Facility will store equipment for Parachute recreation rental service | PostIndependent.com

Facility will store equipment for Parachute recreation rental service

Workers with the Town of Parachute Adventures rental service haul a kayak down to the Colorado River on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

The town of Parachute is building a massive storage facility that will be dedicated to keeping all the equipment being used by the city’s river and land recreation program.

The Town of Parachute Adventures service began in 2016 but started to make headway in 2017. It offers a wide assortment of rental opportunities to anyone interested in exploring the local landscape, whether it’s on land or water.

This includes a variety of river equipment available to float down six generally peaceful miles of the Colorado River. This includes rafts, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks or tubes.

People can also rent organic air vehicles or mountain bikes and are free to use them to traverse western Colorado or as far as Glenwood Springs, Aspen and Moab, Utah.

The framework of a new storage facility at the Town of Parachute Adventures rental service on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

It’s open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer for river operations, while land vehicle rentals are available all winter. No reservations are needed.

“We have a lot of people taking advantage of both, especially this summer with the heat, they’re out on the river,” Parachute Community Development Director Jessica Paugh said. “We have about 10 staff members who work seasonally in the summer on the weekends, and they’ve been busy every weekend.”

Visitors flock from all over. According to TOP Adventures records, people come to the small town of Parachute from states such as Minnesota, Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, California, Indiana and Oklahoma.

That’s not to say locals aren’t taking advantage of enjoying their backyard.

Holly Binnian, a local hairstylist, said she rented from TOP Adventures numerous times in 2020 and plans to rent an additional three more times this season.

Binnian said she has already taken advantage of TOP Adventures once this summer.

“We just went over the Fourth of July,” she said. “We have 23 of us that went down the river.”

This 6-mile stretch of aquatic real estate is described by most as “chill.” Not a lot of rapids rest between takeoff and arrival. Instead, it’s a little lazier and more peaceful in comparison to upriver.

Binnian said even though TOP Adventures continues to gain in popularity, there’s still an element of privacy.

“You’re all floating at about the same speed, and you just spread out and everybody just kind of does their own thing,” she said. “Some people go a little faster, some people paddle and want to go do it faster, and some people don’t. And it can be anything you want to make it.”

The float is a lot more child-friendly as well, and it’s something the whole family can do together, Binnian said.

“It’s not a whitewater experience by any means,” she said. “So it’s safe to take smaller kids. We’ve taken my nieces and nephews, and one of them is 4.”

Town of Parachute Adventures workers on the Colorado River on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Year-to-date numbers show nearly 400 visitors, a number that’s also responsible for a year-to-date revenue of $9,908. The TOP Adventures service is heavily subsidized by the city, so the revenue is used to offset its operating costs.

But in order to serve customers consistently eager to take on the landscape, the city needs to maintain its equipment. This means having to build precisely a 2,000-square-foot storage facility equipped with two large garage doors and capable of housing OHVs and river equipment.

“A lot of people are taking advantage of it, and we haven’t had a place to put all our things,” Paugh said. “So we’ll make sure equipment is stored in a safe, dry place for security and for upkeep as well.”

What came in handy to do so was through the power of a $25,000 grant provided by the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District. Meanwhile, the city agreed to match the grant.

The city’s public works department is constructing the building, with a completion date slated for October.

The experience itself is relatively cheaper than what someone may find in the more typically popular spots scattered throughout the Western Slope.

“OHV rentals are $350 for the day, and that’s less than half of what you would see any other rental place in the area if you’re heading towards Grand Junction or Moab,” Paugh said. “So as far as OHVs go, it’s very, very affordable.”

Among some of the rentals, paddleboards are $15, two-person inflatable kayaks are $25, big blue rafts are $60 and tubes are $15 — all for the entire day.

Shuttles are $5.

“We have about a 6-mile stretch on the river that people can enjoy a couple of hours, depending on how chill you like to be on the river, and then we have a shuttle service that will bring you back to your car,” Paugh said. “So it’s just a really nice local way to get out and not have to take too long and then you have transportation to help you out.”

This is true for Binnian.

“The river’s gorgeous,” she said. “We saw eagles, sometimes you get to see elk, deer. We saw a couple fawns last summer, with their spots on them still. … It’s just an awesome experience.”

Paugh was in fact at one point recently forced to post a message on social media, debunking any rumors that the storage facility was anything but a storage facility.

Still, it’s good that people are talking.

“I think the town is feeling that cusp of growth here, and they’re just so excited about anything new that looks like it could be something amazing,” Paugh said. “And, so, people were making a lot of guesses as to what it could be, and they were excited because it’s right there on the river.”

For more information regarding TOP Adventures, visit TOPAdventures.co.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@postindependent.com.

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