Report: Rollins Reservoir generates as much as $4.87 million for local economy

April 11, 2019

Boating, camping and fishing at Rollins Reservoir provide extremely valuable but often-overlooked benefits – millions of dollars in spending at nearby businesses and as many as 50 jobs for the region.

The almost 108,000 people – both daytime and overnight visitors – last summer at Rollins Reservoir had a significant economic impact on the cities of Colfax and Grass Valley, and the Chicago Park community, according to a just-completed report by BAE Urban Economics.

Those visitors spent as much as $4.87 million at convenience and grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and other nearby businesses, said Aaron Nousaine, Vice President of BAE Urban Economics.

Nevada Irrigation District (NID) contracted with the Davis-based company to conduct a 12-question survey of Rollins Reservoir visitors and crunch data on their spending, from food for their families to fuel for their boats, for the economic impact report.

“The intent (of the report) was to see the economic valuation on the surrounding communities,” NID Assistant General Manager Greg Jones said during the Board of Directors meeting Wednesday, April 10.

“We are more than just delivering water; we have an economic value to the community.”

The Rollins Reservoir Recreation Area – which includes Orchard Springs, Long Ravine, Peninsula Resort and the Greenhorn Campground – is a popular destination for visitors who enjoy boating, camping, hiking, fishing and swimming.

About three of every four visitors to the Rollins Reservoir recreation area were from five Northern California counties, including 32 percent from nearby Sacramento County. Only 11 percent of recreational visitors were from the Colfax-Grass Valley-Chicago Park region, Nousaine said.

Out-of-town visitors, especially those who camp overnight, often spend more than nearby residents, according to the report.

About 200,000 people annually visit NID recreation areas, from Jackson Meadows to Scotts Flat, and have a far-reaching economic impact on the region, said NID General Manager Rem Scherzinger.

NID collects fees from visitors that cover the cost of maintaining and operating the recreation areas, including paying dozens of seasonal employees. So, the recreation areas generate revenue for NID and nearby businesses – and provide storage that allows NID to deliver safe water to customers in Nevada and Placer counties.

“The recreation areas are a positive-revenue generator and ensure that we have sustainable water year-round,” Jones said.