Deborah Thomas* - University of Colorado Denver
Olga Wilhelmi - Integrated Science Program/Research Applications Laboratory, NCAR
Taryn Finnessey - Colorado Water Conservation Board
Tourism and recreation are major contributors to the economic and social well-being of communities across Colorado, the U.S., and globally, with many of these activities directly and indirectly related to water resources. Drought cycles affect water and water supplies on a regular basis, although linkages between drought and tourism/recreation are not well documented or understood. From October, 2011, through April, 2012, a pilot project was conducted in the southwestern region of Colorado in order to better understand the interactions between drought and tourism/recreation, to identify existing data and processes for drought management, and to make recommendations for improving drought impacts data collection as related to tourism and recreation. This paper presents the results from the survey, focus groups, and interviews, offering a model of stakeholder engagement for addressing drought/tourism/recreation linkages. Taken together, the findings suggest a distinct need for increased education, data collection, and the development of robust, integrated adaptive strategies for drought vulnerability reduction.