From the Summit Daily News (Neal Schwieterman):
In the rural Colorado we all love, it is often difficult to make a living. Many of us know ranchers and farmers whose spouses work “regular” jobs to keep the family afloat in the agricultural life style. Even when we work “regular” jobs, our pay is well below Front Range rates. So how do we make a rural economy work? Diversify. The more veins feeding the aorta, the quicker it fills. On the Western Slope, few of us want to make it rich, but we sure would like our children to be able to return after college and make a go of it.
Recreational rafting does not drive the economy, but is another feeder vein. The Taylor River accounts for two-thirds of the boating user days in the Gunnison Basin. The $4 million in economic activity this generates helps fill restaurants and rental houses and keeps energetic ski area workers employed off season. In the Colorado Basin, including the Blue, Eagle and Roaring Fork rivers, direct spending totals over $12 million, generating a total of over $31 million in economic activity. Of that, boating on the Blue River contributed over $750,000 in direct spending and nearly $2 million in economic impact. These numbers from the Colorado River Outfitters Association 2001 report do not include economic activity generated from fishing, pleasure boating on reservoirs or “private boaters,” who like the sport enough to purchase the gear to raft, kayak or canoe rivers on their own. They are not confined to the commercially run sections of rivers.
More whitewater coverage here.