Tourism in Colorado is a vital part of the state’s economy, although its relative contribution has declined in recent decades as the state’s economy has diversified. Businesses providing for the needs of tourists generate $10 billion annually. Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, skiing, and automobile touring all contribute to the state’s economy. More money is spent on hunting licenses in Colorado than any other state, and Colorado is second only to Montana in the number of out-of-state licenses issued. But skiing remains the state’s most visible and important tourist activity. Mountain resorts such as Vail, Aspen, and Steamboat Springs have made Colorado synonymous with winter recreation.
Denver is the chief railroad center in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. The development of the railroads, and transportation in general, has been hindered by the Rocky Mountains, and it was not until 1934, after the construction of the Moffat Tunnel under the Continental Divide and the completion of the Dostero Cutoff, that the state was served by a direct transcontinental railroad.
Coal is the main commodity shipped by rail in the state, representing 78 percent of the tonnage of goods. Farm products are 3 percent and processed foods are 5 percent of the tonnage of goods originating in Colorado. In 2004 the state was served by 4,072 km (2,530 mi) of railroad track.
Denver is the focal point of most of the principal highways crossing Colorado. A number of highways follow passes over the Rocky Mountains. Winter snow, often a serious hazard to driving, sometimes closes the passes. A new route through the mountains was opened in 1973 with the completion of the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel, about 100 km (about 60 mi) west of Denver. Built to carry Interstate 70 under the Continental Divide, it is the longest vehicular tunnel in the United States at 2.7 km (1.7 mi).
The highest road in the United States carries drivers to the top of Mount Evans (4,348 m/14,265 ft). In 2007 Colorado had 141,885 km (88,163 mi) of highway, including 1,535 km (954 mi) of the federal interstate highway system. In 2009 there were 16 airports in Colorado, many of which were private airfields. For many years Denver’s Stapleton International Airport was the largest airport and an essential link in the nation’s air transportation system. In 1995 Stapleton was supplanted by the new Denver International Airport. "Colorado" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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