Gateway communities

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Gateway communities are cities or towns that lie just outside major tourist attractions such as national parks, wilderness areas, or nature resort areas. Examples of gateway communities in the US include Jackson, Wyoming; Tusayan, Arizona; and Gardiner, Montana.

These places provide services for guests of the adjacent attractions, such as gas, food, and lodging, and as a result rely upon these attractions to sustain their economy. Since they are neighbors, management actions taken by either the attraction or the community itself have direct impacts on one another. Shared social, economic and ecological impacts are some of the primary considerations. For example, increased seasonal tourist activity can put significant strain on the infrastructure of gateway communities.

Economically, while tourism can be a boon, it can also price locals out of the community. Land prices close to Yellowstone National Park increased by 330% in the 15 years between 1981 and 1996.[1] Near Grand Teton National Park in Idaho, many locals live in the more distant communities of Driggs and Victor rather than in Jackson.

Ecological implications including those of watershed management, fire management in urban and wildland contexts,[2] and noise and air pollution are concerns common to gateway communities and their neighboring attractions.[3] Because of this shared responsibility, managing agencies often form partnerships with local municipal authorities.


  1. ^ McMahon, Ed. "About Gateway Communities". National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 29 November 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Steer, Karen (September 1998). "Gateway Opportunities: A Guide to Federal Programs for Rural Gateway Communities" (PDF). National Park Service. National Park Service. Retrieved 29 November 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "National Association of Gateway Communities: Welcome". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-11-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)