The Conservation Beat
1:43 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Report Highlights Economic Benefits of Colorado River Recreation

A new report estimates recreational activity along the Colorado River and its tributaries contributes about $17 billion in direct spending per year.  According to the report:

If recreation associated with the Colorado River and it tributaries was a company, the jobs it
supports would make it the 19th largest employer on the Fortune 500.

The report was commissioned by Protect the Flows, which represents small businesses like fishing guides and others who rely on the Colorado River basin in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

New Mexico, in particular, saw about $1.2 billion in direct spending due to recreation along its Colorado tributaries, including the San Juan, Gila, Animas and San Francisco Rivers.  The report found that outdoor recreation along those rivers created 17,000 jobs, or about two percent of New Mexico's total employed workforce.

The study was conducted by the economic research firm Southwick Associates.  A 2006 study that Southwick conducted for the Outdoor Industry Foundation estimated outdoor recreation nationwide contributed $730 billion to the U.S. economy annually.