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05132013 State Parks Makeover On The Horizon?
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State Parks Makeover On The Horizon? 

The Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Department and a select group of state legislators are developing a plan to drive visits and revenues in the state park system. The goal isn’t to compete with Yellowstone and Grand Teton. It’s to keep tourists in the state after they go to the big destinations, said Milward Simpson, director of the Parks and Cultural Resources Department.

“If you can provide cultural tourists certain products, it affects how long they will stay in the state, sleep in hotels and visit local restaurants,” he said.

Wyoming will be the first state with a blueprint aimed at overhauling a whole state parks system, said Margaret Bailey, senior vice president of CHM Government Services. The overhaul is known as the Concessionaire Master Plan.

The state contracted CHM to oversee the department’s new investments, assist in drafting new laws and evaluate the best private companies with which to work, Bailey said.

CHM has worked with the National Park Service on a variety of projects (including one for Mount Rushmore National Monument), the Bureau of Land Management, and state parks in South Dakota, California and New Mexico. Wyoming will pay CHM $168,498 for its services.

In a state where tourism is the No. 2 source of revenue, the attempt at a fix is a stride toward gaining more customers in an economy in which camping, hiking and sightseeing vacations are affordable options for families. There are certain things travelers expect out of parks, and Wyoming doesn’t offer them at all locations, Simpson said.

Read the full story at http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/wyoming-officials-launch-study-to-drive-more-state-parks-visits/article_a0cbb420-571a-54d8-b587-d8d743ea7851.html 

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Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition (WTIC)
P.O. Box 1003, Cheyenne, WY 82003  Phone: (307) 634-8816, Fax (307) 632-0249