Parachute capitalizes on booming outdoor industry with boat, ORV rental service
Some towns have recreation centers, others have pools, but Parachute has a river, and the town is quickly seizing on all the opportunities afforded by increased interest in outdoor recreation.
Town of Parachute Adventures, or TOP Adventures, started as an experimental rental service in 2017, Parachute Town Manager Stuart McArthur said. But, after the town invested about $600,000 in a new boat ramp and rental facility around 2018, the operation began in earnest.
“It seems to be pretty good business right now,” McArthur said. “We’re seeing a lot of out-of-state license plates, but we’ve had several from the surrounding counties as well.”
Located on the Colorado River and next to Interstate 70 at 101 Misty Way, the facility rents kayaks, paddle boards, rafts and float tubes Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
TOP Adventures Recreation Supervisor Jacqui Cordova said water rentals include a shuttle service.
“When we rent a piece of equipment, such as a kayak, it comes with the life jacket, paddles and shuttle ride back,” Cordova explained. “And if you bring your own equipment, you can park here and catch the shuttle back for $5.”
Additionally, the facility rents bikes and off-road vehicles, aka side-by-sides.
“Everything is available at the boat ramp from Memorial Day to Labor Day,” McArthur said. “We do rent the side-by-sides in the off season but people have to go through the rental process at the Parachute Town Hall.”
The entire operation is paid for and run by the town, he explained. All the proceeds go back into TOP’s operation costs, such as maintenance and staff.
Since opening, TOP has created eight new seasonal jobs, and in the future, McArthur said the town might partner with a private company to help run it.
“We plan to keep expanding with more equipment and shuttle services for bikes to some of the many amazing trails we have nearby,” he said.
For 20-year-old Cordova, who started working at TOP three years ago, the operation was a great summertime job and an opportunity to learn more about her community.
“I moved here with my parents from San Diego in 2008,” Cordova said. “Working at TOP has been amazing. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for teenagers — jobs and recreation.”
While marketing efforts are geared toward the younger generations, Cordova said she sees many people of all ages stop by throughout the summer.
“We do get a lot of seniors and a lot of families,” she said. “It’s such a relaxing stretch of water that it’s great for everyone to enjoy.”
While not entirely self sufficient, TOP provides entertainment for locals and attracts visitors.
“It opens the town up to a lot of tourism,” Cordova said. “It’s not really in the vein of big tourist attractions like Glenwood Springs or Aspen, but it’s still important to have something in between, something accessible to everyone.”
Visit http://www.topadventures.co for more information about rentals, services and availability.
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