

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