Dubois business owners wary of Gateway Community designation

Not everyone is excited about bringing more Continental Divide Trail users into Dubois.

The Dubois Town Council heard a presentation last week about local efforts to get Dubois and Lander-South Pass City listed as Continental Divide Trail Gateway Communities.

The designation is meant to draw more tourism to the town by notifying Continental Divide Trail users about the amenities available there.

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But several people said they weren’t interested in hosting more trail users in Dubois, according to minutes from the March 23 town council meeting.

The smell

Motel owner Rene Suda noted that trail users don’t usually spend a lot of money in Dubois, and if they do rent a room, they often leave behind an odor that makes it difficult to re-use the space that day.

Local business owner Robert Betts agreed with Suda, describing his experience with smelly trail users who spend time in his store without buying much merchandise.

One meeting attendee argued that trail users add to the local economy, but another said the hikers mainly want to use local business utilities, like bathrooms and water fountains, without offering compensation to store owners. Two people wondered whether Dubois could handle much more tourism anyway.

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If Dubois becomes a Continental Divide Trail Gateway Community, Betts suggested that any associated marketing efforts should include guidelines that trail users have to follow when they come into town.

Wind River Visitor’s Council executive director Helen Wilson said she would find out more about hiker education options.

Letter of support

Wilson’s organization has been working with three University of Wyoming seniors on the Gateway Communities project, and she had wanted the Dubois council to send her a letter of support for the designation by the end of March so the students could be recognized for their efforts before graduation.

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Dubois Mayor John Meyer asked her what would happen if the town didn’t send in a letter of support, and she said she didn’t know.

A dedication ceremony celebrating the designation has already been scheduled for May 3 at the Headwaters Arts and Conference Center in Dubois.

For more information email [email protected].

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