Apr 292004
Authors: Adrienne Hoenig

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

this summer.

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

shortened significantly.

“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

more moisture.”

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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