Parachute looks to turn tide following down year for recreational rentals
Interstate 70 closures and parking challenges contributed to a 12% decline in revenue this season for the town of Parachute’s outdoor rental service.
By the time the season ended Labor Day weekend, total revenue accrued from rentals dropped from $26,000 in 2020 to $23,000 this year, Parachute Town Manager Stuart McArthur said.
“Last year, people were really trying to get out of the house,” McArthur explained of why 2020 turned out to be TOP Adventures’ best year since opening in 2017. “This year, they simply got out of the house.”
Inclement weather and ensuing mudslides through Glenwood Canyon also prompted town officials to temporarily shutter the local rental service, which offers kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and rafts, among other rentals. McArthur said TOP Adventures shut down between three and four total days due to debris flowing downriver in late July and early August.
“When it closes down, it discourages people from coming,” McArthur said. “People aren’t confident it’s going to be open.”
McArthur attributes another part of this year’s drops in TOP Adventures revenue to a lack of visitors to Battlement Reservoirs, a small collection of artificial lakes south of Parachute.
“The trailhead up there is too small,” he said.
TOP Adventures started the season on a high note. By early July, the Parachute rental service that employs 10 workers already saw at least 400 visitors — many of whom are said to visit from out of state.
Meanwhile, the town began work on a 2,000-square-foot storage facility that is nearly finished. The facility, parallel to the rental house, was made possible through a matching $25,000 grant offered by the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District.
“It’s not complete yet, but it’s looking nice,” McArthur said of the storage facility.
Parachute originally created TOP Adventures to help draw people into town, support local commerce and increase the town’s sales tax revenues, McArthur said.
Western Garfield County Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant Natalia Campbell agrees.
“I feel like it definitely can attract more businesses,” she said. “They have become more and more successful every year. I see more and more people going.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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