Beartooth Highway Economic Impact Survey Results Released

Friends of the Beartooth All-American Road today released the final report for the Beartooth Highway Economic Impact Survey.

The purpose of this study was to assess the economic impacts and visitor use of the Beartooth Highway. Until now, little was known about visitors to the Beartooth Highway Region. Data was collected from visitors during the 2012 summer and 2012-2013 winter seasons. In total, over 4,000 summer visitors and 1,600 winter visitors were intercepted during the study.

The Beartooth Highway is a nationally designated National Scenic Byways “All-American Road” situated in south-central Montana and north-west Wyoming. It spans 68-miles from Red Lodge, MT to the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Three gateway communities comprise the Beartooth Highway Region: Cooke City/Colter Pass/Silver Gate, Montana, Red Lodge, Montana, and Cody, Wyoming.

This report is a compilation of all reports generated from the study:

1. 2012 Summer economic impacts, use, and destination image report – This report details the summer data collection period and the respective results. Summer data collection began on May 31, 2012 and was completed in mid-September, 2012.

2. 2012-2013 Winter economic impacts, use, and destination image report – This report details the winter data collection period and respective results. Data collection for winter visitation was mid-December, 2012 through mid-April, 2013.

3. 2013 Qualitative analysis of activity specialization of snowmobilers in Cooke City/Colter Pass/Silver Gate, Montana – In-depth interviews were conducted with snowmobilers in Cooke City/Colter Pass/Silver Gate during January, 2013. Themes and insights about snowmobiling in the Beartooth Region are compiled, outlined, and examined in this report.

Acting as the lead organization for completion of the survey, Friends of the Beartooth All-American Road secured a 2012 Federal Highway Administration National Scenic Byway grant to fund the project with the Wyoming Department of Transportation acting as grant administrator. Addition project funding was provided by Wyoming Office of Tourism, Yellowstone Country Montana, Park County Travel Council, Yellowstone National Park Foundation, and utilization of Montana Lodging Facility Use Tax dollars. The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana provided project management including questionnaire development, data gathering and final data analysis and reporting.

The Beartooth Highway Economic Impact Survey Report can be found on-line at website.   Download report here.

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Did You Know?

Clay Butte Lookout - Beartooth Highway

The Clay Butte Lookout was built in 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was used as a fire lookout. It was staffed until the 1960s, when aircraft proved a better tool for fire detection. Today, because of its popular scenic vantage point and proximity to the Beartooth Highway, Clay Butte is used as a visitor information site. It was remodeled in 1962 and has been staffed since 1975 by volunteers. The focus of Clay Butte today is to give visitors a glimpse of how fire lookouts functioned 60 years ago. Sightseers driving the scenic byway stop to obtain information or take in the view, which includes wildlife, botanical areas, the effects of the Clover-Mist wildfire of 1988, and the geology of ancient seas that once covered the Beartooth Plateau.

Cooke City Montana - Beartooth Highway

The Cooke City cemetery is located only a short distance from town, adjacent to the Gallatin National Forest Service Campground. Within the plot lie the remains of many who cherished the hope for the future of Cooke City, including one of its founders, Horn Miller.   When lumber for coffins were needed, men of the community simply used parts of uninhabited buildings to construct the boxes.