Letter: Support healthy rivers

The impact of COVID-19 on our economy and way of life has been devastating. Who would have thought that the impact would stress our resorts, community and way of life to the degree that it has.

Despite the impact, we have to look toward a recovery and one of the things we can look to is our river basin and the impact it has on our county. Rafting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities are in full swing right now which is great for our local economy. In fact, a new survey commissioned for Business for Water Stewardship looks at the impact our rivers have in our state and region. Across the state, recreation on or near our rivers generates more than $18 billion in revenue for Colorado. Locally, related figures for the Colorado River Basin in which we live show recreation generating $3.8 billion and supporting almost 27,000 jobs annually.

We have a real opportunity here to look at what we can do for conservation and efficiency and what that means for our economy. Our ski resorts store the water as snow all winter and then we get to play in that water in the summer. As a critical component of this valley’s way of life, we must all do what we can to preserve and protect our rivers. The West has been in a drought for almost 20 years and temperatures keep rising, making mitigation a real challenge.

The state has been hard at work trying to fund the Colorado Water Plan, yet despite those efforts, funding to implement the plan is minimal. As state leaders advocate for federal stimulus dollars we need to ensure that some of that funding goes to support healthy rivers and water infrastructure projects that will help many get back to work to maintain our waterways. The Vail Chamber and Business Association supports the preservation of our waterways and hopes that the rest of our community will too. Please visit this link to review the new study and learn more about BWS and how you can help. 

Alison Wadey

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Executive Director, Vail Chamber & Business Association

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