Whitewater business news

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From the Aspen Daily News:

According to the annual “Commercial River Use in the State of Colorado” report issued by the Colorado River Outfitters Association (CROA), commercial rafting companies in the state hosted 507,392 user days during the 2010 season, up 16,500 user days, or 3.4 percent, from 2009. A “user day” is defined as a paying guest on a river for any part of a day. The visitor figures have exceeded a half-million for four straight years from 2005-2008 before taking a temporary dip in 2009 during the heart of the national downturn. The rebound was warmly welcomed…

As the CROA report indicates, every user day contributed much-needed revenue to state coffers and local businesses. The combined economic impact of commercial river rafting in 2010 was $150.3 million, up 4.9 percent, or $7 million, from 2009. That was the second-highest total since CROA began tracking these statistics in 1988, trailing only the banner year of 2007.

Over a season that runs from April to September, CROA’s outfitters collectively raft more than 20 rivers across eight major basins. The Colorado and Arkansas rivers saw the largest increases from 2009 to 2010 and still have excess capacity to allow for more visitors. Many other rivers in the state have limits to increased use and therefore have seen their numbers stabilize. Overall, notes Cantamessa, the diversity of opportunity means that most Coloradans – and many in neighboring states – are within an easy day’s drive of a rafting vacation that suits their tastes.

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