Protecting Boating, Fishing, and Recreation on Rivers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Rob HarrisProtecting river-based recreation is a hallmark of smart water planning. Communities across the West should follow the lead of their neighbors and protect healthy rivers.

– Rob Harris, Attorney, Healthy Rivers Program

Recreational Boating is a Huge Boon to State and Local Economies

Recreational boating—including whitewater rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, tubing and more—has secured its place as a key part of the local economy, and lifestyle, in many communities throughout the West. Visitors coming to play on the river help support the local economy during many months of the year. Visiting boaters buy gear at local businesses, stay in local hotels, and eat at local restaurants. Visiting anglers do the same, as do bird-watchers, and others who just enjoy a stroll or bike ride along a vibrant river.

All told, across six states (AZ, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY) sharing the Colorado River, the economic engine from river-related recreation totals over $26 billion annually and 225,000 jobs. In Colorado alone, those figures are $9 billion and 80,000 jobs, and more than 20 communities have secured water rights for recreation. As evidenced by the growing strength of a coalition of river-related business across the Colorado River Basin, flowing rivers are an industry all by themselves.

Western Resource Advocates Works with Communities to Secure River Flows for Recreation

As an example, Western Resource Advocates works closely with the boaters in the community of Glenwood Springs, Colorado to keep dedicated water (a water right) in the Colorado River for white-water boating. There is opposition to a robust water right for recreation, mostly from interests who want to hold on to the prospect of future water development that will further deplete the rivers. We take our hats off to Glenwood Springs for protecting their right to prosper against these speculative future uses of water.

The Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon, enjoyed by some 60,000 rafters each year, is one of the state’s most stunning adventures. We’re happy to help protect that for present and future generations.

Project Staff

laura belanger 2019

Laura Belanger

Senior Water Resources Engineer & Policy Advisor

rob harris 2019

Robert Harris

Senior Staff Attorney

bart miller 2019

Bart Miller

Healthy Rivers Program Director