Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado

  • Interviews By
  • John Daley
  • Photos By
  • Hart Van Denburg
  • Map
Mount Sopris
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

The iconic pyramid of Mount Sopris dominates the view from Carbondale at dawn in October, as the Crystal River flows by in the foreground.

Carbondale Bonfire Charlie Chacos
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

“Things are busy and booming,” said Charlie Chacos, who owns Bonfire Coffee in the mountain town of Carbondale. “Right now, as a business owner in a small town, finding qualified labor is our biggest challenge for sure," he says, thinking about issues as Election Day approaches.

Carbondale Bonfire Meghan Murphy
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

In Carbondale, Bonfire Coffee barista Meghan Murphy keeps the bean containers filled on the coffee grinders.

Carbondale Bob Olenick
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

Bob Olenick, a retired restaurant owner, has been a resident in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1974. He sits at the wheel of his 1950 Chevy truck, which he bought for $225 in 1976 from a guy in Aspen who was leaving town. “In our community the biggest challenge is housing, you know, keeping employees and stuff like that, and I think that’s an issue in the state.” How do you fix that? “That’s a good question that a lot of people work on all the time. I mean there’s got to be more employee housing built, somehow, something that’s a little bit affordable.”

Carbondale Greg Russi
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

Greg Russi is an attorney from Newcastle, who play trombone in the band Noodle Soup. “The biggest issue here is wildfire mitigation I would say, the drought. We’re in drought conditions, we’re fighting the idea of fire all the time,” Russi said. “We need to take global climate change seriously on a local level, on a state level on a regional level and certainly on a national and international level. Take a drive McClure Pass and go down past Paonia Reservoir and you’ll see that it’s a mud wallow that maybe two hippos could fit in. That used to be reservoir that I believe fed the towns in the North Fork Valley over the mountain here from us. The best thing we can do in the long range is begin to take global climate change seriously and switch out of coal and into gas and hydro and wind and solar.

Carbondale A.J. Hasbrouck
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

A.J. Hasbrouck busy with customers at her stand at the Carbondale Farmer’s Market in October.

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