Tourism Forecast

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The Arkansas River is churning up whitewater, and that's welcome news for outfitter Jim Sampson.

He owns Four Corners Rafting in Nathrop and says he's getting early reservations, and thinks his business will be up this season. Rafters, fisherman and boaters are beginning to return to the water after wildfires and a persistent drought crippled the outdoor recreation industry.

Kevin Wildgen is a manager of Fly Fishing Outfitters in Avon. He's hoping for a 25 percent increase in business and notes the Eagle River is well-stocked with rainbow and brown trout.

Last year, the drought left streams, rivers and reservoirs at dangerously low levels. The crackling dry wilderness prompted campfire bans in most areas and the closure of some spots. But camping is up so far this spring because the bans have subsided.