The talk on Wednesday, at two rivers convention center, was about rafts and raft accessories. This year many rafting companies are prepping for the season a little differently.
"People will still vacation this year they will probably vacation closer and watch their wallets a little harder," said Tom Kleinschnitz with Adventure Bound River Expeditions, Kleinschnitz says the change in economy means a change in how he does business, "putting more value in trips and probably marketing closer to home."
It's not just the outfitters that could be affected come April, tourists come from around the nation to raft right here on the Western Slope, and without them there's less money coming in to our economy. Kleinschnitz says, "Every time you bring a guest from outside the area they leave money behind, that's a simple thing."
Looming oil and gas regulations set to go into effect in April could have an economic impact on the outdoor sport too.
Bill Dvorak with Dvorak Expeditions said, "The big issue for us is the impact it would have on our water resources or rivers in particular."
Dvorak says rafters are in no way against oil and gas drilling, they just have concerns. "A major contamination in one of our major resources," says Dvorak is one of them. Which he says could mean a shorter season and bad publicity for Colorado rivers. And of course when it comes to rafting the more water you have the bigger the rapids, leaving some energy companies and outfitters in the same boat when it comes to water needs. "The amount of water particularly something like oil shale might take with the present technology," says, Dvorak.
So while rafting companies wait down river to see how the season turns out it's the local economy that could end up on the rocks.
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