winter tourism

Winter visitors to Yellowstone National Park may soon get to explore the park on self-guided snowmobile tours, according to the new proposed Winter Use Plan released today.

The plan includes guidelines for how many visitors can enter the park on snowmobiles and snow coaches, and also allows for visitors to tour the park without a professional guide, which is currently required.

However, Park Superintendent Dan Wenk says that participants of non-commercially guided tours will still have to meet minimum standards.

A new report from the Outdoor Industry Association quantifies the economic benefits of outdoor recreation in all fifty states. The study looked at direct spending, jobs, salaries and tax revenue. 

Spokesperson Avery Stonich says the data demonstrates the value of outdoor recreation beyond the obvious – natural beauty and fun.

“Wyoming has a lot of really great recreation opportunities,” says Stonich, “this produces consumer spending to the tune of four and a half billion dollars every year that’s going directly into the state economy.”

Jackson tourism officials are expecting a busy New Year’s holiday. 

The lodging barometer, which measures lodging bookings for the valley shows occupancy at 72-percent of full for the Saturday before New Year’s.  That’s up significantly from last year’s 59-percent and the 49-percent that was recorded in 2010.

Kate Foster of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce says the turnaround is based on a couple of things.