Palo Duro Canyon recovering after taking a hit by COVID-19 pandemic

Palo Duro Canyon recovering after taking a hit by COVID-19 pandemic
Palo Duro canyon during pandemic (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Palo Duro Canyon is one of the state parks that does not have a capacity, but all that changed once the pandemic hit.

After closing for two weeks and cancelling their tours, the wildlife park is now trying to get back to normal.

Despite the outdoors being one of the places people can go to get exercise while also practicing social distancing, the park experienced a quarter drop in visitation.

“The whole situation in general has of course dropped our revenue and visitation, but not enough to endanger the park.” said Assistant Superintendent at Palo Duro Canyon Jeff Davis.

Due to the lack of tourism, they have seen a change in visitors from out of state, but Palo Duro has historically been one of the most visited parks in the state of Texas. They hope this will help them in continuing to generate revenue.

Canyon City Manager Joe Price says tourism as a whole has been extremely low, and they have asked affected businesses to lower their budget request.

However, he assures the city has been able to stay afloat amid the pandemic.

“April of this year, we have received 12 percent more sales tax than we did last year, so in one word, I would sum that up as a blessing” said Price.

Price attributes this economic stability to an increase in online sales and ability to collect tax revenue from those.

Palo Duro Canyon has also used the internet to continue to engage with visitors.

According to Price’s observations, businesses that have adapted to new online systems have had a better outcome than those who did not during the pandemic.

Even with the help of online engagement, the park is ready to get back to normal and hopes to bring back their 24 hour Canyon event in August.

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