Outdoor recreation helps Wyoming's economy

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CHEYENNE, Wyo.- The Outdoor Industry Association recently released their newest economic report and reported that outdoor recreation contributed $5.6 billion to Wyoming's economy and helped support nearly 50,000 jobs last year.

The report shows an economic impact of a little over a billion dollar jump from 2012 when it was $4.5 billion.

The Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources says in recent years, every state park has seen some increases in visitation. Wyoming State Parks Administrator, Domenic Bravo, said his department has seen substantial increases of visitation to parks in recent years. He said there was more than a 50% increase in Curt Gowdy State Park in the last five years, alone.

Recently, Governor Matt Mead has extended his help and leadership to help diversify Wyoming's economy. Bravo said, "I think a lot of our success in that billion dollar increase is from Governor Mead's leadership in regards to the outdoor recreation economy."

Last December, Governor Mead put together an Outdoor Recreation Task Force. Bravo said, "The actual Task Force was really put together to look at the actual diversification and what we can look at in enhancing and expanding in what we already see as successes." Bravo says he believes the effort can help stabilize the economy after the impacts of the state's energy sector decline.

Bravo says Wyoming's state parks receive a lot of visitation from others in the region and expect even more international tourists during the solar eclipse event this August. However, Bravo believes outdoor recreation is a key piece of who Wyomingites are. He added, "I just think we can do more and we can do better."

After the Outdoor Recreation Task Force report is produced this fall, Bravo says they hope to implement ways to enhance and expand the outdoor recreation economy. He says they plan to look specifically at enhancing advancement for businesses and things that might attribute to more tourism.