The Southwest Colorado Steering Committee welcomes
you to our 2010 Rural Philanthropy Days for Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores and San Juan Counties.
County is located in Southwest Colorado and sits at
an altitude of 7079 feet. It is comprised of 1,364 sq.
miles featuring a variety of topography – from high
alpine mountains to sandstone river canyons and high
desert vistas. Only 34% of lands in Archuleta County are
in private ownership; tribal lands make up 14.4% of the
county and 51.6% is within the San Juan National Forest.
Springs, the county seat, is located 30 miles north
of the New Mexico border and 60 miles east of Durango,
CO. The two other communities within the county are
Arboles and Chromo. Our community is isolated;
residents must travel 277 miles to Denver or 212 miles
to Albuquerque, the closest large cities.
The 2008 US Census estimated the county population at
12,648. From 1990 to 2000, the population of Archuleta
County grew by 8.5% annually, and was ranked 5th of 63
Colorado counties (14th nationwide) for rate of growth.
Since 2000, the estimated rate of growth has slowed down
to about 3.7% annually. Racially, Archuleta County
residents are 80.7% White (not Hispanic), 16.2% Hispanic
or Latino origin, 1.6% American Indian, .5% Black and
In Archuleta County most job income comes from the
service sector, followed by construction and trade. The
most important direct base industry in the county is
tourism (including real estate), comprising 1,311 jobs
and 67% of all direct base job income. A full 59% of
Archuleta County’s real estate belongs to non- or
part-time owners, representing the highest percentage in
the entire region. This amenity-based growth brings with
it a whole set of problems; buyers from outside of the
community create housing prices that do not reflect the
wages paid in Archuleta County. At the same time, second
homes in Pagosa generate the need for more workers in
the service industry, but the rise in property values
and housing costs have made it difficult for those
workers to afford housing. Service industry jobs often
do not pay wages high enough to allow workers to
purchase or even rent housing. And those who have
managed somehow to purchase a home are now in danger:
Archuleta County had the fifth-highest foreclosure rate
in the state, with one in 53 homes being foreclosed on
in 2009 compared to the state average of 1 in 94.
Locally, significant increases in violent crime were
identified in 2009, most notably in sexual assault cases
(71% increase) and family violence and assault cases
(14% increase). Last year, local advocacy agencies
served a total of 434 victims, responding to a 30%
increase in crisis call volume, most likely due to
problems related to the economic crisis.
The Town of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County
governments are currently working together to create a
healthy, sustainable economy through the creation of the
Community Development Corporation, a 501(c)(3)
The population is served by the
50 Jt. School District, which currently enrolls
1,490 students at its four public K-12 schools. 768
students (51%) qualify for the free or reduced lunch
program and 29% of all the county’s public school
students are designated minority. Archuleta County has
an 80% graduation rate, compared to 74.1% for the state.
The district is facing the loss of $2.3 million of its
$12.5 million budget in state funding (18%) over the
next two years. The looming probability of a 4-day
school week, building closures and larger class sizes
will force the community to rely ever more heavily on
the non-profits that serve the social and educational
needs of our children.
Archuleta County Education Center offers programming
for children, youth and adults including basic skills
tutoring, literacy classes, GED preparation, ESL
courses, job skills training, computer classes, first
aid/CPR, foreign language classes and college courses
through distance learning. It also administers the
Archuleta County High School which currently enrolls 46
at-risk students in grades 9-12. The Education Center
has met or exceeded its student contract number and AYP
in each of the past 5 years.
On January 7, 2008, the
Mountain Hospital (PMH) opened and began offering
acute care service to Archuleta County. Being the first
and only county hospital offering 24/7 medical services,
the opening of the PMH represents a major milestone.
Previously the nearest hospital was in Durango. In 2009,
PMH saw 13,732 total patients. The newest initiative,
Pagosa Mountain Clinic, opened in November 2009 to serve
the under-served & under-insured populations. Since the
hospital opened, 52 FTE jobs have been added to the
local economy and more will be created with the addition
of supplemental health care services. These new jobs
are a huge boost to Archuleta County’s economy,
providing a high standard of pay and benefits that will
help set a standard for other businesses in the county.
San Juan Basin
Health Department and the
Mental Health Center also provide dental, mental
health & general health services that are critical to
The wealth of
recreational opportunities is integral to the
quality of life of Archuleta County’s residents and also
plays an important role in our area’s tourism industry.
Whether enjoying world-class skiing or snowboarding at
Wolf Creek Ski
Area (the Most Snow in Colorado!) or fly fishing,
whitewater rafting and kayaking on the San Juan River,
our residents and visitors place great value upon the
natural environment. Archuleta County is the gateway to
2.8 million acres of wilderness and national forest
areas , providing year-round recreational opportunities
including hiking, mountain biking, photography,
horseback riding, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hunting,
ATVing and rock climbing. Pagosa Springs is home to the
Great Pagosa Hot Spring, one of the hottest and
deepest natural hot springs in the world.
With such an outdoor-centered population, it is no
surprise that a key piece of Archuleta County’s
community vision is to promote stewardship of the land,
protect open space and keep our air and water clean.
Cultural Tourism plays a huge role in the area’s
economic picture. Numerous
festivals and events take place throughout the year
drawing thousands of visitors to Archuleta County.
Additionally, Pagosa Springs has several active theater
groups, an arts council and a handful of music-oriented
nonprofits that add to the quality of life for
Historical preservation is important to Archuleta
County, where the
San Juan Historical Society operates a museum and
promotes a historic walking tour of downtown Pagosa
Springs. The area is also rich in ancient history; the
Archeological Area was designated an Archaeological
Area and National Historic Site in 1970. Hundreds of
people visit the Chimney Rock area each season.
County Fair preserves our traditional rural culture
of ranchers. Its total attendance in 2009 was 5,000
The economic downturn has hit Archuleta County
particularly hard because of our past reliance upon
building and real estate as the primary economic
drivers. Any true economic development in our future
must address not only job creation, but also affordable
housing, industry diversification, development of
infrastructure, education, small business support,
availability of childcare and non-profit support.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing Archuleta County
today is aligning much-needed economic growth and
development in ways that will enhance the quality of
residents’ lives while also protecting our natural