Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Survey strongly supports notion of the outdoors being a key player in Colorado's economy

October 12, 2016 Updated: October 13, 2016 at 2:27 pm
0
Caption +
Brandyn and Samantha Nuffer from Colorado Springs brought their daughters Rylynn (front center) and Brooklyn to see the beauty of the changing Aspens at the Maroon Bells near Aspen on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. They take a family selfie by what is probably one of the most photographed places in Colorado. photo by Jerilee Bennett,The Gazette

Findings from a survey strongly support the notion of the outdoors being a key player in Colorado's economy.

Released Wednesday by the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance, the survey conducted by an independent research group asked 201 business leaders across the state about reasons to locate here. Seventy-one percent agreed that outdoor recreation was "extremely important" or "very important." That's compared to 69 percent who said the same for having access to a skilled and educated workforce, and 34 percent who said the same for tax credits and incentives.

"This is good for anybody in the office of economic development," said Luis Benitez, head of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. "This helps anybody going out to recruit any business. You have to have a value proposition when you go out and talk to companies, and this is part of that proposition. Now we've got a hard number we can point to."

The survey also asked business leaders if public lands access helped them attract and retain a quality workforce, and 52 percent strongly agreed, with 32 percent agreeing somewhat and 12 percent disagreeing. As for protecting access to the outdoors, 63 percent said the impact on businesses was "very positive" or "somewhat positive."

David Leinweber, owner of Angler's Covey in Colorado Springs and head of the first-year Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance, hopes the survey encourages city leaders to take their natural surroundings more seriously.

"This is really important, and it's not just something for vacationers. This is a key factor in bringing key personnel to this region and really improve our workforce," he said.

Currently, he said, the alliance group comprised of fellow outfitters and advocates is in the process of creating a website that would highlight lesser-known aspects of the area's outdoors - aspects that might not appear in brochures at city offices.

"I don't think we've done a great job in promoting all the opportunies we have," said Leinweber, who is quick to point out his observations of other cities aggressively doing so. "I think Colorado Springs, from its origins, has been known for outdoor recreation, and we've kind of taken it for granted, and we've allowed other communities to catch up to us or surpass us."

Last year provided insight into how locals feel about the subject. Ballot Issue 2D, allowing the city to keep $2.1 million of revenue exceeding constitutional limits and spend it on repairing trails, was passed to the approval of 71 percent of voters.

So far, the role of the outdoors on local economies has been "unspoken," Benitez said. He didn't think the survey findings would surprise city leaders.

"But," he said, "everybody loves metrics."

­­-

Contact Seth Boster: 636-0332

Twitter: @SethBoster­­

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.