In an attempt to offset state budget cuts, Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites has instituted a fee increase in all areas.
Most have increased by a few dollars per car and there's no longer a difference in off-season rates.
"We want to run like a business," said Wyoming State Parks Deputy Director Dave Glenn. "We've compiled visitor surveys and we've heard from our visitors that there is some elasticity in our pricing. We've also looked at state parks around the surrounding states and found out that even with these fee increases we're a heck of a deal."
Nonresidents will see larger fee increases than residents in nearly every category, which Glenn said was supported in the surveys. The parks have seen large increases in visitors in the last two years, especially in 2020.
"We saw that trend really starting in 2019. 2020 blew us out of the water - close to a million and a half more visitors," said Glenn. "And that's not a million and a half more paying visitors, that's per vehicle, but I see that continuing."
The fees at state parks and historic sites go right back into maintenance and staffing. Additional monies also come from Wyoming's general fund, the motorboat gas tax, grants, and donations. According to Glenn, more visitors will also benefit the state as a whole.
"We see us as an economic driver for the state, and we want to help lead the state out of this economic downturn," said Glenn. "And we're going to. This is one of the things that's continuing to grow and we have an opportunity to help the state."
Passes are on sale now with early bird discounts available through February 15.
"Residents can get a pretty good discount on their annual day use pass through February 15," noted Glenn. "To the point that if they buy that annual pass, along with an annual camping pass, they're camping for free after seven nights of camping within our state parks. That's a heck of a deal for our residents."
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