Wind River Eclipse: Increased Demands on Roads and Supplies #helpatourist
On Monday, Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will pass over Wind River Country. The crowds flocking to our region will bring some temporary challenges, but the opportunities of this solar event will eclipse those inconveniences.
It is imperative to the reputation of Wind River Country as a tourism destination that our visitors have a positive, warm experience. It will be easier—and more enjoyable—to provide this if we community members are prepared for the crowds, their needs, and their likely actions.
With an estimated 10,000–20,000 travelers flocking to our county the weekend leading up to the eclipse and the day of the eclipse, roads, parking areas, and supplies will be in high demand.
The Wind River Visitors Council (WRVC) will urge visitors to schedule extra time to travel to their eclipse viewing site on Aug. 21. Whether you will be traveling to your own viewing location that Monday or to work, expect heavy traffic. The same demands will be made on parking both in towns and along the path of totality.
The demand for day-parking areas for eclipse viewing is another matter for which we, as hosts, should prepare. There is a possibility that visitors will inadvertently situate themselves for eclipse viewing on private property. The WRVC is working hard to remind eclipse viewers of their responsibility to know land ownership and to direct them to established, safe, and public viewing areas. Nonetheless, private landowners should be aware of the potential for accidental trespass and consider taking steps to prevent it, for example by installing additional signage or locking gates.
The Wind River Eclipse will begin to develop at approximately 10:15 a.m. when the moon’s shadow first touches the sun’s edge. The total solar eclipse will begin over an hour later at approximately 11:35 and last for 1 minute to 2 minutes and 30 seconds, depending on your proximity to the center line. The WRVC is urging eclipse fans to be at their selected viewing locations well in advance of the eclipse due to dramatically increased traffic. Some will leave those sites when the total eclipse has passed, and others will remain until the moon’s shadow has completely left the sun at approximately 1 p.m. As a result, Fremont County can expect a rush on lunch and basic supplies for much of the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 21. Some will drive home that afternoon, increasing demand for fuel, automotive supplies and services, water and traveling snacks.
The WRVC recommends residents fill up their own pantries and gas tanks in the days leading up to the eclipse to make your eclipse weekend smoother and to ease the rush on local businesses.
The tourism industry can help offset the mineral industry downturn our county is feeling, and the better impression we leave on our Wind River Eclipse guests, the better and more enduring the tourism benefits will be.
How can you be an ambassador? Keep a smile on your face and help visitors out through the congested weekend of the Wind River Eclipse.
How can you be an ambassador during the eclipse? Tell people about all the resources at windrivereclipse.org. The website includes packages and events, a calendar, traditional lodging, rentals, and unique lodging (we’re not full yet!), and tips for staying safe during a mid-August visit to Wyoming’s Wind River Country.
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 Wind River Country 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.