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Recreation and Tourism

Drought impacts the tourism and recreation sectors both directly and indirectly, and affects the sectors during all seasons. Lower water levels or snowpack affects the availability of recreational activities and associated tourism, and a resulting loss of revenue can severely impact supply chains and the economy locally, regionally, and potentially nationally.

Recreation and Tourist Attractions in Drought

Reservoirs in Drought
Value Map Hex Color
Reservoirs Not in Drought #7fb135
Reservoirs in D0 - Abnormally Dry #ffff00
Reservoirs in D1 - Moderate Drought #ffcc99
Reservoirs in D2 - Severe Drought #ff6600
Reservoirs in D3 - Extreme Drought #ff0000
Reservoirs in D4 - Exceptional Drought #660000
Ski Resorts in Drought
Value Map Hex Color
Ski Resorts Not in Drought #7fb135
Ski Resorts in D0 - Abnormally Dry #ffff00
Ski Resorts in D1 - Moderate Drought #ffcc99
Ski Resorts in D2 - Severe Drought #ff6600
Ski Resorts in D3 - Extreme Drought #ff0000
Ski Resorts in D4 - Exceptional Drought #660000
National Parks in Drought
Value Map Hex Color
Parks Not in Drought #7fb135
Parks in D0 - Abnormally Dry #ffff00
Parks in D1 - Moderate Drought #ffcc99
Parks in D2 - Severe Drought #ff6600
Parks in D3 - Extreme Drought #ff0000
Parks in D4 - Exceptional Drought #660000

ski resorts experiencing Moderate to Exceptional (D1-D4) Drought
reservoirs experiencing Moderate to Exceptional (D1-D4) Drought
of streams reporting less than 10% of flow than their average
national parks experiencing Moderate to Exceptional (D1-D4) Drought
Key Issues

Reduction in Available Activities

Drought affects activities that are dependent on water or snow, such as boating and skiing. Indirect effects include reduced revenues for tourism- and recreation-dependent local economies and resulting mental health impacts related to economic losses, particularly for small business owners.


There is an increased risk for wildfires during drought, which can have a major impact on tourism and outdoor recreation. Limited access and public perceptions of danger can lead to fewer visitors and, therefore, lost revenue from tourism.

Degradation of Water Resources

Drought can result in poorer water quality, low streamflow, and reduced snowpack. These impacts limit activities, increase the risk for contracting waterborne disease, and shorten the season for outdoor recreation and tourism.

Hunting and Fishing

Drought alters wildlife populations and behavior, which can impact hunting and fishing.

Related Content

Data & Maps | Water Supply

Identify and access datasets and maps for monitoring water supply.

Data & Maps | Snow Drought

A collection of tools for accessing observed and forecasted snow data.

Data & Maps | Temperature & Precipitation

Access current, historical, and forecasted precipitation and temperature datasets and maps.