The economic importance of outdoor recreation has grown in recent years. The Bow River offers Calgarians the opportunity to participate in paddle sports and fishing as a part of their daily recreation needs within minutes of leaving the house. Further afield, the Bow River Basin is a hub of outdoor recreation activities. Land-based recreation pursuits have predominated government policy to protect public land and enhance responsible recreational activities through designated land use zones. Although protection of the ecology of streams and rivers has been recognized in these plans, the recreational river use policy needs improvement.
Calgary River Users Alliance has documented the importance of a Bow River Recreational Management Plan that we are hoping will be taken up by the Government of Alberta in revision to land use policy in the coming months. A part of our submission is a review of the economic importance of all river-based recreation activities. The first of which is a review of The Economic Importance of the Bow River Fishery .
The Report Summary:
- This economic update of the Bow River fishery is heavily weighted from reports dating back to 2012. A precise economic forecast is therefore difficult to make. Nevertheless, the 50% increase in the economic contribution to the local economy over eight years from $26 million in 2016 to $39 million in 2024 warrants further investment in river access infrastructure and services available to river recreation users.
- The number of guides operating on the Bow River, and the contribution they, and their clients make to the local economy have doubled since 2016 to $1.81 million of guide revenue and $1.00 million in estimated client expenses.
- It is important to recognize that the Bow River fishery together with all river recreational use has changed considerably since 2016 when CRUA made the first economic forecast to support Calgary’s investment in the River Access Strategy. The paddling community in particular has grown as an important component of recreation river use. When combined the economic importance of outdoor pursuits across the Bow Basin’s rivers it could well exceed $100 million per year.