Jacklin: It's Feast or Famine for Yellowstone Businesses

May 20, 2010 By: Marshall Cutchin

In the first of a three part series, Dan Boyce of Bozeman’s KBZK delves into the unpredictable outlook for businesses in the Yellowstone National Park region.
Last year, more than three million tourists made the trek to Yellowstone. But the economic impact of the record number of park visitors wasn’t felt by all of the area’s businesses. “In West Yellowstone those of us who live here call ourselves survivors, because we survive from one season to another,” said Bob Jacklin. Jacklin, who has owned Bob Jacklin’s Fly Shop in West Yellowstone for over 41 years depends on a steady flow of traveling anglers to keep his business afloat. In the article, Jacklin says that despite a record number of tourists last season, business was down around 25 percent.
“Executive Director of the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce, Marysue Costello, says it’s due to the type of visitors from 2009. They included not the wealthy flying in from around the world, but families driving from neighboring states, families looking for a value.”
Perhaps this is a clue as to why Montana’s Office of Tourism plans to spend upwards of $65,000 in a single issue of The New Yorker this summer, 18 percent of its summer magazine budget.
Jacklin went on to say that reservations for 2010 are way up. “Maybe they’ve(traveling anglers) recouped some of their losses from the stock market.”
This morning Martin J. Kidston wrote a short profile of Bob Jacklin for the Helena Independent-Record.”For the fun of it, the master instructor with the Fly Fishing Federation tossed in a bounce cast, a parachute cast and a trick cast, among a half dozen others techniques he’s learned through the years. ‘Stop the tip of the rod while you’re looking at the target,’ Jacklin said.”