Ambassador Profile: Randy Wise #helpatourist
Promoting tourism in Fremont County is everyone’s responsibility. We’re all ambassadors for this great community. To ensure that we’re all equipped with the stories of Wind River Country that make our culture fascinating and unique, the Wind River Visitors Council has sponsored this #helpatourist content series.
“This area has one of the most amazing historical confluences of any place in the West,” says Pioneer Museum Curator Randy Wise of Wind River Country. “Between the Oregon Trail and the mountain men and the Native Americans and the cavalry and the pioneers, just an amazing amount of things happened in this area.”
This includes tourism, from the start, when it comes to the town of Lander.
“Tourism is a significant leg in our economy and it always has been,” he said, explaining that for decades starting in the 1890s Lander’s tagline was, “Where the rails end and the trails begin.” The railroad ended here, the Noble and Fremont Hotels housed its passengers, and then coaches took them to Dubois and on to Yellowstone National Park.
Historical insights about Wind River Country are valuable to travelers, particularly those of the newer cultural tourism inclination. They are also valuable to those of us who call Fremont County/Wind River Country home today. When we understand what our community came from, we can take pride in its attractiveness to others. Furthermore, if we can share our cultural and historical stories, we may keep a traveler in town a little longer and keep Wind River Country in their memories for even longer.
Wise is often pleasantly surprised at how interested travelers are in the history of Wind River Country—history that includes Butch Cassidy and Sacagawea (Curious? Stop by one of the Fremont County Museums for a home-town tourism experience this summer). In fact, earlier this summer, a West-Coast couple stopped in the museum late in the day. When he finally informed them that he had to close and go home, he was treated to surprise announcement:
“They said, ‘We like this museum so much we’re going to spend the night and come back to spend some time in it.’ And they were here most of the next day,” he shared with a smile . “They probably committed six hours—and an extra night in town.”
Wise is proud of the museums’ accomplishments in taking advantage of traveler’s interest in history and culture, and he is optimistic about the potential cultural tourism holds for the area. Lander, Riverton, and Dubois all have walking tours complete with apps and ever-increasing stops. Programming for the curious of all ages are expanding, and interest in Fremont County’s attractions is as ingrained in the communities as it has ever been.
How can you be an ambassador? Tell travelers about the Wind River Indian Reservation driving tour map, produced by the Wind River Visitors Council. They’ll find them at the chambers of commerce and vendors throughout the county.
About the Wind River Visitors Council
The Wind River Visitors Council’s mission is to stimulate tourism by increasing awareness of and encouraging visitation to, the unique destinations, activities, and events in Fremont County/Wind River Country, Wyoming. The Wind River Visitors Council (WRVC) is a Lodging Tax Board responsible for promoting the travel and tourism industry in Fremont County through expenditures of the lodging tax. WRVC Board members represent our communities and the county and are appointed by local City Councils and the Fremont County Commissioners. Learn more at windriver.org.