Magazine rates Carbondale ‘too good to be true’
Carbondale is once again getting ink in a prominent magazine, this time on the cover of Men’s Journal as part of the magazine’s “50 Best Places to Live.”
The April edition, hitting newsstands in a couple weeks, describes the town as a “too good to be true Rocky Mountain oasis” and places it alongside the likes of Nashville and San Francisco.
Whether the attention is a good thing depends on who you ask.
“I’m sure there are people in town that cringe when they see a cover like that because they don’t want us to be discovered, but I think it’s fabulous,” said Jeff Jackel, recreation director for the town. “It makes you feel proud to live here.”
Ian Anderson, a partner at Backbone Media who was quoted in the article, said he wasn’t surprised Carbondale made the list and the cover.
“That scene from mushroom rock looking down on Carbondale with Sopris in the background is hard to beat,” he said.
Carl Johnson, who was photographed for the article and also works at Backbone, agreed.
“Carbondale’s managed to control its growth so far,” he said. “I’m not adverse to change as long as it’s done thoughtfully.”
Sloan Shoemaker of Wilderness Workshop isn’t so sure.
“It’s a tough call,” he said. “The understanding is that growth produces more revenue and enhancements to the community, but on the other hand something’s lost in the process.”
Mountain Fair founder Laurie Loeb felt the same.
“My fear for decades has been that the things people find so charming and attractive about this place will be lost if we continue to grow without very careful attention to those values,” she said.
It’s far from the first time Carbondale has received this kind of attention. Last year, Sunset Magazine gave it a two-day spread. Outside magazine included it on a list of great places to live, and National Geographic Adventure magazine also used it for a cover shot.
Men’s Journal raised a few eyebrows as a different venue. Some objected to the comparison to “an Iowa farm town,” while others questioned the wisdom of adding more residents somewhere with limited space and resources.
“We already can’t find housing for the people we need to find housing for,” said realty agent Lynn Kirchner. “I’m excited that we were recognized, but there’s part of me that gets very protective. There’s the selfish part of us that doesn’t want to share it with anybody else. There’s also the reality that I don’t think the community is ready for any more growth.”
Amy Kimberly, director of the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, isn’t worried about that.
“I don’t think all of a sudden there’s going to be a zillion more people wanting to move to Carbondale,” she said.
If social media is any guide, plenty of people think that’s exactly what will happen.
One commenter in a Carbondale-focused Facebook group recalled the Eagles’ tune “The Last Resort,” which some believe was written with Aspen in mind: “Call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye.”
Others might pull a different line from the same song: “There is no more new frontier; we have got to make it here.”
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