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Drought and Outdoor Recreation: Impacts, Adaptation Strategies, and Information Gaps in the Intermountain West

Document Author
Noelle Crowley, Carly Doolittle, Joshua King, Rebecca Mace, Jonah Seifer, NOAA/NIDIS
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Document Description

Outdoor recreation is a major contributor to the Intermountain West’s economy, but the future viability of many businesses—particularly small businesses—in the industry is threatened by their drought vulnerabilities and the region’s projected increases in drought severity and frequency.

In 2019, NIDIS partnered with the University of Colorado’s Masters of the Environment Graduate Program to research drought information needs of the outdoor recreation industry in the Intermountain West Drought Early Warning System (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming), with the goal of addressing information needs and strengthening the industry’s drought resilience. While the project focused on the Rocky Mountain states, much of the information presented can apply to other regions.

The research report presents the research methods and findings, including the following detailed information for each subsector:

  • How drought impacts business operations
  • Adaptation strategies of the businesses
  • Current drought and weather information use.
  • Drought information needs.

This report also seeks to provide NIDIS with recommendations for addressing drought information gaps of outdoor businesses with the aim of addressing those gaps and increasing the resilience of this industry in the Intermountain West.

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Cover page of Drought and Outdoor Recreation report
DEWS Region(s)
Intermountain West