Economic Development, Higher Education, and Sustainability

Rogue River creates $7.3M summer impact

February 22, 2016
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Rogue River Trout Unlimited
A group of kayakers navigate the Rogue River. Courtesy Trout Unlimited

The Rogue River watershed, which is located in Kent and Newaygo counties, generated more than $7.3 million in economic activity for Rockford and Comstock Park last summer.

Trout Unlimited, a national organization founded in Michigan, commissioned a study through its Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative to identify the economic development impact the Grand River tributary has for communities located along the watershed.

The organization also partnered on the study with Grand Valley State University faculty: Erik Nordman, associate professor of biology, and Paul Isley, professor of economics and associate dean in the Seidman College of Business.

Economic impacts

Based on data gathered from on-site surveys during a four-month period in the summer of 2015, the Rogue River watershed draws more than $7.3 million in direct and indirect spending by visitors participating in river-related recreation activities.

Total direct spending for day and overnight visitors to the area was about $4.1 million.

The indirect and direct spending supported about 64 full-time employment opportunities and $1.7 million in additional worker earnings.

“Visitors know that the Rogue River area is a great place for fishing, boating and running and biking along the White Pine Trail,” Nordman said. “Maintaining or improving the river’s quality and improving recreational access can increase economic development, including jobs.”

Methodology

The study surveyed visitors at a number of locations along the Rogue River watershed: The Rogue Golf Club; Rockford Dam and canoe launch; Grand-Rogue River Access Site and Campground; and White Pine Trail along Comstock Park, Belmont, Rockford and Cedar Springs.

Visitors at Praise in the Park, Art in the Park and the Rockford Farmers Market were also surveyed.

Nearly 25 percent of survey respondents indicated they lived outside of the watershed and visited the Rogue River primarily for recreational activities.

The initiative

Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home River Initiative was launched in 2010 with a goal to protect and restore the watershed located near Grand Rapids.

The Rogue River is a major tributary of the Grand River and supports steelhead and trout fisheries.

The initiative is funded by several organizations: The Frey Foundation; Grand Rapids Community Foundation; Wege Foundation; Wolverine Worldwide Foundation; and Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited. 

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