The year 2020 saw an influx of visitors to Lander, Wyoming as people sought outdoor activities in less populated areas. As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals were restless at home but also concerned about their health. The Wind River mountains proved to be a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, drawn to the region’s scenic beauty and diverse range of activities.
The growth of the outdoor recreation sector has been a significant force in the United States economy since the start of the pandemic. New data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates that this sector contributed over $1 trillion in economic output in 2022, comprising 2.2% of national GDP. Across the country, various locations have experienced an increase in outdoor recreation due to increased demand for safe and socially distanced activities.
However, despite its potential to boost local economies, many outdoor recreation areas rely on public lands maintained by federal workers. This raises concerns about the possibility of a government shutdown affecting these areas and negatively impacting mountain towns like Lander. As such, it is essential to ensure that public lands are properly maintained and protected to support both local communities and the broader economy.