Making the Case for Wyoming’s State Parks

Strategy: Make Your Case

Type of attraction: State Parks

Summary: In preparation for the 2010 fall legislative committee meetings, the Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites program is completing a study to demonstrate the economic impact of Wyoming’s state parks.

In preparation for the 2010 fall legislative committee meetings, the Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites program is completing a study to demonstrate the economic impact of Wyoming’s state parks.  Funding for state parks is dependent on an appropriation from the legislature, and good statistical data is essential to demonstrate the importance of funding the parks as part of the state budget. Todd Thibodeau, planning and grants manager at Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites, says “We’ve found that legislators are very receptive when you can give them concrete information about the economic value you provide.”

Wyoming State Parks has contracted with Michigan State University to complete the 2010 study using the Money Generation Model (MGM2). The report will include the overall economic impact of Wyoming’s state parks as well as calculate jobs generated and tax revenues realized. When the survey was last completed in 2005, the study showed that for every $1 the state invested its state parks, more than $6 was returned to the state’s coffers. Thibodeau observes, “the MGM model works well for us because we can compare our performance to other land managers across the United States.” The MGM model is also used by the National Park Service.  

Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites have also been able to glean useful information from other surveys they have completed of park users, as well as surveys of people who don’t use the parks. “Our surveys have shown that 75% of Wyoming residents have used one of our state parks in the past year,” notes Thibodeau. “Statistics like that help us make the case that Wyoming’s state parks serve a large percentage of the state’s population.”