Economic Impacts

Economic Benefits of Whitewater Parks

(note:  links to economic impact studies at the bottom of this report)

Whitewater parks provide an opportunity for local communities to establish themselves as a whitewater destination and strengthen and diversify their economies. The development of whitewater

parks adds to the menu of amenities in a community, improving quality of life for local residents and

keeping recreation dollars in the community. For most paddlers, rafters, inner-tubers and other whitewater sports participants, a high-quality whitewater park is worth traveling for. Visitors inject outside dollars into the community spending money at the park and in area restaurants, stores, hotels, and campgrounds. These outside dollars are critical component in the strength of the economy.

According to the Outdoor Industry Foundation, there are more than more than 17.8 million Americans participating in paddlesports currently. Premier whitewater parks can attract well over 100,000 user days each year .

“Paddling represents one part of a changing economy. Oftentimes, paddlers visit areas overlooked by other groups, and in times of the year when other tourism is greatly reduced.”

– American Whitewater Association

Economic Impacts of Whitewater Parks

Smaller whitewater parks have been proven to generate spending in the half million to three quarters of a million dollar range, while the larger parks can generate over $4 million in spending. The additional spending translates into increased personal income, job creation and an expanded local economy. For example, the whitewater park on the Sacandaga River has permanently created about 40 jobs. Whitewater parks also make great venues for local sporting and cultural festivals. The Teva Mountain Games are held each year in Vail, Colorado and center around the whitewater park on Gore Creek. In recent years, this event has attracted over 30,000 visitors who spent over 3 million dollars in the Vail area each year during summer when this ski town badly needs revenue. In places that impose a sales tax, whitewater parks boost budgets. Three percent of sales is a typical sales tax for a single jurisdiction, meaning that the spending that occurs locally as a result of spending by park visitors improves local services and facilities, and benefits the public as a whole.

Economic Impact Studies