Big whitewater wave could lead to big bucks for Glenwood | PostIndependent.com
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Big whitewater wave could lead to big bucks for Glenwood

GLENWOOD SPRINGS If youtube.com is the measure of popularity for a person or event, then the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park has made it big time. Clips of the fairly new wave receiving national attention in the kayaking community has several clips of kayakers riding the wave.Its taken off a little quicker than we had expected it would, said co-owner of Glenwood Canyon Kayak Brian Wright.Wright and his business partner Chris Vogt are surprised at how fast interest in the whitewater park has spread, not only throughout Colorado but, nationally and worldwide.Its crazy the attention its been receiving, Wright said. Its turned out better than we even dreamed.Wright, who is on the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park Committee, also designed and maintains the parks website. Over the first few months the park has been open for business, so to speak, the website has received hits from 35 states and 20 foreign countries including Europe and South America.My wish is that everyone in Glenwood is as proud of this as we are because, its something to be proud of, Vogt said. (Glenwood) is now in the national, if not the world spotlight for our industry and our sport. There are not a lot of places that are, and even fewer places that have exploded into the spotlight like we have.And that type of interest could mean a sizable economic impact on a town that is already a summer tourism destination.Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association vice president of tourism marketing Kate Collins is excited about the potential of the towns newest attraction.Between the whitewater park and the completion of the Rio Grande Trial, we can hardly contain ourselves, Collins said. The economic impact for tourism and the focus of a new and defined segment of the kayaking community is very exciting.

Designer for the water park, Jason Carey of Riverrestoration.org, said that the Glenwood Whitewater Park was awarded the United States Kayak Freestyle Team Trial competition for 2009, on Friday. The U.S. trials, which take place every two years, are often held outside the U.S. in Canada on the Ottawa River that makes up part of the boarder between Quebec and Ontario provinces. That type of event would generate national and world recognition for the town of Glenwood, as well as, generate added tourism income with an influx of hundreds to thousands of people for the event.Its a real high honor, Carey said. So its a pretty exciting thing. Im definitely excited about it. Its everything we hoped for and it came true.Both Wright and Vogt believe that the U.S. Trials being held in Glenwood could eventually lead to other events like the World Kayak Championships as well.There is speculation of possibly being able to hold the championships here, Vogt said.Its those events that carry huge economic impacts with them. But Collins is skeptical that the town will be able to sustain another summer time attraction.We are excited about anything that brings new and incremental business to the town, Collins said. But its different when we are looking at what is already peak season.Collins said that the chamber looks for opportunities to build tourism during the off-peak months of June, July and August. But Wright and Vogt agree that the park will generate interest for much of the remaining months.No one has done a whitewater park on a river like this before, Vogt said. Weve got a viable park that is usable from March through October.Both Wright and Vogt are already talking about aiding in organizing a local annual event as well that would be more like the Teva Games in Vail or the FIBArk Mountain Festival in Salida.The park makes this town a recreation hub, Wright said. Its tax dollars well spent.The park has cost approximately $900,000 to build so far and is looking at still adding parking, shower and restroom facilities, along with viewing areas on either side of the river according to Wright.This story originally appear in Tuesday’s Inside Business section


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