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13: Glenwoods lucky number

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Glenwood Springs and outdoor activities are synonymous. There is no doubt about it.Garfield County has seen its share of publicity in 2008 with three of its municipalities receiving four top 20 rankings in separate national publications regarding the outdoor opportunities that abound in the area.Most recently recognized in the July/August edition of Paddler Magazine, Glenwood Springs ranked lucky number 13 of the 13 best paddling towns in the nation. Thanks in large part to the addition of the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park that opened this year, according to Paddler Magazine editor Mike Kord.The new white water park certainly didnt hurt, Kord said. A lot of places dont have that. We live in a place (Kirkland, Wash.) with great rivers, but we dont have a white water park, theres nothing like that nearby.However, not having a white water park nearby didnt stop Port Townsend, Wash. as receiving the No. 1 ranking. But it was more than just the appeal of Kayaking that got the coastal town the nod.We had a lot of considerations, Kord said. We wanted the towns to be great for paddling, great to live, and great for other outdoor activities.But in the sport of paddling, they wanted to represent the diversity of paddlers that their readership exemplifies.In considering paddling, we did not want to look for only one discipline, Kord said. Because our magazine focuses on different disciplines like, sea kayaking and sea canoeing, not just white-water kayaking, so we wanted a good mix.They knew that Colorado had at least one town represented in the list. And while the state has several paddling towns more recognizable for the sport like Salida, home of the annual FIBArk festival, Glenwood won out because of the other great opportunities that the environment provides besides just kayaking.Glenwood really stood out because its in a great location with many outdoor sport opportunities, Kord said.And this years list of rankings reflect the Paddler Magazines decision.Starting off the year, the February edition of Field & Stream ranked Glenwood Springs No. 1 in the nations best towns to live in for fishing, supported by the fact that Glenwood has five major rivers within 30 minutes of town. Whether fishing brookies, rainbows, or cutthroat, Glenwoods got the angle on fishing.In March, Rifle, less than 30 minutes to the west, was recognized by Outdoor Life Magazine as the No. 17 town to live in for outdoorsman. The sheer number of activities for all seasons including, fishing, golf, hiking, mountain biking, rock and ice climbing, skiing, snowmobiling, ATVing, and of course, hunting. The name Rifle didnt come without reason.In the September issue of National Geographics Adventure Magazine, the town of Carbondale, 10 minutes to the south, ranked in the No. 3 spot in a section titled: Where to Live and Play Now: The 50 next Great Towns. In the same magazine the Glenwood Whitewater Park was listed in the Next Weekend: Instant Adventures segment as a must do for kayakers.The white water park was selected as the site for the 2009 U.S. Kayak Freestyle Team Trials, which lead to the World Kayaking Freestyle Championships.But, the white water park was not the only reason for Glenwood making the list. As many local paddlers already know, there are many options to choose from in the Roaring Fork Valley, and beyond. From Slaughterhouse on the Roaring Fork, the upper Fryingpan and the Crystal River, to the haunting waters of Shoshone in the heart of the Glenwood Canyon, there is something for all skill levels.The waters that run through Glenwood are not just good for kayaking, but they provide recreation opportunity for rafting, fishing, tubing, and more recently, river surfing at the wave of the white water park.This was the first year for Paddler Magazine to create the list of paddling towns, but Kord expects to do it again in the future.I think so, he said. We seem to be getting a lot of positive feedback on it. And its an interesting way to look at the different paddling towns. Plus we had a lot of fun doing it.And residents have a lot of fun living it. For an outdoors writer, it doesnt get any better.Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.com


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