Can Wyoming Handle All The Eclipse Tourists? [Commentary]
Sure lets have an eclipse. Sounds like fun. Everybody will want to come.
WAIT! Everybody? That could be a problem for a small populated state like Wyoming.
According to Wyoming elected officials and emergency management, Wyoming may not be as ready to handle an eclipse as you might think. Even with all the pre-planning. Conservative estimates say the population of Wyoming will double on eclipse day.
Will we be able to stock enough food? Restaurants will be busting at the seams. Grocery stores and convenience stores might not be able to keep up with the demand. While they might be used to occasionally being busy, they have never been this kind of busy.
What about gas? It's one thing for folks to gas up their vehicles to get into the state. Will there be enough to fill all the tanks so everyone can leave?
Airports like Cheyenne and Casper have been receiving phone calls from the mega rich who want to fly in to see the event in their own private jets. Wyoming airport tower controllers might be good at what they do, but they have never handled that much air traffic. Considering that here is only so much room to park all those planes there will have to be a cutoff point.
Football fields and Wyoming schools, such as Jackson Hole, say that they will rent out camping spaces at exorbitant prices. That means, logistically, they must think of things like running water and porta potties. Even Casper residents in local neighborhoods have thought of renting their front and back yards to campers in order to make a few extra bucks. That prompted the city of Casper to insist on permitting the process so that anyone doing so would provide water and toilet facilities to campers. Imagine the mess if they did not.
With so many people from around the world will be in Wyoming enjoying the eclipse, weather permitting, we must think about those with the toughest jobs that day. Police, Fire, Ambulance. It's all hands on deck for those folks. They will be busy.
This will be an event that will be remembered in Wyoming for over a hundred years, at least. But as much fun as it will be, I'm sure we will all be happy to see out state empty out again and get back to normal.