IN THE NEWS: After BLM decision, Paonia at a crossroads

by Madeleine Osberger, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
Sunday, October 29, 2017

There was traffic on Paonia’s main street, and it wasn’t even Mountain Harvest Festival weekend.

“Traffic” meant waiting for two other cars to pass through the intersection of Grand and 2nd, but on this cloudless late October day the increased midweek activity could be witnessed in the check-stands of Don’s supermarket, in the block-long line of work trucks parked outside Dependable Lumber, and in front of the Remedy café and adjacent bike “boutique,” where cold-pressed juices seemed to fly out the door.

New faces — and there are more of them these days strolling Grand Avenue — are greeted with a hearty hello or a slightly wary eye by locals who have seen folks come and go, most recently through the loss of mining jobs in nearby Somerset that has followed the fossil fuel industry’s decline.

Paonia has its share of Aspenites, current and former, attracted by the once-cheap housing and land, and close proximity to the Roaring Fork Valley for either a weekend place or full-time residence.