Colorado’s River Economy

Eagle River | Brett Hockmuth

Rivers are key economic drivers here in the United States. Not only do we rely on them for shipping channels, power and agricultural irrigation, but we also rely on them significantly for recreation and the associated economic benefits that communities receive. River related recreation – whether it is paddling and fishing, or camping and wildlife watching along the banks – is a way of life for communities across the country.

Here in Colorado, river related recreation is worth over $9 billion and maintains over 79,000 jobs for Coloradans across the state. Maintaining a strong connection to rivers and the recreation that occurs on them is a critical component of life in Colorado. More than one million adults use the Colorado River and its tributaries each year for a wide variety of recreational activities, which allow for local communities to feel economic benefits from visitors and tourists alike.

Rivers and the land surrounding them pulse through the veins of Coloradans around the state. Not only is there a deep cultural connection with the many rivers and streams that flow throughout the state, but also a critical tie that binds the love of the outdoors with the economic benefits of the river and river based recreation.

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