mountain climber

High fuel prices and national belt-cinching are bringing especially hard times to rural recreation companies. Shannon Dininny of AP reports on several businesses in Washington, California and Montana that have catered to outdoor enthusiasts.

In Trout Lake, Washington, huge snowfalls last winters made the town inaccessible to tourists. Then spring fires kept hikers and rock climbers away. Now with a perilous economy, the owner of the local outdoor shop is closing. A business in Fawnskin, California, has fared better, under more normal weather conditions. Captain John’s Fawn Harbor and Marina also “sits just 2 1/2 hours from 15 million people who don’t have the money to travel overseas.”

Dininney writes that the rec companies in remote areas are feeling the biggest strain now but many others may soon be facing similar problems. A Montana outdoor business owner said “inquiries and bookings for next season are down by 50 percent from an average year.”

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