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NIDIS Report on Drought and Outdoor Recreation w/CU Boulder MENV

A new @DroughtGov report, Drought and Outdoor Recreation: Impacts, Adaptation Strategies, and Information Gaps in the Intermountain West, describes the future viability of many businesses—particularly small businesses—in the industry is threatened by their drought vulnerabilities and the region’s projected increases in drought severity and frequency.


In 2019, the National Integrated Drought Information System partnered with the University of Colorado’s Masters of the Environment Graduate Program to research drought information needs of the outdoor recreation industry in the Intermountain West Drought Early Warning System (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming), with the goal of addressing information needs and strengthening the industry’s drought resilience. While the project focused on the Rocky Mountain states, much of the information presented can apply to other regions.


For this project, Masters of the Environment graduate students worked with NIDIS to research drought impacts on and information needs of water-based outdoor recreation businesses, with a focus on the following subsectors:

  • ski resorts

  • snow-based sports (e.g., dog sledding, Nordic skiing)

  • lake-based sports (e.g., boating, paddle boarding)

  • fishing

  • rafting

  • small retailers.

Between May and August 2019, 112 water-based outdoor recreation businesses (ski resorts, snow-based, fishing, rafting, lake-based, and small retailers) were interviewed and surveyed to determine how drought impacts their operations, adaptation strategies employed to mitigate negative drought impacts, and drought information needs to reduce the vulnerability of the industry.


This research report presents the research methods and findings, including the following detailed information for each subsector:

  • how drought impacts business operations

  • adaptation strategies of the businesses

  • current drought and weather information use

  • drought information needs.

This report also seeks to provide NIDIS with recommendations for addressing drought information gaps of outdoor businesses with the aim of addressing those gaps and increasing the resilience of this industry in the Intermountain West. READ MORE>>>

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