A parched summer may have outdoor fun-seekers left high and
Drought conditions, though still uncertain, could limit the
number of outdoor activities available to Fort Collins residents
Outdoor summer activities include water sports such as river
rafting, boating, swimming, kayaking, tubing and windsailing, and
on-land activities such as hiking and camping.
Water activities will be most affected by drought
“If there’s not enough water in the lake for boats to get in
that affects it,” said Ron Phizenmaier, owner of Sidewayz Pro
Watersports, 244 N. College Ave. “It’s hard to say right now, but I
think we’re in about the same position we were in 2002.”
David Costlow, owner of Rocky Mountain Adventures, 1117 N. U.S.
Highway 287, disagreed. He does not expect conditions to be as bad
as they were in 2002. Colorado saw one of the worst droughts in its
history in 2002, when summer water sports were almost
“We could have a little bit of a drought but it won’t be like it
was two years ago,” Costlow said. “There is always water. It’s just
a question of how high and how long.”
If water supply is limited, the timeline for summer water sports
will be shortened, said Rob Breckenridge, owner of A-1 Wildwater,
2020 N. College Ave. Water sports generally take place from early
May to early September. With less water, the season could be
“The two weeks on either side of June 12 is the best rafting of
the season,” Breckenridge said. “We’ll raft right on through, it
just won’t be as much fun. Rafting is really the most fun with the
highest water level.”
For those not interested in playing in water this summer, drier
outdoor activities may still be affected by drought conditions.
“Wildfire occurrences increase, fire bans come on board,” said
Gary Buffington, director of Larimer County Parks and Open
This could discourage residents and tourists from taking
advantage of Colorado’s wilderness.
“When it’s dry out people aren’t going camping because you can’t
have fires,” said Tye Eyden, manager and kayak instructor at
Mountain Shop, 632 S. Mason St.
This is hard not only on outdoor adventurers, but also on state
“It drastically affects our revenue,” Buffington said. “If we
don’t collect it during (summer) months, we’re not going to collect
it in the winter.”
It is still too early to determine what this summer’s weather
will bring with any certainty. April and May are historically two
of the wettest months in Colorado, Costlow said.
Outdoor enthusiasts are hoping for the best.
“It’ll be all right. It’s still fun, on a hot day, it’s just
more fun to be out on the water than not to be,” Breckenridge said.
“I’m an eternal optimist, so I’m thinking we’re going to get some