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Colorado’s Whitewater Rafting Industry Braces Up for Difficult Year

Denver is one of the states that will be especially hit if the whitewater season gets disrupted by the coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a monumental event that has had significant effects on several economic industries.

With lockdowns enforced and public spaces cleared in a bid to enforce social distancing, prominent members of the whitewater rafting season in Colorado are now raising the alarm over a possible challenging year.

Expecting a Coronavirus-Fueled Slump

According to a report from CBS 4 Denver, the FIBArk Whitewater Festival, which is held annually in Salida, Colorado, has been canceled. This could be a sign that several other activities that concern the sport could be put on hold for this year.

Denver is one of the states that will be especially hit if the whitewater season gets disrupted by the coronavirus. The State has an abundance of water-related tourist attractions, from the Arkansas River to the Upper Colorado River. These locations bring millions a year to the state’s coffers in tourist money, but with the coronavirus forcing everyone to stay home, the prospect of such cash flow is being questioned.

CBS 4 spoke with Bill Dvorak, the owner of Dvorak Expeditions in Nathrop. The company has been around since 1969, providing materials and facilities for people looking to enjoy some of the whitewater rafting expeditions in the state.

Bill explained to the news source that while his company has been able to navigate through some dire financial situations, the coronavirus is by far the worst he’s seen.

“Nothing like this, not knowing what you might be able to do, it’s difficult.
Most of us have early season trips, all of those canceled. May is coming up, and guide training is on hold.”

The most significant problem that companies like Dvorak Expeditions are facing, of course, is the fact that their businesses are very seasonal. Whitewater season doesn’t last throughout the year, meaning that a lot of these companies have a limited window of profitability, before they go back and have to strategize to do better next year.

A lot of these companies take loans and work very hard to prepare for this season, and with the coronavirus forcing people to stay home, there won’t be any tourists to come into the state and make use of their services.

Like several other states, the Colorado government has instituted a total lockdown. The stay-at-home order began on March 26, and it is expected to run through April 26. The state already has over 300 deaths, with 1,500 people hospitalized. The total number of confirmed cases is also over the 8,000 thresholds.

With numbers surging at this rate, there’s every possibility that the stay-at-home order continues.

Trump’s Reopening Plan Might Not Save This One

Of course, the whitewater rafting space isn’t the only one that will be affected if the country continues to impose lockdowns on citizens. Tourism has slumped drastically, and there’s only so much that the Trump administration’s $2 trillion bills can do to support their business.

However, there could be some hope on the horizon, especially since the President seems adamant about reopening the country and lifting the lockdown sanctions.

Several agencies have already criticized this mission, as there’s the ripple effect that it could have on people.

At this point, everyone understands that Trump only wants to reopen the country to save the economy. However, even if he does, people would still choose to stay home and avoid non-essential gatherings. In that case, a lot of industries – including Colorado whitewater rafting – will still have a problem.

Jimmy is an established journalist who contributes to a number of online publications. He is a survival expert and a daring explorer. He contributes his expert knowledge as a Survival Instructor to BeActiveOutdoors regularly. When he's not writing or editing, he's probably hunting or on the back of a fourteener or in a Nordic bar drinking ale from Thor's hammer. Contact Jimmy@beactiveoutdoors.com

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