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Non-resident snowmobilers are on the rise in Wyoming

Snowmobilers in Yellowstone.
Eric Whitney
Montana Public Radio
Between 20,000 to 30,000 people visit Yellowstone National Park each month in the winter, many to snowmobile the park's groomed roads and trails.

The number of Wyoming residential snowmobilers is on the decline, according to a new report, but non-residential riders are on the rise.

A new Wyoming snowmobile recreation report shows about a 10 percent decrease over the last decade in those who live in the state and snowmobile.

“Snowmobiling is kind of a much older recreational sport in Wyoming,” said Forest Kamminga, the program manager for Wyoming State Trails. “And so it's, I would say somewhat plateaued.”

But that is only for residential riders. Those visiting Wyoming to ride have increased by almost 40 percent. According to the report, that is because of a general national interest in snowmobiling, state tourism efforts and increasingly more trails to ride.

Kamminga added that Wyoming has incredible backcountry access.

“Back I want to say 30 years ago, there was a lot of snowmobile recreation that took place around specifically trail riding, and now they're still utilizing the trails, but they're utilizing the trails to access backcountry,” he said.

The report found snowmobiling generates $193.8 million directly to the Wyoming economy, and a total of $255 million including secondary activity, including job creation.

Other notable findings were the average household in Wyoming owns three snowmobiles and the average rider in the state snowmobiles 21 days per year.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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