Fishing in Colorado provides unique recreational opportunities and generates economic activity through the purchase of gear and clothing, guide services and other recreation-related expenditures such as travel, food and lodging. Fishing generates economic activity beyond these direct expenditures by anglers because the direct expenditures create spin-off activity in the economy. This report analyzes the direct and spin-off economic activity created from recreational fishing on the Lower Fryingpan River and Ruedi Reservoir. This research was conducted by Colorado State University in partnership with Roaring Fork Conservancy.
This study looked at the economic impact of recreational fishing on the Lower Fryingpan River and Ruedi Reservoir for Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties. To evaluate the regional economic impact, we developed and conducted two visitor surveys which gathered demographic information along with information on angler expenditures, frequency of trips and opinions about stream flows. One survey was conducted with anglers on the Lower Fryingpan River, and the other was conducted with anglers on Ruedi Reservoir. We surveyed the Lower Fryingpan River from March 2014 through August 2014 and Ruedi Reservoir from May 2014 through July 2014. In order to aggregate our sample population (the actual survey respondents) to the entire population of anglers on the Lower Fryingpan River and Ruedi Reservoir, we conducted car counts on the Lower Fryingpan River and utilized visitor data from the U.S. Forest Service for Ruedi Reservoir.
Economic impact assessment determined the effects of recreational fishing on the three-county study region. This type of analysis looks at linkages in the economy, and takes into account the fact that the economic impact of recreational fishing is not just limited to the ‘direct effect,’ defined as the activity itself. Recreational fishing expenditures are also linked to other related sectors, in this case, ‘indirect effects’ such as input suppliers (e.g., accountants for fly shops) and ‘induced effects’ such as employee spending in other industries (e.g., fly shop employees’ restaurant purchases). Together, the direct, indirect and induced effects create the ‘multiplier effect’ of visitor spending on the local economy. Because local economic development depends on bringing outside money into the economy – and preventing local money from leaking out – economic impact calculations distinguish between spending by local visitors and visitors from outside the defined three-county region. We used non-local visitors’ expenditure estimates and the IMPLAN economic modeling software to generate annual estimates of employment, labor income, value added and output supported by recreational fishing in the region. Survey data was used to estimate annual angler spending by category (e.g., food service and drinking places), as well as the total number of annual anglers.
LOWER FRYINGPAN RIVER - SUMMARY OF SURVEY RESULTS
The vast majority (92%) of anglers on the Lower Fryingpan River were male. On average, respondents travelled in groups of 3.1 people and the average trip length was 4.3 days. 96% of respondents stated that the primary activity they participated in on the Lower Fryingpan River was fishing. For non-local respondents the average per person, per day expenditure for a fishing trip on the Lower Fryingpan River was $100.88, with higher average values in the summer months of June, July and August. This translates
to total expenditures for the year of $3.3 million. This spending translates to almost $3.8 million in output, 38 jobs, and $2.4 million in value added to the three-county region.
In the survey, we also asked two questions to help us understand the potential economic impacts of governmental policies to manage stream flows. First, we looked at the management of winter stream flows to reduce the occurrence of anchor ice and second, we looked at the management of summer stream flows for angler wadeability. In both cases management practices to achieve stream flows more suited to fish survival in the winter and wadeability in the summer resulted in a stated increase in the number of trips taken by respondents. In the case of winter flows, this translated to a potential increase in economic activity in the region of $1.5 million in output, 15 jobs and $944,401 in value added. In the case of summer flows, the economic impact was estimated at $1.1 million in output, 11 jobs and $706,300 in value added. The added economic output from increased trips due to increased winter river flow management translated to a 40% increase in the regional economic impacts from angler recreation on the Lower Fryingpan River, while the added output from increased trips due to wadeable summer flows management translated to a 30% increase.
RUEDI RESERVOIR- SUMMARY OF SURVEY RESULTS
Gender was more balanced for Ruedi Reservoir visitors, but still predominantly male (73%). On average, respondents travelled in groups of 5.2 people. 22% reported fishing from a boat and 24% reported fishing from shore (there was overlap, with some respondents reporting fishing both from a boat and from shore). Average per person, per day expenditures for local respondents was $18.41, and total expenditures were $144,237. Under our model, this spending translates to $145,326 in output, 1.2 jobs and $91,009 in value added. The relatively small numbers for economic impacts is due to the fact that the majority of Ruedi Reservoir users are local, living in the study area, as well a