Archuleta County, Colorado

Lake Vista, Pagosa Springs, CO

Dear Friends,

I am moving upstream, as the new Planning Manager leading the Archuleta County Development Services—Planning Department in beautiful Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Archuleta County, population 12,244, is located at 7,000′ elevation in the Rocky Mountains of Southwestern Colorado, west of the Continental Divide on the New Mexico line.  The trout waters of the the San Juan River come together here, just off Wolf Creek Pass, and leave the state in Navajo Reservoir at the unincorporated community of Arboles.  About half of Archuleta County’s 1,350 square miles is Federal land, and an additional 15% of the Southern Ute nation, leaving about 1/3 in private lands.

After a rapid period of growth before the Great Recession (Archuleta County was the 2nd fastest growing county in Colorado at one point), the year-round population has been stable with slight growth.  In addition to ranching and forestry, the Pagosa Spring area is a tourist-oriented economy, with a good deal of seasonal housing… and (love it or hate it) a new Wal-Mart.

As a dedicated Small Town & Rural Planner, I can’t think of a better place to work and live right now.  Thank you to the many friends and colleagues who helped me out with my job search(es) over a sometimes winding route.  The Good Lord works in mysterious ways.

-John Shepard


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