Striking the balance: How can Steamboat rely on tourism but maintain its identity
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Striking the balance: How can Steamboat rely on tourism but maintain its identity

People enjoy an evening at Mountain Tap Brewery earlier this week. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Over the past several years, Steamboat Springs and Colorado’s other mountain towns have found themselves in a dilemma: relying on tourism to sustain their economies while also preserving community character, protecting natural resources and ensuring longtime locals and employees can still afford to live in town and do their jobs.

“It’s definitely a balancing act between preserving town character and the environment that attracts these people and a city’s tourism-based economy,” said Margaret Bowes, executive director of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns. “Our communities absolutely need to protect the things that have made them a destination in the first place.”

“We want the money to build and approve the trails but then we tend to want them for ourselves. That’s the irony of living in one of…

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