In the winter of 1985 I was driving through the Mojave Desert with a friend, talking about our apparent need for new river gear. As we passed the Twenty Nine Palms Marine Base, a man unexpectedly appeared on the side of the road selling used ammo cans. My friend and I laughed wildly and quickly came to realize that the moment was "All In A Days' Karma". This blog contains the occasional ramblings of a died-in-the-wool westerner who loves seeing, understanding, and being alive upon these landscapes. I cherish the moments of bliss and irony that come to all of us as we explore the planet and its residents (and perhaps visitors) in the short time we are here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Economic Value of the Colorado River

President Barack Obama will visit Grand Junction Colorado this week and likely see the Colorado River as it flows through this beautiful Colorado Plateau city. A business person from Grand Junction recently wrote an excellent 'Letter to the Editor' at the Grand Junction Sentinel newspaper. In it he noted what the intrinsic value of the Colorado River is relative to other Fortune 500 companies. Here is the letter in its entirety:

Monday, August 6, 2012

President Asked to Remember the Importance of the Colorado River

My job depends on the Colorado River, so when President Obama arrives in Grand Junction this week, I’ll be listening closely to see what the president’s plans are to protect this economic lifeline for the Grand Valley, our state and the entire Southwest.

Every year a population 2.2 times greater than the entire Denver metropolitan area descends upon the river and its tributaries in Colorado to recreate, leaving a trail of $6.4 billion behind in exchange for hotel stays, meals, souvenirs, rafting trips and countless other products and services.

In fact, if the Colorado River were a company, it would be the 19th largest employer on the Fortune 500 and rank ahead of companies such as General Mills, US Airways and Progressive Insurance.

But without the leadership of President Obama and the adoption of conservation measures, we won’t always be able to rely on the river to create jobs and support our tax base. Years of drought paired with large population increases across the West have taken a severe toll on the river, and now more water leaves the Colorado River than enters it each year.

If we stay on our current course, the Colorado River will slow to a trickle. And so, too, will the tourism dollars flowing into our state, the profitability of our outdoor recreation economy, our jobs and our current way of life.

Mr. President, if you remember one thing from your visit it should be: The Colorado River is good business for Colorado.

Adventure Bound River Expeditions
Grand Junction

This letter makes good sense to me. Let's hope that in the future the recreational value of the Colorado River plays a more visible role in economic and environmental decisions. Oil and gas, uranium, and potash are not the only economic drivers in our region.

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