Top 10 places
to live for sportsmen
1. Lewiston, Idaho
2. Marquette, Mich.
3. Idaho Falls, Idaho (TIE)
3. Rawlins, Wyo. (TIE)
5. Pocatello, Idaho
6. Bismarck, N.D.
7. Sheridan, Wyo.
8. Pierre, S.D.
9. Rochester, Minn.
Terry Carwile, Sportsman's Information Officer, thinks Craig is one of the best towns for sportsmen to live in.
"We certainly belong in the upper echelon, whatever that consists of," Carwile said. "We're home to two of the biggest elk herds in the United States, and we have an unparalleled level of outdoor activities."
Outdoor Life magazine seems to agree with him. The magazine has recently issued rankings of the top 200 towns for sportsmen to live in, and Craig came in at No. 35.
The national hunting and fishing magazine issued its second annual poll May 28, and named Lewiston, Idaho as the top town for hunters and anglers to live in. Three other Idaho locations made appearances in the top 10, as well as Carbondale, which was ranked 10th. Colorado also was represented with Granby at No. 14, Colorado Springs at No. 18 and Rifle at No. 28.
According to the magazine, the poll used extensive data on available sporting opportunities and quality of life.
Slightly more weight was given to outdoor-related factors, which included gun-friendliness, huntable and fishable species, proximity to public hunting and fishing, and the potential for taking a trophy animal or fish.
The quality of life index assessed socioeconomic factors such as affordable housing, quality of education, and median income.
"Outdoorsmen want world-class hunting and fishing, but like everyone else, they also want to have a high quality of life," said Todd Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Outdoor Life in a news release. "The towns on this list offer the best of the outdoors as well as decent homes and schools and good-paying jobs. They are truly dream towns for sportsmen."
Carwile said that Colorado sporting destinations have upheld a long-standing reputation for pristine wilderness and trophy hunting and fishing.
"When you talk to hunters and folks who come here from out of state, they've been doing it for many years," he said. "I think we have an unmatched reputation."
As for Craig's competition within Colorado, Carwile said that Craig's hunting opportunities and unmatched access to public land are more desirable than the population and industrial growth on the Front Range.
Having lived in Colorado Springs, Carwile sees the sporting opportunities being overtaken by urban sprawl.
"I could go out after school and go hike or ride my bike and get some place where I could shoot a rifle or go fishing and that's not the case any more," he said about his former home. "It's still a magnificent setting, but it's the worst example of sprawl. It is growing like crazy."
Carwile sees the remote location and small population as an advantage for sportsmen who choose to visit or live in Craig.
"We have 13 or 14 thousand people on 4,500 square miles," he said. "We're probably still in the category of frontier up here. We're working our way up, but the downside to that is you get popular and get more people."
But despite what Outdoor Life may say each year, Carwile maintains his own rankings.
"To me, we're on top, " he said.
Nicole Inglis can be reached at 875-1793, or firstname.lastname@example.org.