And the winner is
Durango! Its not bragging, were merely restating the facts. Durango ended up at the top of several lists in 2011, and were proud of it.
In addition to these overall awards, numerous Durango-area and La Plata County restaurants, lodging and activities accumulated their fair share of awards.
Lets recap several of our laurels in 2011.
Think Small, Live Big. Mens Journal hit the April newsstand ranking the Best Places to Live 2011, and Durango found itself at the top of the list for the Best Place to Put Your Outdoor Life First. The article unveiled Durangos secrets: awe-inspiring scenery, laid-back culture, strong conservation programs, great food and beer, thriving arts and the ultimate outdoor lifestyle.
Before we could celebrate our honor of Top Micropolitan Area in U.S. by Policom, we did some research. A micropolitan area has an urbanized area of at least 10,000 population but less than 50,000 and at least one county. There are 576 Micropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States, and Durango ranks No. 1. The highest-ranked areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time and an economy that positively impacted the standard of living.
Durango again found its place in the Top Ten Western Towns, by True West Magazine. True West editors determine winners for this annual award based on criteria demonstrating how each town has preserved its history through old buildings, museums and other institutions, events and promotions of historic resources. Durango is just a very cool place, says True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. It is setting the standard for repurposing its old structures. That kind of preservation is something that deserves to be recognized and honored.
Durango was honored in the Top 200 Towns in the United States by Outdoor Life, ranking high in its criteria for a town that offers world-class hunting and fishing, easy access to public land and water, a vibrant economy that remains affordable and hospitable, and also a great place to raise a family with a high quality of life.
Life is Better Here! Outside Magazine awarded Durango a top-ten spot in their Life is Better Here awards. Durango won the title of Next Big Thing with praise from writer Will Grant: Think of it as a border town. It has Southwest underpinnings Mesa Verde National Park is only 47 miles to the west but because it sits in the lush Animas River Valley, it serves as the geographic and cultural link between high desert and high country. A thousand miles of mountain-biking trails surround the city (pop. 16,900), the largest wilderness area in Colorado is just to the north (500,000-acre Weminuche Wilderness), two ski resorts are an easy drive away, and the paddle-friendly Animas flows almost down Main Street. At night, four local craft breweries appease the nearly 4,000 students at Fort Lewis College.
Well-done Durango area! To kick off the new year, the Durango Area Tourism Office has been selected as one of three finalists in the category of Best Destination Marketing Organization for a town/area less than 25,000 in population for Colorado Meetings + Events magazines Sixth annual Best Of Colorado readers choice awards.
email@example.com. John Cohen is executive director of the Durango Area Tourism Office.