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Discussion Starter #1
I'm working on a project for a Tourism Impacts class and I need your help. I'm doing it on "Whitewater Tourism" and I'm looking for ideas or articles on positive and negative impacts that whitewater recreation has on the environment, economy, culture, etc. of any area. It can be both international and within the US.

Any ideas?
 

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for positive impacts you might look at kayaker advocacy for river preservation both in the us and abroad. some good sources for info are american whitewater, international rivers, and all kinds of local grassroots organizations that paddlers are a big part of. internationally it'd be interesting to study the effects whitewater can have in job creation, etc. especially in 3rd world countries. the whitewater economy/dam building on the white nile comes to mind as a good case study for both impacts. pm me if you want ideas for other organizations/scenarios that positively represent paddlers, i've got a bunch.

as for negative impacts...maybe calculate the cost to society of work hours lost during spring runoff
 

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You have probably seen all the hubbub concerning Colorado HB-1188 currently being debated in the House of Representatives. Here is some info from the Colorado Rivers Outfitters Association that gives you some data that maybe helpful to you:

http://www.croa.org/viabilityAct/viabilityAct_FactSheet.pdf

You may also want to contact America Outdoors Association They are the national association of river outfitters. I am sure they can supply you with some data.
 

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You can check out the emerging rafting industry in western China. Travis Winn at Last Decents River Expeditions (www.lastdescents.com) is building a whitewater company and a big part of his mission is making China aware of the benefit of free flowing rivers. A sister organization China Rivers Project (www.chinariversproject.org) is also deeply involved. China Rivers is run by Kristen McDonald in San Fran. Travis is based in China, both are passionate about saving rivers. This is a great time to witness an emerging industry and ecological movement. Very similar to the US back in the 50's and 60's, the government trying to dam anything big enough to generate power. Good luck!
 

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I'm working on a project for a Tourism Impacts class and I need your help. I'm doing it on "Whitewater Tourism" and I'm looking for ideas or articles on positive and negative impacts that whitewater recreation has on the environment, economy, culture, etc. of any area. It can be both international and within the US.

Any ideas?
Tourism definitely has an impact on the environment, economy, and culture of a river. Look at the impact it had on the Grand Canyon, from the first raft trip to present. If there was no tourism in the Grand Canyon, think how it would be today, and compare it to today as a major tourism location for people all around the world. I think it comes down to preserve it, or promote it. The past is a good model to look at the positive and negative impacts of tourism on a river.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all of the great ideas and starting points!

My partner and I (both boaters and raft guides) were thinking of talking about permits/regulations on trips both private and commercial, particularly how they help with minimizing impacts and crowding. Think that's good, or is that too obvious? We thought about putting that in with water rights/rights to float.

I like the boaters advocacy, and it's something that we discussed when trying to come up with ideas. We were also thinking about looking into the affects of first-D's in other countries as well, like the Jackson expeditions, etc. but I'm not sure how far that will take us.

I also got a recommendation from a friend to talk about play parks and how their development affects riverbeds and ecosystems. Anybody else have info on that?

Thanks so much!
 

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I also got a recommendation from a friend to talk about play parks and how their development affects riverbeds and ecosystems. Anybody else have info on that?
Thanks so much!
Here in Missoula, "Brennan's wave" was built in a spot where there was an outflow to an irrigation ditch. The whole headworks was in bad shape, and there was quite a bit of crap in the river in that location. When they built the wave, they rebuilt the entire river channel there including the headgate. I understand it was considered a big improvement in a river that was pretty damaged. After all, the location used to be the garbage dump for Missoula and they let it all float away in high water. That was long ago, but representative of how we as a society used to use rivers.

On the flip side, a healthy river and ecosystem can be very adversely affected by increases in tourism. More impact doesn't help places that are relatively pristine. And the trashed places were once pristine and end up trashed by increased use over the years. A significant portion of people do not practice "leave no trace", especially with WW boating drawing a pretty partying crowd, with lots of river stretches almost seeming like junk shows and a circus party.

The Blackfoot River (think "A River Runs Through It") is quite healthy, and increases in boating are having a pretty negative impact, such that they are looking at permitting the upper stretches for the first time. There's just no way that hordes of people don't have a negative impact, with the exception to the outfitters and personal pleasure. Once a commercial aspect gets established, it tends to bring a voice that didn't exist before, and it's rare that such jobs are actually sustaining of people or families.

As the saying goes, it can be loved to death. One footprint doesn't make a path, but 1000 will create a road.

I see it kind of like hunting here. Hunting led the way to preserve wildlife, and funded it to boot. Now it is becoming clear as hunting goals conflict with wildlife management goals that preservation funded by hunting is still about having enough animals to kill. We have some such killed animal in our freezer. Elk hunts are less successful due to wolves, and suddenly that lobby seems less interested in the ecosystem they once heralded than how many animals are harvested. I say this because of the great things AW and other groups do, which I support and am a member of. I wonder if in the future boating goals and the lobbying done might actually conflict with what is needed by the environment, when recreational releases are what's the goal of boaters? Nothing is straightforward.

I love WW boating, and love to get other people into the sport, but I believe there is a fair amount of negatives to the environment that aren't popular to discuss.
 

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...

I also got a recommendation from a friend to talk about play parks and how their development affects riverbeds and ecosystems. Anybody else have info on that?

Thanks so much!
I think studying play park impact would be interesting. I think the social and economic impacts are much more significant than any environmental impacts.

The Golden play park has changed the face of downtown Golden. I lived a few blocks from it before, during, and after it was installed and the change on that side of downtown was huge. It went from being a filthy urban stream bed used to dump broken concrete to being the main attraction in Golden in the summertime. It revitalized the whole north side of downtown Golden.

The weird part to me are the people I run into in Golden who don't like it. It is rare but it does happen.

I stopped to say hi and talk to one of my neighbors while walking the dogs a while back and I told her the main reason I moved to Golden was to be close to the kayaking on Clear Creek. She started ranting about how the kayakers ruined downtown Golden and she can't even walk up and down the creek path without getting run over by crowds.

I tried to explain to her the difference between creeking and playboating, I told her about the rapids up the canyon and that the most popular after work run in the Denver metro area is a few miles up there. I tried to give her an idea of what kayaking is about and how important Clear Creek and Clear Creek Canyon are to Golden.

I told her that Golden is a destination for all kinds of outdoor athletes because of the climbing, kayaking, and mtn biking. I told her that people move here and buy houses and create jobs because it is a cool place for outdoor athletes to live but she stuck to her guns about her dislike for the kayakers (me) who ruined Golden for her.

Some people don't like change. A playpark in a small town is a big change.
 

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Hey Becky,

Here's a webpage article that I used for a project/paper that I did for a similar class here at UCCS.

It briefly touches on the economic impact (positive impact) that the creation of the Golden Play Park had on the community and as well as the positive impact that it created with bringing on added revenue.

Here's the link, let me know if it works:
All the rage: paddle your community into a new type of experience—the whitewater park | Parks & Recreation | Find Articles at BNET

If the link doesn't work, put this into the Google Search:
"All the rage: paddle your community into a new type of experience--the whitewater park. " Parks & Recreation."

- Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again for all of the ideas and links! I'm even thinking of using Mountainbuzz and this thread as an example of boater involvement and interest in water and recreation issues. I'll keep you all posted on how this project evolves!

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just wondering if anyone knows of an article are two that talks about the economic impacts of Whitewater Festivals? I've found one on Gauley Fest but am having a hard time finding anything else.
 

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You may consider touching on places like Idaho that have historically had their economies driven by natural resource based activities like mining and logging. These are not as viable as they used to be so Idaho and many other places are reaching out to tourism as a sustainable approach to job creation and retention. Cascade, Idaho (logging town) is a perfect example. Cascade, Idaho is just finishing up the Kelly's Whitewater Park which is set to open this spring. The University of Idaho did an economic study for the City to show the positive impact. Let me know if you would like me to email you the study! Good Luck!

Jay
 
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