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08092012 Around Wyo: Cody up...
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Around Wyo: Cody Traffic Up - State Parks Visits Down

(Cody Enterprise)--People are taking advantage of hot weather and lower gas prices as they travel through Cody Country this summer – but not everyone is spending.

“Overall, what I’ve heard has been mixed,” Cody chamber director Scott Balyo said. “We are seeing good traffic, but maybe not seeing great spending. That’s not to say some businesses aren’t having a great year.”

Balyo said a good way to tell how many people are coming to Cody is to look at visitation to Yellowstone – 93,000 people at the east gate in June and 42,000 at the northeast gate – because about 90 percent of Cody visitors enter or exit the park.

He says he also looks at how many people are stopping at the chamber and other popular sites around town.

Despite mixed feedback in terms of revenue, Balyo said the summer tourism season seems to be shaping up well in terms of visitors.

“If our peak times in July and August are strong and we have a good September – and I anticipate we will – then we might see one of our top years in traffic numbers,” Balyo said.

Wyoming's state parks and recreation sites have escaped damage from wildfires for the most part this summer, but officials expect visitation to be hurt because of bans on open campfires.

Wyoming has 13 state parks and recreation sites with camping facilities. A wildfire burned in Guernsey State Park in southeast Wyoming last month and wildfires burned close to Glendo and Seminoe state parks this month.

State Parks and Cultural Resources Director Milward Simpson reported to the State Parks and Cultural Resources Commission that the only reported damage to park facilities occurred in Guernsey where two small foot bridges were lost.

Division Operations Chief Bill Westerfield says he expects visitation to be down this year because of fire bans and restrictions at all the state parks and recreation site campgrounds.

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