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Letters: Study shows river recreation is big business

Mountain Waters Rafting is thankful to be able to open this summer and we are taking social distancing and COVID-19 very seriously as visitors come to enjoy and raft the amazing rivers in the area.

No one who lives here needs a study to tell them that the San Juan, Dolores and San Miguel river basins support a lot of jobs and bring in a lot of money. But this study (“Business for Water: CO Rivers Key to Economy”) puts those jobs at 5,000 and that money at $711 million, with over half a million people participating in water-related recreation.

It’s a big deal, and Mother Nature needs some help as we face a third summer in a row with well-below-average rain as well as two below-average winters in three really stressing the health of our rivers.

The state created the Colorado Water Plan to great fanfare but it hasn’t received the funding it needs to tackle the issues facing our rivers. I hope our Colorado leaders remember the big picture as they advocate for federal stimulus dollars. Our rivers need the funding to support their health and infrastructure projects for the long run for all of us who depend on them. Which is all of us.

James WilkesDurango