Dubois City Council Rejects Gateway Community Designation in 3-1 Vote
Dubois City Council voted last week not to become a gateway community for the Continental Divide Trail.
Without city support, the designation will not proceed, according to the April 13 meeting minutes.
The Gateway Community designation is meant to attract tourism to Dubois by advertising the amenities available there for users of the Continental Divide Trail.
However, several residents spoke out against the effort at a Dubois City Council meeting in March, suggesting the town may not want to attract more tourists, especially from the Continental Divide Trail.
Other concerns surfaced last week, with some people asking, for example, how involved the city would be in Gateway Community’s marketing efforts.
Wind River Visitors Council executive director Helen Wilson said the Wind River Outdoor Recreation Collaborative will handle the marketing and a local “subgroup” of interested participants will discuss the topic quarterly.
With the designation also comes the requirement to host an annual event that publicizes the Continental Divide Trail, she said.
A little support
Several residents said Dubois should support the Gateway Community designation, which would give the town more control over tourism messaging and provide more advertising resources, without any financial commitment.
Others said they wanted more information on the potential impacts of the designation, particularly on riding and ATV use, and suggested the council wait to approve the move until let them know more about the process.
“They seemed willing to revisit the designation in the future,” Wilson said this week, adding, “(We) will revisit the Dubois designation when the time is right.”
During this time, the WRVC will continue to work on recognizing the Gateway community for Lander-South Pass City.
Both efforts were launched after the University of Wyoming contacted the WRVC asking for ideas for senior projects under the Recreation and Outdoor Tourism Management program.
“It’s been wonderful working with the students at the University of Wyoming,” Wilson said this week. “Even though Dubois is not recognized as a gateway community at this time, I still consider the project a success. The three students learned a lot during the designation process, and that learning, along with raising awareness community and the presentations they have prepared will benefit them in their future projects and careers.
She thanked everyone who expressed their support and concerns at Dubois City Council meetings, as well as those who wrote letters of support for the project.
Dubois City Council member Randy Lahr offered the only vote in favor of the designation last week. Council members Rick Lee, Patricia Neveaux and Bruce John Thompson voted “no”, and Dubois Mayor John Meyer did not vote.
Meyer suggested that Wilson could try designating Fremont County as a gateway community instead, and she said it was possible.