Craig slips to No. 68 in Outdoor Life’s ‘Best Towns’ |

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Craig slips to No. 68 in Outdoor Life’s ‘Best Towns’

Joe Rodriguez, middle, has a line baited by Martha Henley, right, while her husband, Larry Henley, left, holds his rod Tuesday along the Yampa River near Loudy-Simpson Park. Craig was named No. 68 on Outdoor Life magazine’s list of the top 200 towns for sportsmen to live.

Outdoor Life magazine’s top ten towns for outdoorsmen

  1. Rapid City, S.D.

  2. Pocatello, Idaho

  3. Page, Ariz.

  4. Lewiston, Idaho

  5. Kanab, Utah

  6. Bend, Ore.

  7. Mountain Home, Ariz.

  8. Saratoga, Wyo.

  9. Rawlins, Wyo.

  10. Pierre, S.D.

For More

For the full list of top towns for outdoorsmen, visit http://www.outdoorlife.c…

Each fall, hunters come to Craig by the thousands to take advantage of two of the largest elk herds in the country.

But, Terry Carwile believes Craig has more to offer than a temporary vacation spot.

Carwile, sportsmen information specialist for the Craig Chamber of Commerce, believes Craig has a quality of life unmatched by hunting and fishing towns across the nation.

"Northwest Colorado is an undiscovered jewel," he said. "And I'm glad, to a certain extent, that it is that way."

In Outdoor Life magazine's third annual ranking of the top 200 towns for outdoorsmen, Craig was ranked 68, after being 35th on the list in 2009.

The rankings are based on a comprehensive index, including ratings on proximity to public lands, potential for trophy fish and wildlife, quality of school districts and unemployment rates.

Outdoor categories account for 60 percent of the total score, and socio-economic factors account for 40 percent, according to the magazine's website.

Nearby city Rawlins, Wyo. earned the No. 9 spot, after tying for third place last year.

Rapid City, S.D. was ranked No. 1.

Granby was the first Colorado town on the list at No. 21. Colorado Springs, Carbondale, Montrose, Trinidad, Rifle and Fort Collins were also ranked ahead of Craig.

Hayden made the list at No. 114.

Carwile said in his mind, Craig should be much higher in the rankings.

"I think we should be ranked much higher than that," he said. "I think you'd have a good case to make in terms of level of services we offer around here, the environmental quality, the stability of the economic climate. I think we have a heck of a lot to offer."

He said the past few years have been different in that fewer people have been traveling to hunt in the area due to the economy and changing hunting conditions.

But, the sportsmen's life is a cyclical one, and Carwile said Craig is a town that has weathered economic and environmental changes well.

"You see good times and bad times when it comes to hunting and fishing," he said. "But the basic quality is always there."

Craig received high scores for its proximity to public land and water, and its affable gun laws, but low scores for fishable species.

Craig did not appear on the sub-list for "Big-game Heavens," but was recognized on another list called "Where to Live Like a King."

"The towns on this list feature high median household incomes and a low cost of living," a release on the magazine's website said. "Essentially, your hard-earned money will go furthest in these locations."

Carwile said it's interesting to see where the town stands in a national survey, but there's no mathematic formula that can measure something as subjective as quality of life.

"I take a lot of it with a grain of salt," he said. "We could be rated below Rifle or Carbondale, but I have my own opinions about that.

"If I just predicated my existence on hunting and fishing, there wouldn't be any other place than this."