CO Rivers Key to Economy

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.

Outdoor Activities 

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:

Read the full Technical Report.

Media Coverage