Closed rest stops to reopen

CASPER — Nine Wyoming rest stops that were closed last year due to budget cuts will reopen later this month, Gov. Mark Gordon’s office announced Thursday. 

Gordon authorized funding to reopen the nine rest stops ahead of the Memorial Day weekend holiday, according to a statement from his office. The rest stops will remain open at least through this year’s tourism season. 

The rest stop closures were among the first budget cuts enacted last year amid declining revenues brought on by the energy slowdown and COVID-19 pandemic.

Gordon said he would work with the state’s Department of Transportation and the Office of Tourism to secure federal dollars to reopen the rest areas. 

“With the summer season just around the corner, I’m glad we will be able to reopen these facilities to travelers,” Gordon said in a statement. “We are glad to have this chance to find a temporary solution.” 

The nine rest areas are as follows: 

  • Lusk on U.S. Highway 18 
  • Guernsey on U.S. Highway 26 
  • Greybull on U.S. Highway 16 
  • Moorcroft on Interstate 90 
  • Star Valley on U.S. Highway 89 
  • Sundance on Interstate 25 
  • Upton on U.S. Highway 16 
  • Orin Jct on I-25
  • Chugwater on I-25 

The closure of rest stops in Wyoming angered many people. In a state with far-flung communities, losing a rest stop made travel through Wyoming challenging for some. And rest stops also attract visitors who then spend money at nearby gas stations. 

“Each of these nine rest areas are a valuable tourism tool, said Diane Shober, executive director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism, in a statement. “Certainly, a clean facility is important to the visitor experience, but it is also a powerful marketing platform to distribute travel guides and other trip-planning resources.”