New Grant opportunities set to boost outdoor recreation jobs in Colorado! The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Outdoor Recreation Industry (OREC) has established a new grant initiative called the Outdoor Recreation Industry Impact Fund. The purpose of this fund is to assist outdoor recreation companies and non-profit organizations in overcoming the impact of the pandemic. The grant is designed to help the outdoor industry maintain and create jobs for its workers.
According to Governor Jared Polis, the grant program will bring well-paying job opportunities to Colorado’s thriving outdoor recreation sector, contributing to the state’s strong economy and providing Coloradans with the chance to pursue careers they love in the great outdoors. Eve Lieberman, the Executive Director of OEDIT, concurred, stating that the grant program will ensure that the outdoor recreation industry continues to grow and add employment opportunities to the state.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that outdoor recreation made up 2.7% of Colorado’s economy and provided 4.3% of the state’s employment, or 125,244 jobs, in 2021. This was an increase of 13.4% compared to 2020, which was slightly higher than the national average increase of 13.1%.
Conor Hall, head of the Outdoor Recreation Division, noted that although the state has seen growth in outdoor recreation employment, there is still a need for support from outdoor recreation employers to help maintain natural resources and promote equitable employment in the industry. The challenges faced by outdoor recreation employers include the growing demand for outdoor recreation services, increased operating costs, and a high cost of living, making hiring more difficult.
The Outdoor Recreation Industry Impact Fund will provide $1.8 million in state and local fiscal recovery funds, which are part of the American Rescue Plan Act. This grant will support payroll needs and is available to cover hiring and staff retention expenses for outdoor recreation companies that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies can apply for grants of up to $100,000 by February 28th through the grant website.
Who Is The Colorado Office of Economic Development?
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is a state-level agency in Colorado, USA. Its mission is to create a strong and diverse Colorado economy by promoting economic development, supporting business growth, and attracting new businesses to the state. The OEDIT also offers various programs and services to support the state’s businesses and communities, including financing and funding opportunities, business resources and support, and international trade assistance.
How Hard Was Colorado’s Economy Hurt By The Covid Shutdowns?
The economic impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns in Colorado varied by industry, with some sectors being severely impacted while others managed to maintain operations with adaptations. Tourism, hospitality, and retail were among the industries hardest hit, as people stopped traveling and spending money on non-essential goods and services. Half a million Coloradans lost their jobs during the pandemic, according to the CHAS (Colorado Health Access Survey of 2021). Most of the job loss occurred in March and April 2020, when the state’s unemployment rate rocketed from 2.8% to 12.1% Four in 10 people (42.2%) who lost their jobs because of COVID were still unemployed and looking for work as of the day they answered this survey, which was fielded from February to June 2021. About 5% left the workforce entirely.
However, some industries, such as technology and e-commerce, experienced growth due to the shift towards remote work and online shopping. Overall, Colorado’s economy was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 shutdowns, but it is beginning to recover.
Here Are 7 Awesome RV destinations in Colorado
Colorado offers a diverse range of RV destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and nature lovers. Some of the best RV destinations in Colorado include:
- Rocky Mountain National Park: One of the most popular national parks in the United States, offering stunning mountain scenery, hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: A scenic canyon with dramatic rock formations and opportunities for hiking, fishing, and scenic drives.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve: A unique landscape featuring towering sand dunes set against the backdrop of the San Juan Mountains.
- Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness: A scenic area near Aspen that offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, and scenic drives.
- Durango: A historic town that offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and rafting, as well as a vibrant cultural scene.
- Moab: A popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a range of recreational activities, including hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking, as well as scenic drives.
- Colorado River Headwaters: A scenic area that offers fishing, boating, and scenic drives along the Colorado River.
These are just a few of the many RV destinations in Colorado. Regardless of your interests, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs in this beautiful state.
Great Places To Eat Around These Destinations
While you’re taking in the epic views, and experiencing great hikes, and other fun outdoor activities available at these destinations, you will want to find great places to stop for breakfast lunch, or dinner. We found some fantastic places to eat, whether is just you, or it’s just you and that special someone or with a group.
The specific restaurants and fine dining options near the above RV destinations in Colorado will depend on the specific location you are visiting, but here are some options near some of the popular destinations:
- Rocky Mountain National Park: Nearby Estes Park offers several dining options, including The Egg & I, which serves breakfast and brunch, and Elkhorn Lodge Restaurant, which serves dinner and features a menu that highlights local and seasonal ingredients.
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: Nearby Montrose offers several dining options, including Hacienda Real, which serves Mexican cuisine, and Il Bistro Italiano, which serves Italian cuisine.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve: Nearby Alamosa offers several dining options, including The Sprout, which serves vegetarian and vegan cuisine, and The San Luis Valley Brewing Company, which serves a range of pub-style fare.
- Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness: Aspen offers a wide range of dining options, including fine dining restaurants like The Little Nell, which serves contemporary American cuisine, and Matsuhisa Aspen, which serves Japanese cuisine.
- Durango: Durango offers several dining options, including Season’s Rotisserie & Grill, which serves contemporary American cuisine, and Scallywag’s Restaurant and Bar, which serves pub-style fare.
- Moab: Moab offers several dining options, including Love Muffin Cafe, which serves breakfast and brunch, and Moab Brewery, which serves pub-style fare.
- Colorado River Headwaters: Grand Lake offers several dining options, including Grand Lake Lodge Dining Room, which serves a range of cuisine, and Pepi’s Mexican Restaurant, which serves Mexican cuisine.
These are just a few of the many dining options near the RV destinations in Colorado. Regardless of your tastes and budget, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs in this diverse state.