CO Rivers Key to Economy
River and Water Related Outdoor Recreation Contributes Nearly $19 Billion to Colorado’s Economy Annually
Recreating on or along the water in Colorado is an integral part of the outdoor opportunities enjoyed by the state’s residents and visitors. Business for Water Stewardship commissioned a study to characterize outdoor recreation on or along waterways within Colorado in 2019.
The study found that river related recreation is a major economic driver for the state with over $10 billion spent each year and nearly $19 billion in overall economic output. Read the study Executive Summary.
Statewide, an estimated 6.7 million people, both resident and non-residents, participated in one of the selected outdoor activities along the water in Colorado in 2019. Trail sports was the most popular activity with 2.7 million participants followed by camping with just under 2 million and picnicking with 1.8 million. In terms of the total number of days spent participating in these activities along the water, wildlife watching was the highest with 15.4 million days followed by trail sports with 15.1 million and water sports with just under 15 million days.
Colorado’s Nine River Basins
Study participants were asked where in the state they recreated on or near waterways based on the nine river basins as defined by the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
Impacts Across the State
The study breaks out economic output, GDP, jobs, wages and tax revenues for each of the nine basins.
Click below for more information on each river basin:
- Arkansas River Basin
- Colorado River Basin
- Gunnison River Basin
- Metro River Basin
- North Platte River Basin
- Rio Grande River Basin
- San Juan, Dolores, and San Miguel River Basins
- South Platte River Basin
- Yampa, White and Green River Basins
Read the full Technical Report.
- Read our Press Release here with quotes from BWS, Outdoor Industry Association, Mayfly Outdoors and Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
- Water-related recreation pumps $18B into Colorado economy, business group says, Denver Post, June 22, 2020.
- Letter to the editor: Local waterways are vital parts of post-virus recovery, Summit Daily, June 26, 2020.
- Stewardship of Colorado’s watersays is essential to long-term economic health, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, June 28, 2020
- Your View: Investing long-term in Colorado’s waterways is essential, Mayfly Outdoors, Montrose Press, July 3, 2020.
- The importance of Colorado rivers- Ute Mountaineer, Aspen Daily, July 3, 2020.
- Letter: Support healthy rivers- Vail Chamber, Vail Daily, July 8, 2020.
- Letters: Study shows river recreation is big business, Mountain Waters Rafting, Durango Herald, July 10, 2020.