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River ready: Rafting companies prepping for summer season

Posted at 10:54 AM, May 18, 2024

FREMONT COUNTY — There is a summer-season preview happening on the Arkansas River in Fremont County, Colorado.

“The water was really high, we got to do some class three rapids. And so we really got a taste of like, the size of the river and like got our adrenaline pumping,” said Molly, Bailey, Amanda and Jenna, four friends who just got back from rafting a stretch of the river.

Getting to the river the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend offers some benefits.

“If you're a local, it's kind of like, you know, that midweek powder day if you're a skier. If you can get out, you're going to have it to yourself,” said Echo Canyon River Expeditions, Owner, Andy Neinas

While a few get to run the river, most of the crew at rafting companies are working to inflate rafts and check gear for the busy summer season that kicks off in just days.

“Check life jackets, check helmets as well, making sure they're all up to par,” said Echo Canyon Rafting Guide, Philip Neinas.

Pre-season preps translate to reliability and safety for customers.

“Basically, once you've ticked all the boxes, then it's just having fun for the rest of the season. It's just getting outside getting people on the river and just having fun with it,” said Philip Neinas.

A good experience for customers can mean return visits or rafting recommendations to family and friends.

“We are a real industry. You know, the outdoor recreation industry is a chorus. And we are certainly one voice in that larger chorus, perhaps a big voice,” said Andy Neinas.

He is talking about the multi-billion-dollar economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry.

According to the states recreation industry office, it has a nearly $14 billion annual impact on the state.

In Fremont County for example, outdoor recreation is one of the three leading economic drivers for the area.

“We have definitely been discovered, world class mountain biking, of course, incredible fishing, whitewater rafting goes without saying,” said Andy Neinas.

Outdoor recreation brings revenue to Colorado, and it is fun.

The water in the river was a little cold but Molly, Bailey, Amanda, and Jenna said, “It's a beautiful day and it's worth it.”

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