Wyoming state parks report record number of visitors

Wyoming state parks report record number of visitors

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Mountain biking

Mountain bikers watch another rider coming up the trail during a 2017 women's mountain bike camp at Curt Gowdy State Park. Officials have reported that state parks in Wyoming experienced a record number of visitors in April and May.

CHEYENNE (WNE) — A record number of visitors came to Wyoming state parks in April and May, and parks officials expect the high turnout to continue throughout the summer.

In April and May, when many public spaces were closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Wyoming’s state parks drew more than 575,000 visitors – a roughly 160% increase over the five-year average of 225,000. Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Deputy Director Nick Neylon called the numbers “stunning.”

“We knew from talking to our park superintendents that we were busier than in an average comparative year, but we didn’t expect it to be that high,” Neylon said Thursday.

The parks were closed to camping from March 30 through May 15, so the majority of visitors were people using the parks for day-use activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, biking and other outdoor recreation opportunities. Neylon said the day-use rates vary by location, but state parks like Curt Gowdy and Glendo tend to get more out-of-state visitors.

“Based on anecdotal evidence, we were getting a lot of folks from out of state for day use, as well, especially in the southeastern corner,” Neylon added.

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