As new video shows, outdoor rec an advantage

For those who haven’t yet watched the video promoting outdoor recreation in the Grand Valley, make some time to do so. It only takes about six minutes and is well worth that short span.

The video — which can be viewed online at www.GrandDayCO.com — follows Grand Valley resident Mason Klebold as he goes snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, bicycling, motorcycling, mountain biking, boating and water skiing — all during a single spring day and all within a 20-mile radius. The video showcases in compelling fashion the quantity and quality of outdoor activities readily available in the valley — in one busy day for those so inclined.

One attraction of the Grand Valley long has been touted as the ability to ski in the morning and get in a round of golf in the afternoon. As the video shows, there’s even more to do. A lot more.

The Grand Valley hardly holds a monopoly on outdoor recreation, especially in a state like Colorado. But there are few places with topography ranging from Grand Mesa ski slopes to desert slickrock that can accommodate so many different activities so close by. That’s a competitive advantage. What’s more, the Grand Valley remains less crowded than other popular outdoor playgrounds on the other side of the mountains.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership joined with the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau, City of Fruita, Powderhorn Mountain Resort and MRP bicycle components manufacturer to sponsor the video. The collaboration is likely to pay off as another valuable tool to use in efforts to promote economic development and tourism.

That’s not to mention the important connections between economic development and tourism. It’s not unusual for people who visit a place to enjoy its outdoor amenities to want to return and, if the possibility ever arises, to move there. Just think about your own experiences: How many times have you visited a place as a tourist and dreamed about living and working there? Technological advances and the Internet make it possible, even easy, for entrepreneurs in many sectors to relocate their operations.

Now, think about the potential for entrepreneurs in the outdoor recreation industry. What better place to make and test gear for outdoor activities than an area where those activities abound? Just ask Tim Fry, president of MRP.

Kristi Pollard, executive director of GJEP, says about a quarter of the inquiries the organization fields about new businesses and relocations are related to the outdoor recreation industry. Moreover, outdoor recreation ranks among the top attractions for business owners considering relocating or expanding their operations here, Pollard says.

It’s big business, too. By one estimate, outdoor recreation and tourism already contribute more than $300 million annually to the local economy and account for more than 2,000 jobs.

There’s considerable effort under way in a lot of quarters to bolster and diversify a Grand Valley economy that’s lagged behind other areas of Colorado in the aftermath of the recession. The same goes for efforts to develop a distinctive and compelling brand that will attract people and businesses to the Grand Valley.

The new video will help to do both.

If you haven’t yet done so, take a look. You’ll no doubt agree.