Magazine: Grand Junction among top places to live for hunting and fishing enthusiasts

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Grand Junction ranks among the top places in the United States to live for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hunting and fishing, according to the latest results of an annual listing compiled by a national magazine.

Kelly Flenniken

The ranking and associated publicity should bolster efforts to attract new businesses to the area, particularly those in the outdoor industry, said Kelly Flenniken, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. “We are actively pushing the area as a great place to live because of the outdoor activities and quality of life.”

Grand Junction ranks sixth in a list of the 35 best towns for sportsman published in the May issue of Outdoor Life magazine. The rankings are based on opportunities to hunt and fish.

Grand Junction was praised in the magazine story about the list for its access to nearby public lands for elk hunting and alpine lakes for trout fishing — not to mention the scenery in the area. “Magnificent mesas and endless elk — Grand Junction’s breathtaking scenery makes the perfect backdrop for chasing public land bulls. Numerous alpine trout lakes keep local anglers busy,” the story stated.

Appleton, Wis., came in first in the listing for its trophy white tail deer habitat and nearby walleye fisheries. The remainder of the top five towns on the list were: Salmon, Idaho; Venice, La.; Rapid City, S.D.; and Centerville, Iowa.

One other Colorado town made the list with Craig coming in at No. 20.

Flenniken said many factors go into decisions to relocate or expand businesses, among them available work forces and real estate as well as the price of property. Mesa County remains competitive on that basis, she said.

But the outdoor lifestyle offers a differentiating factor that sets this area apart, she added.

GJEP takes advantage of the ample outdoor activities available in the area in marketing Mesa County, Flenniken said. “There’s a very big link in the types of companies we’re looking to attract.”

Many of the companies that constitute likely candidates for relocation or expansion are owned by people looking for places to live in which they can enjoy outdoor pursuits, she said.

GJEP also targets companies in the outdoor industry, Flenniken added.

Prominent examples of existing companies in Mesa County include Innovative Textiles, which manufactures the PowerPro brand of braided fishing lines.

Flenniken said there’s ample room for additional companies in the outdoor industry and she hopes the Outdoor Life ranking will help in recruiting them.