Survey of Small Businesses Along Continental Divide Trail Finds that Trail Users are an Economic Boon to Communities


One-of-a-Kind Survey of Small Businesses Along Continental Divide Trail Finds that Trail Users are an Economic Boon to Communities

Continental Divide Trail Coalition surveys small businesses in four states—including Colorado—and 16 rural communities to assess trail’s economic impact. Business owners say trail users play an important role in their economic well-being

A one-of-a-kind survey of small business owners in 16 communities near the Continental Divide Trail throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho and Wyoming shows the trail, the public lands it travels through and the hikers that use it are a vital and growing part of the economic activity in those towns.

The survey of 71 small business owners, conducted by the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC)—a nonprofit organization committed to constructing, promoting, and protecting the trail—during the fall of 2017, shows that small business owners see a strong correlation between the success and promotion of the trail and their bottom lines. The survey—the first of its kind to poll small business owners in small, often remote communities along the trail that runs from Canada to Mexico—unequivocally shows that business owners feel the trail puts their communities on the map as an outdoor recreation hub and draws trail users who spend money at restaurants, hotels, gear shops, grocery stores and other places of business in their communities:

  • 77 percent of small business owners who responded to the survey say trail users spend money at their business and have had a positive impact on their business
  • 88 percent say that trail users spend money in their community and have a positive impact on business in general

“The Continental Divide Trail and the hikers that use it are vital to my business. We are able to get through the winter because of the massive number of hikers coming through in the summer,” said Melanie Garr, the owner of Simple Lodge & Hostel in Salida, Colo., one of the communities surveyed. “Considering the positive impact the trail and the people who use it have on my business and our community, it is alarming to see the president roll back protections for public lands in the West. This is our livelihood and decisions like that threaten it.”

Business owners also report economic benefits since their towns gained the Continental Divide Trail Community designation from the CDTC. The designation recognizes communities that have committed to promoting and protecting the trail and providing an inviting environment for trail hikers:

  • 67 percent report seeing an increase in trail users coming through their communities
  • 42 percent report seeing an increase in traffic from trail users in their businesses
  • 39 percent report an overall increase in business in their community
  • 61 percent see an increase in awareness of their community as an outdoor recreation hub

“Small businesses keep local communities and economies thriving by providing jobs, financial stability and valuable services, and their collective activity boosts our national economy. The decision to reduce protections for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments sent shockwaves through communities that rely on public lands for their economic wellbeing,” said Teresa Martinez, executive director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. “Small business owners in these towns are consistent in their belief that the Continental Divide Trail stimulates the economies of their communities. Our leaders must pursue policies that help these small businesses maintain and grow a healthy bottom line by preserving and enhancing the trail and the public lands it traverses.”

The survey provides a first-hand account of what economic reports on recreation have found—such as the 2017 Outdoor Industry Association report that shows the recreation economy drives $887 billion in consumer spending every year and supports 7.6 million jobs. As the popularity of the trail increases, Martinez expects the economic impact to grow.

“We have documented an exponential increase in the number of long-distance hikers attempting to hike from one end of the trail to the other over the past four years,” Martinez said. “In the first year, we documented 50 thru-hikers. In 2017, there were more than 300. We expect the numbers to keep growing and the positive economic impact on communities to grow with them.”

Seeing the positive economic impact the trail has on their businesses, it is not surprising that the survey also reveals that small business owners in trail communities believe protecting their region’s natural assets will enhance local economies.

A vast 88 percent of small business owners say that protecting, promoting and enhancing the Continental Divide Trail is important to the well-being of businesses, jobs and their community’s economy. An overwhelming 95 percent say that protecting, promoting and enhancing public lands in general is important to the well-being of businesses, jobs, and their community’s economy.

The entrepreneurs owned a variety of businesses: 36 percent own a hotel or motel; 28 percent own a restaurant, bar or similar business; 22 percent own an outdoor clothing or gear store; 6 percent own an outdoor guide service; 4 percent own a grocery or convenience store; and 4 percent own an RV park or campground.

The vast majority of respondents are small businesses with 98 percent reporting 50 or fewer employees during the peak season. Indeed, 71 percent have 10 or fewer employees.

Click here to ready the survey report.



Statements made to keep a sold trip going come back to haunt defendant after whitewater rafting death.

Never forget, Marketing makes promises risk management has to pay for. Statement made about the water level dropping by the time a certain rapid was to be reached at issue in litigation but allows the plaintiff to add claims for punitive damages.

The Estate of Joseph R. Kane, v. Epley’s Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48179

State: Idaho, United States District Court for the District of Idaho

Plaintiff: The Estate of Joseph R. Kane, deceased; Stacie Kane, individually, and as guardian of Joseph P. Kane; and Thomas Kane, individually,

Defendant: Epley’s Inc.

Plaintiff Claims: Motion to add punitive damages to the complaint

Defendant Defenses: Evidence does not support the motion

Holding: Plaintiff’s motions were granted

Year: 2017

This case concerns statements made prior to a Whitewater rafting trip in Idaho on the Lower Salmon River. A group of Boy Scouts and their adult volunteers booked this trip with the defendant. The majority of the Boy Scouts on the trip did not have any Whitewater experience.

The deceased was ejected from the raft in this section of the lower Salmon River known the slide wrap. Idaho has an outfitters and guide’s statute that says an outfitter is liable if they breach the standard of care for their industry.

Through this action, Plaintiffs (to include the estate of Mr. Kane, his wife Stacie Kane, and sons Thomas and Joseph P. Kane) claim that Epley’s conduct — in particular, its decision to run the Slide Rapid at flows above 23,000 cubic feet per second (“cfs”) — breached the standard of care applicable to outfitters and guides under chapter 12, Title 6, Idaho Code and that said breach was a direct and proximate result of Mr. Kane’s death.

The issue for the plaintiffs when they arrived at the defendant’s office was the volume of water flowing on the river. It is slightly confusing, but it seems the Bureau of Land Management or the outfitting association on the river had set a cutoff of 23,000 CFS as the maximum level, the river could be rafted. There was discussion at the time Boy Scouts arrived as to what the actual river flow was and what the flow would be in a few days when the group reached the big rapid.

The plaintiffs argued to the appellate court that the defendant intentionally misrepresented the flow of the river and whether not the flow would go up or down. This misrepresentation made by the defendant was the basis for the plaintiff’s motion to amend their complaint and add a claim requesting punitive damages.

According to Plaintiffs, Epley’s not only ignored and misrepresented to the group the extreme risks presented by the water levels forecasted to be encountered at Slide Rapid on June 27, 2014 (thus permitting the trip’s June 24, 2014 launch in the first instance), its later decision to actually continue through Slide Rapid on June 27, 2014 at flows in excess of 23,500 cfs represented an extreme deviation from industry standards.

The arguments made by the plaintiffs are that the manager for the defendant misled them on the river volume and what the volume of the river would be on the date when the group encountered slide wrap. The plaintiffs also argued that the defendants had an opportunity to avoid slide rapid by taking out or going on a different trip.

As of this date, this case has not gone to trial. This is only a preliminary motion’s hearing. What it takes to prove the plaintiff’s case at trial may be totally different than what the facts in this decision are. There is also higher likelihood that the case will settle now.

Analysis: making sense of the law based on these facts.

The court first looked into the requirements under Idaho statutes add a claim for punitive damages and what punitive damages were in Idaho.

In any action seeking recovery of punitive damages, the claimant must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, oppressive, fraudulent, malicious or outrageous conduct by the party against whom the claim for punitive damages is asserted.

To prove a claim and receive punitive damages in Idaho the plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant made fraudulent misstatement or engaged in outrages conduct. There is a high standard of proof to build a case to recover punitive damages.

That definition includes a defendant acting in such a way that is extreme deviated from the reasonable standard of care or acted maliciously fraudulently or outrageously.

Ultimately, an award of punitive damages requires a bad act and a bad state of mind. The defendant must (1) act in a manner that was an extreme deviation from reasonable standards of conduct with an understanding of — or disregard for — the likely consequences, and must (2) act with an extremely harmful state of mind, described variously as with malice, oppression, fraud, or outrageousness.

However, that requirement of proof set out above does not need to be met to allege punitive damages in the complaint. To add a claim for punitive damages in the complaint, plaintiff needs only prove a reasonable likelihood of proving facts at trial to support a claim.

However, for purposes of a motion to amend, the party seeking to add a claim for punitive damages does not need to meet this high burden; rather, the party need only show “a reasonable likelihood of proving facts at trial sufficient to support an award of punitive damages.”

These requirements are balanced by the theory that under Idaho law, punitive damages were not favored and should only be awarded in most unusual compelling circumstances.

As a matter of substantive law, it is well established in Idaho that punitive damages are not favored and should be awarded only in the most unusual and compelling circumstances, and are to be awarded cautiously and within narrow limits.

The plaintiff’s argument centered on the river flows on the dates of the trip. The defendant argued that by the time the party reached the slide rapid the water levels would have decreased. The plaintiff argued that the opposite occurred, that the water levels had increased. The Plaintiff also argued that the guides could have called or should have called for more help.

Still, Defendant decided to proceed through Slide Rapid with allegedly unqualified guides, foregoing options to use an available satellite phone to discuss potentially safer options for the relatively inexperienced group, portage around Slide Rapid, or altogether exit the river on land at Eagle Creek (the last place where the group could have readily done so).

The court found the plaintiff had produced enough evidence to prove there was a likelihood that they could prevail on their punitive damages claim at trial.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs, and giving Plaintiff the benefit of all legitimate inferences without assessing credibility, Plaintiffs have established a reasonable likelihood of proving by clear and convincing evidence that Defendant acted in a manner that was an extreme deviation from reasonable standards of conduct with an understanding (as an experienced outfitter) of — or disregard for — the likely consequences of those actions.

The court then looked at the plaintiff’s claim that the defendant acted with the bad state of mind court or an extremely harmful state of mind. They argued that the manager of the defendant’s river operation purposely misled them about the river levels.

In other words, Plaintiffs argue that Mr. Blackner purposely misled Ms. Schaefer and, thus, the group by failing to inform them of actual (as of the June 24, 2014 launch date) and projected (for the anticipated encounter with Slide Rapid on June 27, 2014) river flows — that is, it was fraudulent and outrageous for Mr. Blackner to say that the forecasted flow for Slide Rapid on June 27, 2014 was 17,000 cfs, when, in actuality, it was much higher.

Again, even though the defendant disputed the allegations. There was enough evidence in addition to the witness statements to support the claim. In fact, the court found that there was more enough evidence to support the claim and that the defendant had acted with the bad state of mind.

In other words, Plaintiffs argue that Mr. Blackner purposely misled Ms. Schaefer and, thus, the group by failing to inform them of actual (as of the June 24, 2014 launch date) and projected (for the anticipated encounter with Slide Rapid on June 27, 2014) river flows — that is, it was fraudulent and outrageous for Mr. Blackner to say that the forecasted flow for Slide Rapid on June 27, 2014 was 17,000 cfs, when, in actuality, it was much higher.

Consequently, the plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint and add a claim for punitive damages was upheld by the court.

So Now What?

Honestly, it is hard to believe that the river outfitter intentionally misled the plaintiffs in this case. I do suspect that the river outfitter was making statements an attempt to hold onto the trip without either checking the facts or understanding what was really going on with river flows.

Water levels are a constant source of discussion between River outfitters. You want the water levels high enough to attract clients and low enough not to hurt anyone. The best River outfitters figure out, which claims to market to which groups for river levels they are expecting.

Things always change when a fatality occurs. Whatever the trip leader says about what is going to be expected will be adopted by the clients. So if river guides say the rivers okay, clients know the river is okay.

Never forget, marketing makes promises that risk management has to pay for. Here, in an attempt to hold onto a group of clients for a multi-day whitewater rafting trip, marketing might’ve taken over when risk management might’ve been the road.

If you are interested in having me write your release, fill out this Information Form and Contract and send it to me.

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Author: Outdoor Recreation Insurance, Risk Management and Law

Copyright 2017 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law


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2017 Pathways Conference presented by Colorado State University, US Fish & Wildlife Service and Rocky Mountain National Park

Pathways Conference 2017

Join us for the Pathways 2017 conference hosted by Colorado State University, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado!

Abstract due date: April 24, 2017 (Call for abstracts Dec. 1)

Theme: Futures




Mark your Calendar: September 17 – 20, 2017

Location: This year we return to the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Nestled in the outskirts of the beautiful town of Estes Park, the YMCA of the Rockies is surrounded by Rocky Mountain National Park on three sides. This venue provides a fantastic setting with abundant wildlife viewing opportunities at your doorstep.

Alliance for a Better UTAH: great group fighting to protect Utah from Utahans

Alliance for a Better UTAHYou did it. On Monday we delivered nearly 3,000 signatures to BLM Director Juan Palma, asking the BLM to hold accountable Phil Lyman and his friends for breaking the law by riding roughshod through Recapture Canyon.Director Palma assured us that he is working to hold the protesters accountable. The BLM is preparing to release a report they will then deliver to the US Attorney’s Office in Utah. We anticipated this would happen by directing our petition not only to the BLM, but to US Attorney David Barlow as well. We will follow this every step of the way.

In the meantime, we hope you’ll scroll down to catch up on the latest from the Alliance for a Better UTAH. If you like what you see, chip in a few bucks by clicking here. We depend on donations from supporters like you to keep our elected leaders honest.

Happy Fourth of July,

Josh, Maryann & Isaac
Your Better UTAH Team

Federal Interagency annual pass opens the gate to more than 2,000 recreation areas

KinsailLogoNew.png View in browser

Celebrate Independence in the great outdoors
Interagency annual pass opens the gate to more than
2,000 recreation areas

Dear Park Enthusiast –
This summer, why not flex your independence by experiencing all the treasures your national parks and wildlife areas have to offer, with the convenient annual Interagency pass?Buy the Interagency pass now and start using it this weekend**.

For a single, one-time fee, you get a full year of access to more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites across the country managed by:

National Park Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
Bureau of Land Management
• Bureau of Reclamation

Imagine hiking through a pristine meadow in Yellowstone, or visiting historic Gettysburg where President Lincoln delivered his famous address. Take your family to see designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks 700 years ago at Petroglyph National Monument. Visit just two or three recreation areas in the next 12 months and your Interagency pass will have paid for itself!

Learn more online. If you have questions, call our Customer Service Representatives at
(703) 994-4194 or email service.

Best wishes and Happy 4th of July –
Kinsail Corporation
Authorized Vendor of the National Parks / Interagency Annual Pass
1420 Beverly Road
Suite 150
McLean VA 22101
P: (703) 994-4194
F: (518) 615-8422
service* If you buy your annual Interagency pass now (between today and July 31), it’s valid
through July 31, 2015.
** If you request expedited shipping.

Submit Your Photos: 2014 Share the Experience Contest America’s federal lands, national parks, forests, waterways and historical sites


Share the Experience Photo Contest is Back!The 2014 Share the Experience Photo Contest is now accepting entries through December 31. If you’re an amateur photographer, this is your chance to submit inspiring images of America’s federal lands, national parks, forests, waterways and historical sites. The 2014 contest features many prizes and a brand new submission category – Night Skies.Share the Experience showcases amazing photography that highlights the endless recreation opportunities and breathtaking scenery offered by our federal lands. In 2013 about 18,000 images were submitted. See our complete list of 2013 winners and honorable mentions.

Will you be our next winner? The 2014 Grand Prize package includes $10,000, the winning image featured on the 2016 America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass and other great prizes. For a full listing of prizes and rules, or to submit a photo, please visit

2014 submission categories include:

· Adventure & Outdoor Recreation

· Historical & Cultural

· Let’s Move Outside!

· Night Skies – NEW!

· Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes

· Wildlife

Participating Federal Agencies include: National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service.

Make sure you, your family and friends visit to view amazing photos and weekly winners, vote for favorites and submit your entries.

Good Luck!

Enter Your Photo NowCONTEST SPONSORSNational Park Foundation
ACTIVE Network

Paid Internship with meaningful Natural Resource Work and Research

Colorado Youth Corps Association is partnering with the Bureau of Land Management to offer paid internships across the state as a pathway to natural

English: Bureau of Land Management logo

English: Bureau of Land Management logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

resource careers. CYCA is currently seeking to fill 13 positions that are 12-week, full-time, paid internships ($10-$13) with Field Offices across Colorado to perform meaningful natural resource work and research. A handful of the positions have an early May start date.

You may find these listings at with links to the Position Descriptions for your review. We kindly ask that you pass this information along to your networks.

If you have any questions about these positions please feel free to reach out to the identified contact for each position; or contact CYCA Associate Director Scott Segerstrom at ssegerstrom and 303-863-0604.

Many thanks in advance for your support of these opportunities.

Jennifer Freeman, Executive Director

Colorado Youth Corps Association

225 East Sixteenth Avenue, Suite 475

Denver, CO 80203

Direct – 303-863-0602

Main – 303-863-0600

Cell – 720-273-9861

Fax – 303-863-0610