Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs is in the center of what some refer to as "The New West." The New West is a product of the Old, a place based on ranching and mining that prided itself on isolation and smallness and the New: booming tourism (skiing, especially) and migrants looking for natural beauty and outdoor recreation access. Population growth in the United States is focused on states like Colorado, and in Colorado it is focused on places like Steamboat. These are charming places, beautiful places, places that may have seemed too distant for migrants of the past, but today -- with air service, broadband, and cell phones -- are tantalizing possibilities.
Though its roots are in ranching, Steamboat is best-known as a world-class ski resort. There are no vacant stores in this small town, and it has a proliferation of parks and trails. Success has kept isolated Steamboat alive, but it also puts stress on local natural resources and produces conflict between those who see growth as healthy and others who see it as compromising their quality of life. Most residents agree that "open space" must be preserved, and "affordable housing" must be offered to allow residents to both live and work in Steamboat, but finding a mutually agreeable way to accomplish these goals is more difficult.
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Devil's Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Century American West by Hal Rothman (2000).
Seeing and Being Seen: Tourism in the American West. David Wrobel, editor (2001).
New Geographies of the American West: Land Use and the Changing Patterns of Place by William Travis (2007).