Game Fish & Parks data on camping suggest the covid-deniers’ tourism surge may be over. According to data toward the end of the GF&P Commission agenda packet from last week, camping across South Dakota in our state parks and recreation areas was down 32% in April and down 29% for the first four months of 2022 compared to 2021:
49 of the 56 parks and rec areas that hosted campers last year and are open again for camping this year have had fewer guests so far this year than last.
Luckily, we’re charging more to get into and sleep in our parks, so lodging revenue is down only 9% for April and 4% for the year so far; total parks revenue dropped 15% for April and 6% year-to-date:
Visits are down, too, 21% in April and 16% for the first four months of the year, with 51 out of 60 facilities seeing fewer people come through the gates to picnic, fish, hike, ski, birdwatch, or lollygag in our great outdoors:
Boy, Governor Noem better hurry up and get the federal court to grant her her fireworks party at Mount Rushmore. Or maybe she can pray for a deltacron mutation to drive everyone else back to masks and social distancing so she can lure vacation-hungry covid refugees back to South Dakota. Her parks need more business!